MONDAY 8:30 Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
WITH a win the Eagles will be in first place in the NFC East. We’ll have the head-to-head over the giants, and one more win than the Cowboys or Foreskins. That may only last a week, but it speaks to how winnable this division is. We just need to win this game and we’re in the driver’s seat.
DE Fletcher Cox leads the team in sacks with 4, but the pass rush around him seems to have completely dried up. Of his 4 sacks 3 of them came last week vs a bad Saints team, so it’s not like there’s been a lot of consistency there. Luckily we haven’t been playing offensive juggernauts, so as long as we can keep opponents to 17 points or fewer we have a chance.
What we do well so far (again no juggernauts) is get turnovers. We have 14 (8 fumble recoveries, 6 interceptions) to date. What we don’t do well is defend the pass in a passing league. Only 6 teams do a worse job than we do. We’re 10th against the run, but that’s a mixed bag since teams choose to take yards in chunks through the air instead of running the ball.
Reports of this Offense finally getting their act together, are greatly exaggerated. What’s happened is we’ve gotten a few less than stellar defenses to play against and that trend will continue this week. That’s actually good for us because it allows us to continue to sharpen our Offense.
While RB DeMarco Murray is only averaging a sad 2.7 yards per carry, that number should be on its way up, as the Eagles seem to want to involve Murray more. Getting serious about running the football in between the Tackles and not only on zone-plays, will help keep QB Sam Bradford’s jersey clean. (FYI: Last week we committed to the run and Bradford was not sacked or knocked down by NFL statistics.) If we commit to running the ball the rest will fall into place. In our two wins the Eagles ran it 38 and 34 times. In our three losses, 16, 17 and 18. This ain’t rocket science folks.
Gone is the pass rush from this team as their most explosive defender is not currently on the active roster. As a result the giants are the worst pass defending team in the NFL. This is only made worse by the pectoral injury to CB Prince Amukamara.
While they are the number two defense at rushing yards surrendered, only eight defenses have faced fewer rushing attempts and two of those teams have had their Bye already. Teams simply don’t attempt to run because there is no one easier to throw against.
We like to joke that QB Eli Manning is a turnover machine but the guy is responsible for exactly THREE turnovers this year so far. On the other hand he’s thrown 10 TD’s including a dagger to the face of the 49ers last week. Their passing attack will be without WR Victor Cruz and (if he’s smart) Odell Beckham. Beckham may attempt to play, but if he does will be a shadow of himself and may be more of a decoy to help get guys like Rueben Randle (who likes the middle anyway) more room to roam inside. TE Larry Donnell will be someone you want to look for as well. Running the ball is also not something they can rely on since they do it so poorly.
This is not a good team, they simply benefit from having a good QB and a +5 turnover ratio. They could easily be 1 – 4 right now, save for a break here and there. They are extremely beatable. That being said, we have things we have to get straight before we can say that we deserve to be on top of our division. Overall we’re a better team than the giants, plus we’re playing at home, in our black uniforms. It’ll be close, but it’ll be a win.