KEEP the streak alive! The Eagles will be looking to start the second half of the year, like they should have started the first: By putting down a division rival. This is no time to play down to our opponent. Instead, we have to get back to the competent play-calling that made execution and game-flow, seem almost Zen-like.
A win here puts the Eagles at 4 – 4 – 1 (.500), while driving the giants down to 2 – 8. A loss, still has us leading the division, but it lifts everyone behind us. While this isn’t a “must win” game, winning this week would the division lead on a high shelf, in a division full of short arms and legs.
The point of Four Things isn’t to predict a winner, it’s to discuss which tactics will practically guarantee our Eagles this win. CAUTION: I don’t have the faintest clue as to what a point spread is, and I know even less about how it works. I know football and that’s IT. If you use FT as a gambling tool, you are trying to lose your money.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the giants :
1) Hand the ball off 20+ times: The only game where I called for 20+ handoffs and we lost, was the Rams game. The other 4 times: 3 wins, 1 tie. To sweeten the pot, we get RB Miles Sanders back this week. To give ourselves the best chance to win, we need to run the ball both early and often. EARLY! And OFTEN!
2) Play gap control defense: The giants seem to have found a runner that they feel good about, in addition to having a QB with some mobility. Take that away early. Force early 3rd and longs, then bring a 5th rusher like MLB T.J. Edwards from their offense’s strong-side. Not from the edge, but between DE Brandon Graham and DT Fletcher Cox. Let their QB see the rush. Speed up the clock in his head, while taking away his favorite scrambling side. Force him to his left. From there he will find ways, maybe even invent ways, to get our Defense the ball.
3) Spread them out: In the last match-up, our Spread formations kept the giants out of their base defense, robbing them of any real pass rush. Do this again, and run the ball down their throats. Getting back WR Alshon Jeffery this week should make this part so easy.
4) Mix up our coverages: In the first meeting, the giants scored a redzone TD by preying on the way Eagles DB’s switch off coverages. It was a film study TD, and I tip my cap to the giants for the excellent prep. Kudos. This time we need to feed them a few looks with similar keys, so that we can bait them into throwing balls into places where they shouldn’t be. It’d be nice to see CB Darius Slay finally get himself a souvenir from this season.
If we do these Four Things, the final score should be:
PREDICTION: EAGLES 30 – giants 14
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how it went.