WATCHING SS Chauncey Gardner-Johnson literally snatch the last game away from the Cowboys, made it known to the world exactly why the 6 – 0 Eagles, are the king of the fucking mountain. This week the NFL feeds sheep to lion (yet again), as they serve Philadelphia a shaky rookie QB.
Even worse, the game is here in Philadelphia. Philly is a tough, frenetic place to play even under normal circumstances, but now? NOW?? This city is in the grip of Championship Mania, as the Phillies begin a best of seven World Series push, this very night. Everyone and everything in this city, is thrumming with energy. You can get an electric shock from touching asphalt here. Throwing this rookie out there on Sunday… That poor kid has no chance. None. None at all.
A win of course, keeps the Eagles at the head of the table, as the NFL’s only undefeated team. Coupled with a loss from the giants, a win would open up our lead in the division. A loss coupled with a giants win, would put them in first place, due to one extra win, because they didn’t have a bye yet.
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: Steelers.
1) Divide and Conquer: This game needs to be the tale of two halves. The first half spent mostly rushing four, and giving the Steelers QB confusing coverage looks. Rush four to not over-commit our LB’s, so they can take away the run, and put the game on the QB’s shoulders. Give him different coverage looks, so that he doesn’t trust his eyes. Especially early in the down.
In the second half rush five, and play aggressive man coverage. Fake some looks that we gave him in the first half, so that he thinks he knows what he’s seeing, then make plays on the ball. Don’t just blitz his body. Blitzkrieg his mind. This week we chambered another round,
when we added DE Robert Quinn to the roster, via trade with Chicago. We’ll be looking to either pick off the QB himself, or his passes.
2) Suffocate the Run: Engage the Steelers at the line of scrimmage, and bottle up the run early. Their leading rusher averages just 3.3 yards per carry, and twenty percent of their offense runs through him. We don’t need to shut him down, just make him unreliable. Keep our LB’s clean, and their run game should taper off.
The Steelers haven’t invested much draft or development capital in their offensive line, and it shows up in their run game (3.3) and pass protection. Left to right, in terms of talent, they trot out a 4th rounder, 4th rounder, two free agents, and a 3rd rounder. Across from them: DE Brandon Graham 1st rounder, DT Fletcher Cox 1st rounder, DT Jordan Davis 1st rounder, DE Josh Sweat 3rd rounder.
3) Win the Phonebooth: The Steelers run a 3 – 4 that’s an actual 3 – 4. Their OLB’s are not DE’s playing a glorified 5 – 2. Their OLB’s can actually play in space, so there will be no gimme routes to TE’s or RB’s. It will probably not be easy for QB Jalen Hurts to bootleg into big plays. So we’ll have to come at this one a little bit differently.
Drop our 300 pound G’s, repeatedly in the laps of their 240 pound ILB’s. Make it a physical game. Make it a fistfight in a phonebooth. Run the ball straight ahead, and just beat the hell out of them. Maul them. Harass them. Wear them down. Wear them out. Put the dogs on them. Leave nothing left of them for the second half. Then once they’re tired and stiff from resting during half-time, do it again in the second half.
4) Give Minka Fits: Line up WR Quez Watkins in the Slot, and have him run directly wherever FS Minka Fitzpatrick is. Keep one of their most important players where he can’t influence the game. Blow the top off their defense, and create room to work underneath of it.
If the Eagles do these Four Things, then we’ll be virtually impossible to beat. That being said…
This game shouldn’t be about big splashy plays. We’re facing a team with an old reputation of being hard-nosed, no nonsense, and blue-collar. Usually as a Pennsylvanian, I’m proud to share those traits with the former Steagles. However, this week is Cross-state Rivalry Week. Order must be maintained.
Also, we need to send the NFL a wake-up call. We’re undefeated, and have won multiple ways. We aren’t part of the 2022 conversation. We ARE the 2022 conversation. The league needs to see us put on an execution. A slow, deliberate, methodical dismantling of an opponent. One where no one talks about a lucky bounce, or missed call, or some other fluke being the difference.
It’s high time we made it clear, that WE, are the king of this fucking mountain.
Prediction: EAGLES 28 – Steelers 13
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.