After a week off due to unforeseen circumstances, we’re back with our five bold predictions series as the Eagles prepare to host the Vikings. We’re now 9/20 this season after falling short on a couple during the opening week, but anything above 25% for bold predictions is where we’re aiming. To be pushing 50% is incredible..but can we surpass it?So with that in mind, here are five more bold statements ahead of the Eagles week 5 game against the Lions.
Graham ignites Pro Bowl campaign:
Brandon Graham has been incredibly impressive so far. 16 tackles, 3 sacks and a forced fumble simply don’t do Graham justice. With attention being placed heavily on the interior threats, Graham has ran rampant against every Offense he’s faced this season, even picking up more tackles in the team’s loss to Washington than he did against Pittsburgh.
The Eagles pass rush simply needs to dominate a weakened Vikings O-line and rebound from last week’s performance if they’re to walk away with a victory..and Graham will be a key part of that. Our first bold prediction is for Graham to go from key defensive player..to NFC Defensive Player Of The Week contender.
The numbers? We think Season highs in tackles with 7, sacks with 2 and a forced fumble would see Graham make an extremely bold statement..and no doubt give his team a huge advantage.
An elusive first touchdown:
Even in weeks where the Eagles Offense has stagnated, watching DGB develop has been extremely fun to watch. More targets, more snaps and more impressive plays have all attracted attention as Dorial Green-Beckham continues to stake his claim for a long term contract in Philadelphia..but there’s one thing missing, a touchdown.
Despite DGB’s emergence, he’s yet to “breakout”..or find the endzone and retain possession. My second bold prediction is for that streak to end today, with DGB receiving for 50 yards and his first touchdown, due to being one of the lone mismatches against a strong Vikes secondary.
Running back balance:
The Eagles running backs have been a hot topic so far this season. From some disappointing games from the lead backs, to impressive efforts from Barner and Smallwood left unrewarded, the committee backfield is filled with potential..but potential that is yet to be harnessed.
Against a stout Vikings run Defense, I’m predicting the Eagles to completely undo them, just as Washington did to the team a week before. With even spreads of the ball, I’m predicting Sproles, Mathews, Barner and Smallwood to all have at least 7 carries and 25 yards rushing..which may not sound like much, but 100 total rushing yards spread amongt four backs considering the strength of this Defense would be incredible.
Run Defense returns:
For road teams to win in the NFL, they have to run the ball to take the noise of the crowd and the momentum away from the pass-rush, somewhat silencing the effect it has. Given Bradford’s return and the vocal Philly faithful..that will no doubt be true here..and after the Eagles completely buckled against the run a week ago, the Vikings will attempt to run heavily.
My penultimate bold prediction is for the Eagles to limit the Vikings to under 50-yards rushing, forcing them to become one dimensional and letting the Eagles pass-rush do what it does best, without having to be wary of McKinnon and Asiata.
Malcolm Jenkins comes up big:
The Eagles Safety tandem of Jenkins and McLeod was destined for a huge season under Jim Schwartz. But so far, it’s been the new kid on the block stealing the spotlight while Jenkins has had a much quieter season.
With the Eagles cornerback depth being an issue, it’s likely that Jenkins will be called upon for slot duties today, enhancing his role and giving him more responsibility. We’re predicting the leader of the Eagles Secondary to come out swinging and rack up 6 tackles, 2 passes defensed and an interception.