LAST week was a total disaster. We lost to a bottom-feeder team, when we stood to gain directly from their loss. We blew it from stem to stern. Worse yet, we had a player (DE Josh Sweat) leave the game in an ambulance.
On the menu this week, is a giants team that we carved up 48 – 22, just four weeks ago, while playing what I said, was our best game of the season. It’s unlikely that the giants have gotten 26 points better in the last four weeks, so if we put our hardhats on, we should be able to exploit the same weaknesses this time around.
With a win we lock-up the NFL’s best record this season, at 14 – 3. A win would also mean that we lock-up the division, and the #1 seed in the National Football Conference. That’s regardless of whatever else happens. More importantly, it would mean that we went 4 – 2 in our division, and not 3 – 3. We would have at least swept the giants.
A loss opens the door to Dallas winning the division, and us falling to the 5th seed in the conference. The NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint, and the finish line is ahead of us, not behind.
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: giants.
1) Give Sanders the Ball: For fuck’s sake, run the damned ball! Specifically with RB Miles Sanders. Do it to beat up their defensive front. Do it to give our Defense a chance to catch their breath. Do it to set up play-action. Do it because Sanders is one of the best backs in the league, when he gets carries like a real starter.
This is not a game where QB Jalen Hurts should have more than TWO designed runs. (QB Sneaks don’t count.) Scrambling is fine, but it should be the aim of this Offensive line that Hurts’ jersey should still smell like Tide when the game is over. Hand-offs will help that immensely.
2) Set the Edges: Last time we didn’t let them run inside. This time we want to send the message that we can also handle size on the perimeter. Especially after what “QB” Taysom Hill did to us last week. It was just 46 yards on 14 carries (3.2ypc), but he muscled his way for almost all of it. We can’t let that happen!
Force smaller holes, and funnel everything down and inside to MLB T.J. Edwards. For more pop, it would be great if LB Nakobe Dean started over OLB Kyzir White, but that’s not likely to happen just yet.
3) Show Dallas Some Love: Running TE Dallas Goedert down the seam can keep the run game open. Nothing about this needs to be clever or complicated. Put Goedert on a few routes up the field, and to the outside of the box. Some play-action, then a short pass. Boom. That’s it. Shorter passes will also preserve Hurts shoulder, and get the ball out of his hand quickly, cutting down on hits he takes.
Executing a couple of these early, will make the giants do one of two things. Either pull an OLB to the outer edge of the box, which will open up the run game. Or if they pull a S down into the box, daring Hurts to go deep, his deep passes will be easier to place.
4) Go Get Ball!: The Eagles have to be better about forcing turnovers. Over the last 3 games we have 8 giveaways to just 4 takeaways. The giveaway issue goes without saying. That said, aside from clawing at the ball during tackles, I can’t say that I’ve seen many Eagles defenders go for the ball, in the last few weeks.
That has to change this week. We need two turnovers in this one. We haven’t had two turnovers in a game since Green Bay in Week 12. Enough. Go get the ball!!
If the Eagles do these Four Things, then we’ll be virtually impossible to beat. That being said…
This game isn’t about beating the giants. It’s about not choking. For 17 weeks we’ve been at the head of the class of the NFL. Sadly, due to two late stumbles, we face being pulled back into the middle of the pack. Now we face either never being the road team in these playoffs, or possibly never being the home team.
Whether we play in our house or on the road, isn’t the issue. The Eagles can beat anyone put in front of us. The issue is the perception that the Eagles can be had if there are stakes to play for. We don’t need to empower opponents with that, or let the idea creep into our own player’s heads.
Prediction: EAGLES 28 – giants 20
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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