The Jets have three starters from their Offensive Line listed on the pre-game injury report and up to this point have only allowed one sack on Ryan Fitzpatrick. If there is ever a time for the Eagles pass rush to establish the dominance that it did last year..it’s today.
The Eagles pass rush to this point have been on the field for 140 snaps in their opening two games..and in those two games have achieved just four sacks. With no Kiko Alonso and no Mychal Kendricks, the Eagles pass rush needs to not only find a way to re-ignite..but to find a way of playing without two of its biggest names.
Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry simply need to step up this game. Why? Neither have a sack to their name yet and with a Jets Defense being primed to cause a lot of turnovers, the Defense will be on the field of a large portion of the game. Jordan Hicks looked impressive last weekend and he will be very much looking to build on that against a weak Offensive line. Just like the Dallas game, it will be down to the Defense whether this Eagles team have a chance to win the game.
The Defense were able to hold the Cowboys to 20 points last weekend. Not a bad number considering they were on the field for 40 minutes, but against the Jets it has to be about pressure. The tone was set against Dallas early on and it has to be here today. Fitzpatrick, whilst inconsistent does maintain a 79% completion rate when attempting passes under ten yards. The Eagles have struggled to set pressure on the Quarterback over extended periods of time..and with such limited options, Fitzpatrick is surely going to be releasing the ball a lot quicker.
This means that the Eagles pass rush needs to capitalise. If the Jets Offensive Line is short handed and the Offense has a banged up Chris Ivory and a lack of Eric Decker…the Eagles pass rush has to pounce at the chance of wreaking havock in the pocket and getting in the face of Fitzpatrick. If you wobble the Jets QB early on then the rest of the game sits in good stead for this pass rush.
If the Eagles linebacker core and company can rattle Fitzpatrick play after play and stop the Offense from moving completely then it’s going to be a low scoring, defensive showdown. Now if you said this at the start of the season then many Eagles fans would shake their heads..but as of right now, that’s best case scenario for the Eagles. If the Defense can stop the Jets Offense from scoring or force them to drop long balls down the field then they may just have a chance if Bradford can rally even just a couple of scoring drives. The momentum of this game not only lies in the pass rush…but the fate of it could as well.