DeMarco Murray has been overly disappointing for the Philadelphia Eagles this season. With the Birds consistently unable to establish a run game for a variety of reasons, Murray has shown the world that he can’t dominate in an East/West Offense the same we he could dominate in a North/South Offense. But as the Eagles prepare to face an angry yet wounded New England Patriots team, he may be their best hope of causing an upset.
Now before you all pick up your pitchforks, here are the Patriots last three opponents and how many rushing yards they have conceded against each one.
The Patriots have been a little sloppy in recent weeks when it comes to stopping the run when previously it was rare to see a team succeed on the ground. In fact on average, the Patriots have the lowest rushing yards conceded per game since 2006 as of right now (as per SportingCharts)…so these kind of numbers definitely raise an eyebrow.
The…there’s Sam Bradford. The former number one pick is set to return to the field for the first time since suffering a separated shoulder and a concussion against the Dolphins. Bradford is listed as probable and whilst his return may seem imminent, his health may not be so certain.
Sure it may be the non-throwing arm that’s causing the issue, but if he gets blindsided (which when you take into account how bad the Line has been as of late is highly likely) then who’s to say the consequences won’t be even more damaging?! The Eagles will want to gently ease Sammy B back into the mould so he can rediscover that comfort he had when playing in the weeks leading up to the injury.
Even if he doesn’t, Bradford will have some rust to shake off in the opening quarters at least and will need all the help he can get. So we have a Quarterback who may not be at 100% coming up against a Defense who are leaking yards…and why are they leaking yards?
Well, here are just some of the players that the Pats may be without on Sunday.
CB Justin Coleman – Hand (LP)
LB Jamie Collins – Illness (LP)
DL Dominique Easley – Ankle (LP)
LB Dont’a Hightower – Knee (LP)
If Bradford does struggle early on with incompletions and quick three and outs then the obvious answer is to turn to the ground game. Murray had a dismal 30 yards on 14 rushes against the Lions and had 60 and 64 in the two losses before that. His efficiency is shrinking by the week and with both the media and anonymous players calling out his effort..he NEEDS this game just as much as the Eagles do.
DeMarco Murray only has one game with over 100 rushing yards this season and if the Eagles have ANY hope of pulling off an upset, they will need him to replicate that performance or at least get close to it. Aside from the obvious reasons why the Eagles should run the ball, there’s the Murray debate.
The excuses are running out for DeMarco Murray. A 5-year deal worth $40million is rapidly becoming a waste of money in the eyes of many fans whilst others begin to ponder the “genius mindset” of Chip Kelly. Murray has to make a statement, it’s been needed all season and all we have seen is two or three highlight plays clouded by hesitation, inconsistency and a failure to adapt.
The Eagles have the potential to exploit an Achilles heel in the Patriots Defense…but to do so, they need to hope their Achilles heel can break out of his own shadow.