BEATING the Colts last week was the sort of gritty, character building exercise, which will serve the Eagles well down the stretch. We took a jab to the chin, but shook off the cobwebs, then fought off both the Colts and the referees. (I’ve been refraining from making an issue of the officiating, but it’s getting ridiculous.)
Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen needs to get his head out of his ass, and start involving RB Miles Sanders from start to finish. Running is this Offense’s identity. When we get away from that, it makes life easier to opponents. The Packers have given up 25+ points in five games this season. We need to help them allow a sixth.
A win gives us 10! That of course would make us 10 – 1, keeping us at the head of the NFC East, and entire NFC itself. We are currently in 100% control of our own outcome.
A loss would stall us out at 9 – 2, but we’d still be at the head of the division, and the conference. Even though we’d be tied at 9 – 2 with Minnesota, our head to head victory over them, gives us the outright tie-breaker.
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: Packers.
1) Hit Their Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers is playing with a broken thumb on his passing hand. It has already led to some of his routine passes getting away from him, or coming out without their typical spins. We need to get hits, not just heat on him. We need to repeatedly introduce his body to the Earth.
This isn’t about hurting his thumb. It’s for getting inside his head. He can be made to emotionally check out of games; and I can’t think of faster way to make that happen, than to beat him up when he’s injured. Also, when trying to protect himself, if his feet aren’t set, it just magnifies the ball delivery issue he’s having.
2) Miles of Screens: The Packers are another 3 – 4 team, that’s actually more of a 5 – 2. Also their best pass rusher is on I.R., with a rookie replacing him. Normally I would say “Run the Kerrigan Plan” and run up the score. However, with TE Dallas Goedert on I.R., we have yet to see a back-up TE emerge, who can be the tip of the spear.
Instead of trying to force back-ups to be heroes, we should throw a few Screens to RB Miles Sanders. I said to RB Miles Sanders. Not WR A.J. Brown. Not RB Boston Scott. Let our WR’s keep the defense spread, then throw the ball to a player who can break a tackle. Make the Packers take a pass rusher off the field, to be able to cover us.
3) Wrap It Up, B!: We only have one loss. So teams are still trying to figure out the formula, or the blueprint…, incantation(?) for beating us. The best guess they have now, is still “Run the ball a ton, and control the clock”. The thinking now is that the Washington made it work, but Indianapolis couldn’t keep making it work.
We’re going to see that approach until we’ve made it abundantly clear that Washington was a fluke. Our Defense has shown that they know where their run fits are. The entire issue is tackling. Once we started doing a better job of that last week, Indianapolis’s run game dried up. We’ll need a second week of that.
4) Deep Down the Middle: Over the last three weeks WR Quez Watkins has seen more attempts to get him involved in the Offense. That could pay dividends this week. The Packers have a pair of good Corners, so the middle is probably the easiest place to attack going deep. (Though CB Rasul Douglas has trouble with real speed.)
Playing a virtual 5 – 2, the Packers hurt their pass rush every time they take away an “OLB” to play a Nickel or a Dime. This what they’d have to do to cover Watkins (or Sanders in the Screen game). Covering Watkins with a starting S leaves either WR A.J. Brown, or WR Devonta Smith with a one on one match-up.
So it’s pick your poison. They can hurt their pass rush to play Nickel/Dime. OR they can consistently create a one on one. OR they can try to cover Watkins with a 270 pound LB, which would be the same as not covering him at all. Wait. It doesn’t have to be Watkins. Just get the ball deep to WHOMEVER lines up in the Slot. Hows that?
If the Eagles do these Four Things, then we’ll be virtually impossible to beat. That being said…
I can’t tell you the last time I saw a 9 – 1 team get less buzz.
While I have never put stock in Power Rankings, it does feel nice when I see the Eagles atop the list. Wednesday night the NFL had us at #2. Behind the 8 – 2 Chiefs.
Right now, the blueprint for beating us, mentions running the ball and keeping our Offense off the field. It does NOT mention how that formula also required THREE turnovers (one of which was bullshit), to produce a five point lead, which was in jeopardy until the final play of the game. Glazed right on over that.
The consensus is that we haven’t played anybody. Until somebody else beats a team that we beat. Then suddenly, that team that we beat is good, and we get a sort of grudging acknowledgement (not respect), for having beaten them first.
If the NFL treated us and promoted us like they do a few other teams, we’d have grown less hungry, and we’d be 7 – 3 or 6 – 4 today. Keep it up, dumbasses! I might just have to buy stock in dog masks.
And lo’ ! Down in the valley slept the Packers (and the remainder of our schedule), unaware that the disrespect that has been snowballing, is about to trigger an avalanche.
Prediction: EAGLES 27 – Packers 18
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.