YOU know what would be nice? A win streak. Streak meaning, more than one win in row. So far this season reads like a cardiograph. Up, down, up, down. (And often it does that during a game!) Now is the week we need to start seeing it all come together.
After the emotional high that was last week’s walk-off field goal, it’s only natural if the players (and even the fans here), seem a little flat this week. That’s why it’s so great that this is a road game, biiiiitch!!!
Our team gets to go into hostile territory, and get into the foxhole mentality that we’ve seen developing over the weeks. Now is not the time for this team to get too confident. Winning another fist-fight, is just what we need.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Chargers :
1) Don’t go changin… : The knee-jerk reaction will be to overload the box, to stop RB Melvin Gordon, and that’s not necessary. Gordon is a workhorse, not a home run hitter. Loading the box only opens things up for other players. Taking away his help shuts down the QB, and puts the game squarely in Gordon’s lap. He alone can’t outscore the Eagles. Nothing in his career even hints at such an ability.
2) Start the presses! : Over the last two weeks we’ve allowed completion percentages of 75 and 74.4% respectively. No team’s playoff hopes can survive that. Especially against big WR’s like the Chargers have. If were going to have any chance at winning this game, we have to challenge these receivers at the line more than we’ve been doing in the recent past.
3) Run the damned ball: We need to run in first down to keep third downs manageable. Also, the Chargers give up 4.7 yard per run, and are the 31st ranked run defense in the NFL. They give up an average of 32 minutes in time of possession. Our re-couping Defense could use some extended rest between drives. Especially with Arizona coming up next week. There is literally a yellow brick road to this win.
4) Air it out: QB Carson Wentz was less than stellar last week, but the run game carried him. And that’s a good thing! It shows that opponents must plan for our entire team, and thus creates more breathing room for Wentz. That said, he needs to air it out this week. If the run game is to become a serious weapon, it needs space created for it.
If we do all these things, we’re just about guaranteed to win. Now that we’ve covered what should happen, let’s get into what likely will happen:
The Eagles will look to keep it simple early. Young team, away game, loud venue, emotional win a week ago. Head Coach Doug Pederson will want to settle his players, and get them dialed in, before breaking out the big boy stick. TE Zach Ertz will be involved earlier than last week, due to Kyle Emanuel being an OTTO and not a true OLB. (Think of an OTTO as a 3-4 OLB playing in a 4-3 scheme, with all the limitations of a 3-4 OLB playing in a 4-3 scheme.) If the Chargers don’t pull Emanuel off the field a lot, Ertz may go to Canton based on this game.
If you’ve been waiting to see an Eagles RB have a 100 yard day, this could be your week! Given that the Chargers LB’s are an undersized bunch, second level blocking will be key in this game to springing any long runs.
On Defense if we don’t press the receivers we’ll never get a chance to get in QB Phillip River’s face. He will eat us alive and it won’t matter how many yards we run for. We will get neither pressure, nor turnovers, and we may come away with a shiny new “L”. We MUST play some press coverage. I however can’t say that we will for sure.
We should score 20 points in this game, at least. How we play on defense will determine whether or not the Chargers stay with us and turn what should be a blowout into a shootout. Right now based on how our Secondary has played since last season, I have to go with shootout.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 20 – Chargers 17