SEVEN games left. Last week’s loss to the giants didn’t end our season. Regardless of the state of the NFC East, the Eagles are STILL it’s first place team. That demands our best effort, in what is a very winnable game for us.
Winning this game would do two things. The first is, any team trying to move up to the first place spot, would be held off for at least two games. The second is, it would be confidence to boost to a locker room that really needs it. Again, make no mistake, this IS a winnable game for Philadelphia.
A loss this week would be meaningless. The world already expects it, so we’re playing with house money. A loss, plus wins by Washington and Dallas, (New York is on bye), still has us in first place by half a game. Nothing that happens this week can change where we sit, come Monday morning.
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.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Browns:
1) The limit is 150: Cleveland is undefeated in games where they run for 150 yards. They are the NFL’s 4th best rushing team. So seeing us get pushed around by New York last week, will only embolden them. They will come out investing so heavily in the run, that they will likely hit a few here and there. That’s okay. Splash plays here and there are survivable. What we want to do, is make their top weapon unreliable. Our Linebackers need to fill better than they did last week. They have to get off of blocks and arrive at the ball-carrier explosively.
2) Hand it off 20+ times: Cleveland is going to run the ball a lot, which will wear down our Defense. That’s a fact of football. To help our guys out, we need to extend our own drives and time of possession, to give our Defense time to recharge between Cleveland’s possessions. Running the ball more will also help us win early downs, and set up 3rd and manageable.
3) Return punts: Part of what hurts us in games, is our Punt Returners letting balls go over their heads, just to bounce, roll, and be downed inside the 5 by opposing coverage teams. Help the Offense out, and return more of these balls.
4) Go zero to sixty: While much of the criticism of QB Carson Wentz is exaggerated, what’s dead ass, is that his completion percentage hasn’t seen 60, in five weeks. It has become impossible to defend his accuracy, or lack thereof. He has to do a better job of placement, and (like Donovan McNabb) putting the ball where either his guy, or no one gets it.
If we do these Four Things, the final score should be:
PREDICTION: EAGLES 22 – Browns 17
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how it went.