OKAY, this could be a trap game. It shouldn’t be, but the Broncos have a defense that could give us problems. It will be an excellent challenge for QB Carson Wentz. While our own defense is headache and half for opponents, we do allow 19.5 points per game. So we have to be on our toes with this one.
For the Eagles, getting this win would guarantee us .500, and be one more win than we’ve had in either of the previous years. This win would be a benchmark. On the other hand, it’s right before our Bye week. Players can get sloppy right before a Bye.
Denver comes into this game 3-4, and starting (oh my god) Brock Osweiler.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Broncos :
1) Gelding the pass rush: Like the Redskins, most of the Broncos sack production is manufactured by their OLB’s Von Miller and Shaquil Barrett. Also like the Redskins, the OLB’s do little else. Playing WR Nelson Agholor more in the slot would take them right out of their base defense. Additionally, short passes to the flat will either cause the OLB to drop into zones, or force the CB’s into zone coverage and open up Quick Slant routes.
2) Set up play-action: Denver is almost as good at stopping the run as we are. We likely won’t run for a ton of yardage, but that’s okay. We just need to feed them enough run to be able to dupe them with play-action, to consume the field in large chunks.
3) Pick our poison: Take away the run game and force Brock Osweiler to beat us. (That makes me giggle just typing it.)
4) Run the Walker: Send Joe Walker on a few blitzes. Osweiler can extend plays with his feet, but hasn’t shown the feel for it in the NFL, that he was said to have in college. So don’t let him stand in the pocket and that will basically dismantle Denver’s offense.
If we do all these things, we’re just about guaranteed to win. Now that we’ve covered what should happen, let’s get into what likely will happen:
Offensively, we’re probably going to have some trouble running the ball. We simply haven’t fared well this year, rushing against this brand of 3-4 defense (with 48, 46, and 29 yards in three games for our leading RB).
That said, we’ll still run it to keep Denver honest, and to set-up the play-action pass. Speaking of which, over the last 3 weeks WR Alshon Jeffery has averaged 17.8, 18.5, and 31.0 yards per catch. Seems like he and Wentz may have found their groove. Oh, and don’t be surprised if Wentz leads the team in rushing yards. Again.
On Defense, it’s almost like Denver is soft-balling this one in. With a rookie you try to shake him up by sending a blitz to make him worry about his safety and get him to look at the rush. Rattling Osweiler, will likely be the defensive game plan this week.
Osweiler has experienced a failure to live up to Draft hype, a failure to live up to a big contract, and a failure to even win a job as the Browns starter. Now as the Broncos groom Paxton Lynch to lead the team, Osweiler knows he may be playing his last relevant football.
That’s a ton of internal pressure for a man to handle, while dealing with the external pressure we will bring, amid the cascade of boos that our fans will rain down upon him. He will be out there without a single friend in the world, and no calm port inside of himself to help him. We may get to see a grown man cry on Sunday. So set your DVR.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 28 – Broncos 10