JUST a few weeks ago, I predicted that the Saints head coach, would out-coach Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni, and win this game. Today, I don’t feel like the Saints have a legitimate shot at winning this game. I could be wrong, but you and I know that I’m not.
The Eagles have found an internal source of power to tap into. Meanwhile, the Saints are starting to fall apart due to the aforementioned injuries, and a lack of offensive leadership. For the Saints, this is a bad time to have this fight.
A win would move us to 5 – 6, and one game away from being .500. This team hasn’t seen .500 or above since the end of the 2019 season. There’s possible playoff implications to be discussed, but let’s get to .500, before we start talking too much about playoffs.
A loss would drop us to 4 – 7 and shine more light on the three first round picks we have in the 2022 NFL Draft. As long as there’s a mathematical chance for us to make the playoffs, we should try everything to do so. That said, the second we’re out of possible consideration, we should tank, because it improves our draft position in EVERY round, not just the first.
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 Saints:
1) Play Man Press: First and most importantly, we’re 4 – 0 when we do. Secondly, The Saints are starting back-up QB Trevor Siemian, and he likes to share the football with his opponents. So we should be there for him. In fairness, he hasn’t thrown a single pick this season. WHICH MEANS HE’S DUE!
Take away the quick and easy stuff. If the “back-up’s body forced to be a starter” Steve Trevor
can beat us with deep passing, then we deserve to lose. Man Press will take away the quick stuff, help our pass rush, and help to keep the run contained.
2) Force Malcolm Out Of the Middle: One of the reasons that the Saints rank so high in run defense is former Eagles SS Malcolm Jenkins. He plays in the box like an extra LB. So we need to get him out of the box. The primary reason we moved on from Malcolm, was his apparent trouble with deep speed. Even when lined up deep, Malcolm has trouble versus true speed. So that’s the bone we should hack at.
The fact that he likes to walk into the box, makes that weakness all the more glaring. We should start in 11 Personnel (1RB, 1 TE). The TE doesn’t always have to be an actual TE. Using RB Miles Sanders, or RB Kenny Gainwell would do just fine on some downs. Split the TE wide, to pull Malcolm laterally out of the box. After a couple of deep routes, he’ll also start lining up deeper.
That’s when you pound the rock with RB Jordan Howard, vs a vacated middle.
3) Just Make the Tackle: Saints RB Mark Ingram is a leg churner and tackle breaker. He’s not a hard RB to box-in or catch, but teams clawing at the ball instead of getting him on the ground, literally give him extra yardage.
Once we get to him, drop him. Plain and simple. Clawing for the ball may help us if we’re down two scores in the 4th quarter, but doing it in the 1st quarter is a great way to end up down two scores. Just get these guys on the ground.
4) Use Play-Action: With the way the Eagles have run these last few weeks, selling a fake hand-off will be as easy as selling toilet paper.
QB Jalen Hurts would have clean pocket after clean pocket, as long as he doesn’t hold the ball too long.
Not only that, but if play-action is used well enough, both real and fake hand-offs will freeze their defense, as they take a beat to make sure of their read, instead of just reacting.
If we do these Four Things,
If we hit all four of these, this game would break wide open, and put the NFL on notice. Sirianni would go from “the guy the media mocked over flowers” to “rookie head coach has turned his team around”.
While I would LOVE all four, I expect that #1 and #3 are the ones that will likely get done. If so that should be enough for a 28 – 17 win.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 28 – Saints 17
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how it went.