WHEN the Eagles last took the field, we knocked two QB’s out of a game, and set a record for rushing touchdowns (39) in a season, breaking a 50 year old record of 36 (not 37 that’s a typo) set by Vince Lombardi’s 1962 Packers. Sorry Vince, Eagles got you again.
In two playoff games, the Eagles have allowed exactly 7 points in both. Both games were blowouts (38 – 7 , and 31 – 7 respectively). This is despite QB Jalen Hurts still nursing an injured shoulder, and playing far from his best. Let me type that louder for the people in the back: WE’RE DOMINATING DESPITE PLAYING FAR FROM OUR BEST BALL.
Now as a final hurdle, we get a Chiefs QB with a bum leg, and everyone is waiting for the kid’s next miracle finish. What’s hilarious is that no one seems to understand that he’s going to spend the night running for his life, and fucking up because of it.
Seriously, he was sacked 3 times in his last game, by a Bengals team that managed 30 sacks all season long. That Bengals pass rush was the 4th worst in the NFL! And now they get to face the Eagles?! This isn’t sheep being fed to lions. This is Apollo being fed to Drago. This game may get very sad before it’s over.
A win makes us the champs. It means the mission was completed. It means a bunch of our guys will deserve to ask for a little bit more at the bargaining table. It means that us picking 10th overall in the upcoming draft, is a vulgar display of power, and fistful of dirt and salt in the wound of EVERY team that picks after us.
A loss still says we got the formula right, but couldn’t quite ring the bell. What’s FUNNY is that since this is two #1 seeds, with identical records, a loss couldn’t be classified as a “choke”. So that bullet is already dodged. Still, let’s just go win the game. GO BIRDS!
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: Chiefs
1) No Clean Releases: No one is saying that OLB Kyzir White and NCB Avonte Maddox have to play tight Man Coverage, but the Chiefs are accustomed to free releases into their pass routes. This leads to their passing game running like open drills. Stop that. Get hands on them for a second or two.
Let’s get their passing game to run just a couple seconds off-schedule. That’s all we need. That gives our pass rush time to get more pressure. Also if we can get their QB routinely improvising, it minimizes the detailed planning of Head Coach Andy Reid, and their likelihood for making mistakes goes waaay up. So take away those free releases. Especially for their TE.
2) Attack their LB’s and NCB: Their second level isn’t very instinctive. In an effort not to waste steps, they tend to watch a lot of football, before firing into the play. So let’s pick on that weakness. They’re already going to be struggling with our RPO game, so we won’t need to make them do anything they aren’t already doing.
So if their second level is going to be frozen in space, TE Dallas Goedert should romp and frolic, finding open spaces 10, 11, 12 yards down. (No need to rely on Screens and risk illegal man downfield penalties!) This will keep the pocket loose for RB Miles Sanders to run, and not tax Hurts shoulder too much.
3) Force Their QB Left: While the Chiefs QB has displayed ambidextrous ability as a passer, he’s at his best as a right-handed QB. All of his muscle memory, processes, and mechanics are for his right hand. Forcing him left, also means that he can’t step into his passes. So they won’t arrive as accurate, nor as fast, as his receivers are used to. (See how this all adds up?)
If the routes unfold slower, and he has to read more, while moving unnaturally, we’d already be keeping him from being the best version of himself. All of which is subtle. The more subtle it is, the harder it is to diagnose, so it goes on longer before it’s fixed. While they look for ways to protect his leg, let’s attack his habits instead.
4) Quick Throws Off Play-action: EAGLES FANS! Remember how when Andy was the coach here, our LB’s were employed more as clean-up guys, and almost never got to dictate the action? Well the same thing is happening to the Chiefs LB’s under Andy and DC Steve Spagnulo. That “bend but don’t break” bullshit that we all hated.
Eyes not instincts, are what their LB’s rely on, and they do so heavily. Trying not to finish behind our run game, is going to lead those guys into leaving gaping holes underneath. The only reason why they wouldn’t, is if the Chiefs are hanging back and letting us run the ball. Which would be wonderful! Hand-offs > Passes.
If the Eagles do these Four Things, then we’ll be virtually impossible to beat. That being said…
Let me talk about our opponent first. In 17 games, they allowed 20 points 12 times. At no point did they hold a team to a single digit score. They’re a team that scores a lot, because they have to. This is despite playing in a poor division, vs anemic pass rushes. That team is nowhere near as good as it’s advertised, which is why they frequently require miraculous last minute plays, and stunning overtime wins (2).
Top to bottom the Eagles are the better team. In just 8 games did we allowed 20 points, with 4 games holding opponents to 8 points or fewer. Two of which were playoff opponents! Our division featured three playoff teams, and none of our wins were in overtime. Guess which team had more blowouts (wins by a 20 point margin). Go ahead. I’ll wait…
We don’t rely on smoke and mirrors. We’re physical. We’re methodical. We don’t generally beat ourselves. For our opponents to get a win, it requires lots of help from us…
And I don’t see the Chiefs getting much help from us on Sunday.
One more game, folks. GO BIRDS
Prediction: EAGLES 28 – Chiefs 21
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.