LAST week DT Fletcher Cox, DE Brandon Graham, DE Josh Sweat and OLB Hasaan Reddick combined to knock QB Aaron Rodgers from the game, and setting up the end of his era in Green Bay. This week we turn our gaze to deposing the supposed “king”. Now is not a good time to be considered NFL royalty. Because we’re hunting for another crown.
A win makes us 11 – 1, and keeps us at the top of the NFL food chain. There are seven seats at the playoff table. That means we have to be better than NINE teams in the conference. Winning an 11th game would mean that we can’t lose more than 6 games this season. EIGHT teams already have 7 or more losses. We’d be two Washington or Seattle losses away, from clinching a playoff spot.
A loss would make us 10 – 2. However, both we and the number two team, are playing non-conference games this week. So no mater how this weekend works out, we’ll keep the top seed. For at least one more week, the NFC belongs to us, and no one can do a goddamn thing but genuflect, and kiss the motherfucking ring.
So let’s go get this win, and kill any hope that the peasants may be harboring.
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: Titans
1) Pick The Fight: The Titans style isn’t one of being particularly clever, but of being physical. The Titans, almost to a man, will be looking to punch us in the mouth. As a team, the Eagles have faced adversity vs weather, on the scoreboard, and with calls by officials. This time, as individual men, they will be tested physically.
As Philadelphians we pride ourselves on being ready to drop the gloves faster than anyone else. Sunday we get to see if our team is as tough as the fans. (It’s RARELY the case though. See: Gang Green Defense, Buddy Ryan) The Titans however, are about that life! Instead of accepting their invitation to a fight, we need to start it, and finish it.
Winning at the line of scrimmage. Tackles that put men on the ground. Hits that draw flags, and send their players to the blue tent. These are the things we need to see Sunday. No finessing our way through this one. We need our toes to tickle their tonsils the hard way.
2) Keep Him Clean: Keeping blockers off of MLB T.J. Edwards will allow him to flow to the Titans 247 pound RB, and meet him in the hole before he can gather any momentum. That means our Defensive Linemen can’t allow Titans offensive linemen to have quick, clean releases off the line of scrimmage.
With their RB being so large, he needs holes, not creases. If we can delay their linemen even half a second, it malforms the hole that the RB needs to run through. If the Defense can trap the RB between the linemen, it’ll be easier to slow their run game. Look, they’re going to run the ball a lot. So we don’t need to shut down their run game, just make it unreliable.
3) Rush for 100 yards: The Titans are 0 – 3 this season when they allow 100 yards rushing. They’re 1 – 4 when their opponent rushes for 75 or more. That said, this one is more about us, and less about them.
Running the ball successfully, is about being able to impose will on someone who is giving their all, not to let it happen. If we can do that against a team as physical as the Titans, we will have sent a POWERFUL message to the entire the NFL. If we cannot, it’s best to know it (and fix it), before we find ourselves in the playoffs.
4) Tight Man Coverage: When I say Titans WR, who’s the first person you think of? Nope, he plays for us now. Think of someone else… Can’t? Neither can anyone else, since their WR’s have COMBINED for just 3 of the Titans 11 receiving scores. No one is afraid of these guys.
Making things worse for them, is QB Ryan Tannehill, the Neapolitan ice cream of NFL QB’s. His 36 – 16 record as a Titan says reliable, but his limitations…
Watching Tannehill try to force passes to sub-par receivers, wearing CB’s Darius “Big Play” Slay and James Bradberry, like shadows, should buy enough time for our deep and talented Defensive Line, to shred their lackluster offensive line.
If the Eagles do these Four Things, then we’ll be virtually impossible to beat. That being said…
This is the game on the schedule that scares me. For many it’s the Dallas re-match, but I’m neither here nor there with that one. That’s a division game. Division games (like footballs) can take funny bounces. See the difference between our Washington games? Yeah. So I’ll see how I feel about Dallas, when that game gets here.
The 7 – 4 Titans score an average of 19.0 points per game, vs allowing 18.6. They don’t have the firepower to reach 30 points, and haven’t all season so far. So this game like many of their other games, they’re going to try and turn into a low scoring brawl. Usually I don’t suggest playing down to an opponent, but we need a good fist fight.
Talent-wise, the Eagles are head and shoulders above the Titans, in most areas. If we bring the same level of physicality to this game as they do, we should win this game in a walk. However, this is a different type of opponent than we’ve faced all year, and we need to be ready to meet that type of challenge in the playoffs.
Prediction: EAGLES 26 – Titans 17
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.