WE’RE in the playoffs. Step One is complete. Now the mission is to get QB Nick Foles fully up to speed. While he knows the system, he’s been watching it, more than playing it. His timing and his chemistry with the receivers, will have to be polished over these next three weeks.
The giants still have a few players playing for pride, but it’s clear that that’s not a team-wide feeling. Without having signed a General Manager yet, even the giants owner cannot claim to have a clear picture of the team’s future. The result is players just playing out the string and auditioning for roles elsewhere, in case they end up on the cutting-room floor. So this is a great opportunity for Foles to practice some of the more difficult things.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the giants:
1) Throw it deep: Foles has shown an ability to throw to speed, back when he threw 9 TD’s to DeSean Jackson in 2013. WR Torrey Smith can fly, and if he sees a ball or two heaved deep in his direction early, it’ll open up room for the run. It will also help establish a chemistry that we’ll need later, more than sooner. It’ll be interesting to see if Foles displays better touch on deep passes than QB Carson Wentz has this year.
2) Run the ball: This is a must. The Offense cannot be fully shifted onto Foles shoulders just yet. Heading into the playoffs, this team needs to display a swagger. Expecting Foles to carry the team this soon, could crush his confidence if he falters. We do not need him being timid and turning into “Captain Checkdown” during the postseason.
3) Set the edges: Over the last two weeks, the Defense seems to have forgotten how to play Contain, on their way to making a play. That’s just a flat-out lack of discipline. It also has helped to set up some poor tackling angles vs the run.
4) Go for it: We have to go for, and convert at least one 4th down this week. While Foles needs to see, and be part of that aggression, the rest of the team (Offense, Defense, and Special Teams) needs to see it too. The message needs to be sent that We are still the Eagles.
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:
There’s a great chance that this game will be messy. We may even lose it. Who gives a shit? While we need to play to win, the “W” isn’t the focus. Don’t get me wrong, home-field would be a big help, but the win isn’t what matters most this week. The focus is getting prepared for winning in the postseason, not for seeding in it. Home-field and/or a Bye would help, but they won’t get us into the Super Bowl. We still need to be able to win games to get that far.
The giants will not want to get swept. Especially not against a back-up QB doing the honors. They’ll come out playing with something that looks sort of like pride. Especially on defense. Won’t matter though if their Offense can’t hold up it’s end.
Our Defense will look as if we’ve fixed whatever has ailed us these last two weeks. Really it’ll just be the awfulness of New York that makes us look so good. But who cares? We can use the confidence. The last time we faced them, K Jake “giant killer” Elliott kicked a 61 yard dagger through the giants hearts. This time it’ll be a 62 yarder. Just kidding. This game should be a mess, but it almost certainly won’t be another nail-biter.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 24 – Opponent 17