LOSING a close game to the Buccaneers, must mean that it’s our year to win it all! At least that’s what Cowboys fans were selling after they lost to Tampa. So let’s start off with a win in the desert. Five in a row, HERE WE COME!
There are rumblings that Head Coach Nick Sirianni wants to get the ball to RB Miles Sanders more. Hopefully that’s what happens here, because the Raiders don’t defend the run well.
A win here moves us up to 3 – 4, keeps us out the NFC East basement, and maybe even helps us climb into second place in the division. That is, if nature takes it’s course and Washington gets owned by Green Bay.
A loss here would put us at 2 – 5. That would make next week’s game at 0 – 6 (soon to be 0 – 7) Detroit, a huge bellwether of Sirianni’s future in Philadelphia. Sirianni probably can’t afford taking a loss to an 0 – 7 team, while falling to 2 – 6 in the process. So he needs to beat the Raiders this week.
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, and will deserve it when you do.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Las Vegas Raiders:
1) Run the Ball: Coming into this game, Vegas has had trouble with the run, allowing 4.6 yards per carry. Making matters worse, 340 pound, run-stuffing DT Johnathan Hankins, is nursing a hip injury. Also their pass rushing DT Quinton Jefferson, is playing with a back injury. That means less push in the second half.
They’re going to start the game full of juice. However, if they spend the first half fighting off blockers, getting half-time rest, will tighten up that hip and that back like an over-tuned guitar. Just 10 to 12 hand-offs in the first half should set the tone. Then in second half, the game should pop clean open. IF we hammer the ball.
2) Lots of Deep Passing: The Raiders Secondary is an injury riddled nightmare. Two CB’s on I.R., a fill-in who was torched and yanked after just 13 downs last week, and the back-up CB who played well in his place, is now dealing with a hip injury. Fire deep shots just to get their depth winded and tired early in the game. Demoralize them.
Deep passing means that QB Jalen Hurts will need time in the pocket. He should get it this week. I said last April that we shouldn’t trade for DE Yannick Ngakuoe and I was right. I like DE Maxx Crosby and I’m pulling for him, like I’m pulling for RT Lane Johnson. That said, Crosby is somewhat over-rated, so Lane and LT Jordan Mailata should have no problem with him. Hurts should have the time.
3) Call a Dentist: Charger Joey Bosa hit it on the head: “We knew once we hit (Derek Carr) a few times, he really gets shook. And you saw on Christian’s sack, he was pretty much curling into a ball before we even got back there. Great dude, great player … but we know once you get pressure on him, he kind of shuts down.“
To have a chance against Carr, you have to keep him under 63%. Luckily, getting hit messes with the clock in his head. So get to him early. Even if we need to draw a couple of flags. Especially if we can get DT Javon Hargrave or Fletcher Cox to flush him out. If we wreck his internal clock, we more or less remove the Bumble’s teeth.
4) Disrupt Waller: We can’t let TE Darren Waller get free releases off the line. He’s 6’6 and can fly. He will MURDER this weak zone that we run, and we don’t have LB who can run with him in Man. Trust me, I know these guys nearly as well as I know the Eagles. Put it like this: Waller is far more dangerous than Ertz or Goedert. Far more.
Contact Waller at the line of scrimmage, stall his release, and make Carr have to look for WR Hunter Renfrow. If CB Avonte Maddox is on his game, our Defense might get 6 out it. Otherwise, Waller is going to kill us all day long. All. Day. Long.
If we do these Four Things,
The wheels come off the Raiders and this one gets ugly. On average, they score 24.5 points per game and allow 24.0. If they can’t score…Picture that scene in Superman 1, where Lois is being buried alive in the earthquake.
If we can get to Carr, this game is in the bag.
And therein lies the rub! Our pass rush is dreadful. It may require a couple of late hits to get into Carr’s head. Would I trade 30 yards in penalties on the first possession, to rattle a QB for the rest of the game? Absolutely! Where do I sign? That said, Sirianni and I are vastly different men. Getting to Carr can be done. I just don’t know if Sirianni is willing to do what it takes.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 24 – RAIDERS 27
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how it went.