Eagles fans are experiencing mixed emotions ahead of tomorrow’s showdown with the New York Jets. Nobody expected the birds to be 0-2 and coming into a game against the Jets ranked 29th in the NFL in points scored. But it’s not all doom and gloom. The Jets are on a knife edge against the Eagles for a few reasons. We’re here to break down just why tomorrow may not be the day the Jets get their historic first win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
3: Overhyped Offense
Yes the Jets have scored six touchdowns in their opening two games of the season and yes they defeated a probable Superbowl contender a week ago. But of those six touchdowns, four have come from drives where the Offense has put up below 30 yards. The Defense is so good at creating turnovers that the Offense often starts in positive territory. However, against an Eagles Defense that have four sacks this season and limit the rush to 3.1 yards per play, the Jets will have to trust in Ryan Fitzpatrick who is yet to really come up against an overwhelming challenge.
With Eric Decker out of the question with injury, that leaves Brandon Marshall to pick up the slack. Yes a lot of pressure is going to be focused on Byron Maxwell..but if the Eagles learn from their mistakes in the Atlanta loss and place double coverage on Marshall, can Fitzpatrick get the job done against a pass rush driven Defense? Can he put up the same numbers with a shaken Chris Ivory behind him? Don’t buy into this “intimidating” Offense just yet. If the Eagles can hold a Cowboys Offense (minus Dez..and Romo for a chunk) to such minimal points considering they had the ball for 40 minutes..it may not be a lost cause just yet..
2: Time to take the chains off
One can imagine that the Eagles locker room on Monday morning was not a pleasant place to be. Chip Kelly would have worked tirelessly to figure out exactly why this Offense was struggling to get first downs and maintain drives. That being said, they face a Jets team just five days removed from their MNF showdown. If the Eagles can find a way to utilise the running game, exploit the seams and finally just start the game with some first downs then this Defense is going to tire and quickly.
It’s almost like a boss battle in a video game…sure it’s big, scary and most likely going to eat you for breakfast if you fail to attack..but if you exploit the right areas at the right times and slowly chip away, then it will begin to show signs of fatigue…that’s when the Eagles are at their most dangerous. The Offense still averages 30.6 seconds between snaps, the fastest ratio in the league and a full second faster than last years Offense. Yes Sam Bradford needs a big game, yes DeMarco Murray needs help from the O-Line and yes he receivers need to stop rubbing their gloves in Vaseline..but if this Eagles Offense can generate even a field goal drive to start the game then they are laying the foundations to pounce on a Defense enduring a short footballing week.
1: Time to turn over
Without a doubt one of the biggest things worked on this week will have been keeping possession. The Eagles have turned the ball over five times in two games whilst the Jets Defense have created ten….doesn’t seem like a good outlook for the Eagles. The key to the game? Simple. Don’t turn the ball over. If there was ever a time for Bradford’s alarmingly accurate arm then it’s now. The Eagles need to establish a running game and more importantly need to learn how to buy Bradford time in the pocket and open up holes for the running backs. If the birds can run the ball down the field (which at this stage is a big if) and allow Bradford to convert in the Redzone then there is every chance the team can cause an upset…(wow, I just realised we’re the underdogs).
It all comes down to remaining composed, not showing signs of anxiety and finding confidence early on. It’s something Matthews and Bradford are both guilty of in the opening games. The Offense perhaps could use a boost from the Eagles special teams unit to set them up in a good position to start the game and ignite some faith..but once this ball finally gets rolling it will be almost impossible to stop. What better way to make a statement that we’re going nowhere than a win against one of the leagues top Defenes?