WE enter this week at 5-6, showing less and less competitive competence, in each of the last three successive weeks. However, if we have the capacity to max out at 10 wins in a season, we have to keep plugging away. Even if our division leader has already 11 wins, there still exists the chance for a wild card playoff spot. In fact, even we finish 9-7, we might still (with some help) make it in. Say we make the playoffs, and get hot (like the 9-7, 2011 giants)… Hey, you never know. So as long as there’s a real chance, we have to keep plugging.
Your team needs you, fellow Eagles fans. Don’t bail on them now.
We’re going somewhere that has not been kind to us this year. I don’t mean Paul Brown Stadium, (since we haven’t been there yet). What I mean is anywhere on the road. I mentioned the word “playoffs” and I was serious. If the Eagles win 4 of these last 5 games, or (clutch the pearls) run the table, the math says that only something truly bizarre could keep us out of the postseason.
Let’s be clear, the point of the postseason is to win games. If we go, then we’re going as a wild card team. Period. That means no home games. To go to the playoffs and not win a single game, would blow a high Draft position for nothing. If we’re going to make this push, THIS WEEK has to be the beginning of us getting our shit together.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to look for, Week 13 versus the Bengals:
1) Get off the bus running the ball. We’re a better team when we make a hardcore commitment to the run. On top of that, Cincinnati sucks (28th) at defending the run. RB Ryan Matthews is out, and RB Darren Sproles is undersized and nursing sore ribs. This means that RB Wendell Smallwood will see 18 or more carries if we’re serious about winning.
2) Start the Presses. The 5 to 8 yard cushions that our CB’s give up routinely, have reduced our pass rush to nothing. We have to start disrupting the timing on throws, to make QB’s have to make reads during the play and not just pre-snap.
3) Treggs, Treggs and more Treggs. WR Bryce Treggs has been extremely effective in the limited number of downs he’s played so far. While he doesn’t have great stats, his biggest contribution is the clear-out routes he runs, which create space for others to get open. It would be smart not to waste him on Jet Sweeps. Instead line him up in the slot and have him run Safeties out of position, and maybe even free him up one-on-one.
4) More wrap artists and fewer hits. Eagles DB’s (right Nolan Carroll?) need to bring their arms to the tackle and not just expect a player to fall from a pop. Too often opposing players are bouncing off of, spinning off of, and running through these shoulder lunges. Even when a player is made to fall from one of these hits, they routinely are falling forward for an extra yard or two. Players in our Secondary are simply not man enough to lay guys out. If they aren’t going to cover their man, they should at least get him down after he makes the open, usually uncontested catch.
This game (like Detroit) should be a gimme. Whether we’ve learned anything since Week 5 will be on display here. The only question is: Are we willing to step up and commit to closing this team out?