YOU know you beat a team’s ass, when it precipitates a firing. Our passing game, led by QB Jalen Hurts, absolutely torched what was supposed to be one of the NFL’s toughest teams. Well, this week expect to see a lot of RB Miles Sanders running the ball right down the giants throats.
A win puts us at 12 – 1, and clinches the first of the NFC’s seven playoffs spots. Despite currently boasting the NFL’s best record, the success of other teams, has so far kept us from locking down a playoff berth yet. Once we get this ‘W’ we can start talking about clinching the division, and so forth. But one thing at a time. Let’s clinch this berth.
A loss would leave us at 11 – 2, but still atop the NFC East. We’d also retain the top spot in the NFC even if the Vikings win and go to 11 – 2 themselves. Having beaten them, we own the tie-breaker.
We’ve come very far, but we haven’t quite come far enough, yet. Though near impossible, it all could still just fall apart, and be for nothing. Winning this game guarantees that that can’t happen. So a little less conversation. Let’s take care of business.
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) The T.J. and Nakobe Show: The national media predicted that MLB T.J. Edwards would lose his starting spot to rookie LB Nakobe Dean. I on the other hand, repeatedly said not so fast. Well, Edwards is third in the NFC in tackles (109), and having a career year so far. Dean saw his first extended action last week, when LB Kyzir White went down, and Dean acquitted himself well, making 6 stops in just 15 snaps..
These two LB’s need to see more time on the field together. Their ability to read, shed blocks, and make solid dependable tackles, is exactly what’s needed to hold giants RB Saquon Barkley to under 4 yards per carry. At that point, the game will shift to the shoulders of QB Daniel Jones.
Jones isn’t strong enough to carry the team, and Barkley is wearing down. He’s up to 282 touches this year, and hasn’t had this many touches (and counting) since he was a rookie, many injuries ago. He’s already hitting a wall.
2) Run Miles Run: This isn’t the week for QB runs. This needs to be the week of Miles Sanders, and his Offensive Line. The giants are susceptible to the run for a couple of reasons. We need to be smart enough to take advantage of the easy road they’ve paved for us, and just let our O-Line tee off on them.
The giants have large DT’s and they generally play them for over 80% of the snaps in a game. That is not a typo. The giants are already wearing their guys out, for us. There are also locker room concerns. Some players have complained to the media, about their playing time. Run defense is an attitude as much as anything else. Without the right attitude, there is no cohesion, and vice versa.
3) Use A Release Valve: The giants are yet another 3 – 4 defense that plays more like a 5 – 2 with pass rushing OLB’s who can’t cover. If TE Dallas Goedert weren’t on I.R. I’d say use the “Kerrigan Plan” to loosen the box. Goedert’s back-up, TE Jack Stoll isn’t as fluid a route runner, so that strategy has to change.
Having Stoll directly challenge ILB Micah McFadden in his area, and throwing him a couple of early passes, would help open space up for the run game. Micah is trash in coverage, and should be exploitable on quick hitters. Once Stoll is established as a target not a decoy, they have to cover him. Thus pulling a man away from the inside of the box.
4) Don’t Collapse: We need to keep scoring in the second half. Stalling out on points is not an option this week. This is where adjustments will become key. We are facing a division rival. They know us. So there won’t be any long range surprises. This will be a test of whether or not Head Coach Nick Sirianni, can spot an opening DURING a fight and exploit it.
The giants have seven wins, but three of them (TEN, BAL, GB) have more to do with their opponent collapsing, than anything giants did to change the course of those games. Don’t collapse. Don’t help them. This is where our Eagles start to learn what it means to put an opponent away. This is early prep for the playoffs.
If the Eagles do these Four Things, then we’ll be virtually impossible to beat. That being said…
For the first time this season, the Eagles are playing for actual stakes. This game will give us a real idea of how much killer instinct this team has innately.
Every proficient killer requires training and discipline. You have to learn and master your weapon(s). You have to understand your prey, and why it behaves the way it does. What drives it. What it fears, and what it thinks it has mastery of. You have to know where your breaking point is. What your own limits are. When to run and when to settle. Settle. Breathe. Effective killers aren’t born. They are made.
This week we will see if the Eagles have a talent for this sort of work. If they play with their prey and let it escape (Novice). Or if they strike heavy, and then squeeze out life before an opponent can develop hope of survival (Prodigy).
Been a while since I’ve looked as forward to a game, as I am this one.
Prediction: EAGLES 28 – giants 16
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.