DRIVING rain, missing starters, down fourteen points. So what? This Eagles team is undefeated because we have no weaknesses. Conversely, this week’s opponent is comprised entirely of weaknesses. Sadly, there will be no mercy for them this week.
Adding OLB Hassan Reddick (3.5 sacks), has re-invigorated DT Fletcher Cox (3.0) and DE Brandon Graham (3.0). The left side of the Defense is downright predatory. All it does is hunt. On the flip-side, is an Offense that ranks 5th in rushing yards, and 8th in passing yards, with QB Jalen Hurts averaging 9.1 yards per attempt.
A win here makes us 5 – 0, still number one in the NFC East, the NFC, and the NFL. A loss, would leave us at 4 – 1 and still atop of the NFC East, unless Dallas beats the Rams. (Tie-breaker: Division games. Dallas (2-0), Philly (1-0)) That reason right there, is why I don’t think this is a trap game.
The point of Four Things isn’t to predict a winner, it’s to discuss which tactics would give our Eagles the best chance to win this game. So here are the Four Things that we need to focus on this week, versus the: Cardinals
1) Fence Him In: Someone said that Cardinal’s QB kyler murray, when scrambling in the pocket, looks like a toddler who has your car keys. I watched him play last week, and now I can’t unsee it. So we need to set the edges of the pocket, and force him backwards.
Two weeks ago DT Jordan Davis started the Commanders demise, by batting a pass from 6’5” QB Carson Wentz. murray is listed at 5’10”, but he’s got to be the shortest 5’10” I’ve ever seen in my life. Our pass rushers need to get their hands up, when they can’t get their hands on murray. Just to get him to hold the ball an extra second or two.
2) Tackle Securely: The Cardinals running game is utterly pedestrian. The problem is they’re stuck between two schools of thought, and so, execute neither well. Worse than that, their offensive line consists of just a bunch of guys, led by C Rodney Hudson (who some think is better than C Jason Kelce).
While they have a poor scheme, that is also poorly blocked, RB James Conner is not to be overlooked. He’s not really a game changer, but at 233 he’s a load. He doesn’t “run angry” but he does use his size, and can tire out a defense. If we don’t get cute, he shouldn’t be a problem.
3) Throw the Ball: Through four games the Cardinals have just 4 sacks. Half of those belong to what’s left of DE J.J. Watt. They play a 3 – 4 that’s more like a 4 – 3, with OLB Markus Golden playing the role of “non-coverage OLB”. If LT Jordan Mailata is ready to go, pass pro won’t be an issue. If not, then OL Jack Driscoll may need a little help.
The Eagles receivers against this secondary, is an absolute mismatch. I’d expect WR’s A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith to have 80 yards each. Especially playing indoors on dry grass. With as lackluster as their starting CB’s are, they have no answer for WR Quez Watkins in the Slot.
4) Read-Option Early: We don’t need to get QB Jalen Hurts get injured, so let’s limit his carries. Eight or fewer (not counting kneel downs), sounds good. However, to open up the run game, we should use the Read-Option early. Right away. Either on the first or second carry. (Ideally the first.)
Having to defend that, should hold S Budda Baker in the box, and open up the deep shots, (hopefully off of play-action). Once we hit a ten yard run or a twenty yard pass, it’ll stress their defense enough to make calling the game easier.
If the Eagles do these Four Things, then we’ll be virtually impossible to beat. That being said…
I don’t want to seem like I don’t take this opponent seriously, but it’s so hard to do so. They fuck up so many simple things. For instance:
WR Marquis Brown bolted from Baltimore, because he didn’t like how he was being utilized. So he leaves a running QB who doesn’t know how to utilize his blazing speed, for a running QB, who doesn’t know how to utilize his blazing speed. Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh was a Special Teams coach. What’s Kliff Kingsbury’s excuse?
The improper utilization of S Budda Baker and LB Isaiah Simmons, should be grounds for someone’s arrest. These are two players with game-changing talent. They should be play-makers, not tackle collectors.
Arizona has a long and storied history, of questionable decision making and squandered talent. They’re so far spending 2022 building on that tradition. Yikes,
Prediction: EAGLES 29 – Cardinals 10
WARNING: 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 Four Things as a gambling tool, you are trying to lose your money, and will deserve it when you do.
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how this game went.
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