PLAYOFFS. That’s the goal right now. That’s step number one. Today we sit at 8-1 with the best record in football, but right now 8 wins won’t even guarantee us a Wild Card slot. That means there is still plenty of work to do. Before we can seriously talk about parades, or Super Bowls, or even home-field advantage, we need to first nail down a playoff berth. Which means we have to dispense with our obstacles. We gotta start by getting this 9th win.
This game is about getting the win. By 1 point or 100, it doesn’t matter. The win is what matters. We need to win. This isn’t about beating Dallas, it’s about beating whomever or whatever is next on the schedule. Whether the opponent is an orphanage full of one-eyed children, or the Marine Corps, the mission is the same. Beat whatever is put in front of us. This week we are making a burnt offering of the Dallas Cowboys. And we’re doing it in their house. If you have a mercy setting, turn it off. Mercy has no place here.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Cowboys:
1) Take away the run: The 4th round QB who starts for the Cowboys, has been exposed. Without a strong run game to carry him, he’s a deer in headlights. He rushes passes, stares down receivers, and runs with no awareness of anything except the first down marker. The Cowboys average 143 rushing yards per game, and they have lost EVERY game in which they didn’t lead in rushing yards. We need take away the reliability of their rushing game and dare their QB to carry the game.
2) Sak Prescott: The Cowboys starting LT sat out Week 9 with an injury. The two players filling in for him allowed Falcons DE Adrian Clayborn (who is NOT exactly a premier pass rusher), 6 sacks in one game. If the back-ups play Week 11, their confidence will already be shaky, and if the starter comes back, he still won’t be 100% (groin/back). In either case, DE Vinny Curry is a better pass rusher than Clayborn. We should play DT Timmy Jernigan over their LG to isolate the LT with Curry. Then wear him down with our normal rotation. Hit the QB, rip away any confidence in his blindside, and wreck his focus.
3) Slot their throats: Every Cowboys OLB is a liability in pass coverage. While most teams would exploit that with short passes to RB and TE’s, we can do it with intermediate passes to TE Zach Ertz and WR Nelson Agholor. If the Cowboys fire up their Nickel or Dime package, RB’s LeGarrette Blount (250), Jay Ajayi (223) and Corey Clement (220), each has the size to make the Cowboys pay for going small.
4) Run ‘em down: Dallas features a small defensive line that averages 284 pounds per man (and only gets smaller in the second unit). This is a game where we need to run the ball on first down, second down, third down, fourth down, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth down. This needs to be a game with 30 called runs, where we impose our will and salt away the division.
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:
Usually I feel like the fans want to win more than the players do. I don’t get that vibe this week. The vibe is very different right now. The Eagles players aren’t saying much right now, but when they do, there’s a quiet focus that I’m not used to associating with this franchise.
Offensively, fans can look forward to a vulgar display of power, as we control, dominate, own the line of scrimmage. Dallas can’t compete if we turn up the physicality of this game. Odds are good that we’ll be looking to do just that.
Defensively, I was going to predict this game as 34 – 24 on account of division rival familiarity, and out of general respect. However, just a couple days ago, this was said:
Oh. My. God. Did you hear that? That just changed everything. How do you think DC Jim Schwartz is going to take that statement? How about DT Fletcher Cox? How about OLB Nigel Bradham? How about S Malcolm Jenkins? Skip Bayless just took a game that was going to be all business, and made it about our Defense’s manhood, both an individual basis, and as a unit.
Usually I would give you an idea of what I expect from the Defense, but when you offend a team hard enough for it to reach the coaching staff…all bets are off. Schwartz will be looking to do nothing short of humiliating the Cowboys in their own home. You want to know what I think will happen? You want my opinion? You want me to predict what we will see on Sunday?
PREDICTION: EAGLES 35 – Cowboys 10