Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles will face an uphill battle against the Broncos

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The Eagles are just a couple of days away from a trip to Mile High Stadium for a clash with the Broncos. Here are the storylines to keep an eye on when the two teams lock horns.

A Bridge over troubled water

Teddy Bridgewater isn’t an elite quarterback, but he’s a very savvy one and a signal-caller who can cause problems for defenses on a consistent basis. The Eagles shouldn’t be worried about the fact that he ranks 11th in the league in passing yards, nor encouraged by his near 2-1 TD/INT ratio. But the fact he’s completed 70% of his passes this year is alarming for a defense that is allowing QB’s to carve them up at a historic rate.

The Broncos have more than enough offensive weapons to allow Bridgewater to peacefully pick apart Gannon’s defense unless something drastically changes. This has probably been the most intense week of external pressure for the Eagles defensive coordinator and if his gameplan yields the same results this week then it may reach boiling point so long as the offense does the inverse and actually improves.

This is not a game that Jonathan Gannon can afford to take lightly. Just because Teddy Bridgewater isn’t a top-5 QB, it doesn’t mean that he won’t be able to put up the same kind of numbers against a very soft defense. If anything, his ability as a game-manager is well suited to this kind of matchup and Gannon has to try and find a way to get pressure on a man who is being sacked on 8% of snaps.

Bridgewater has been battered and bruised all season long and he’s been sacked on 10% of snaps over the last three weeks. As far as QB hits, he’s been hit 29 times and blitzed more than 21 other quarterbacks. Gannon has to ramp up the pressure if they are to get Teddy off of his release valves and a failure to do so could end in another embarrassing defeat. The formula is there, but can Jonathan Gannon work it out in time?

The first real test

Nick Sirianni has waved his magic wand and turned the Eagles into a rushing powerhouse over the past few weeks. Out of nowhere, Jordan Howard and Boston Scott have emerged as productive ball-carriers for an offense that was previously extremely reluctant to run the ball. They actually lead the NFL in rushing over the last 3 weeks while the weight on the shoulders of Jalen Hurts has drastically decreased.

Unfortunately for Nick Sirianni, he’ll face a much tougher test than some of the league’s most porous rushing defenses. Denver have allowed the 4th fewest rushing first downs of any team in the NFL and have only given up 885 yards this year.

That’s not to say that the Eagles should get away from running the ball, but there surely has to be a sense of putting some of the onus back on Hurts, especially after such a heroic fourth quarter against the Chargers.

If Hurts can build on that momentum and really light up that connection with DeVonta Smith, then the Eagles absolutely have a chance to deliver a balanced offense so that the run-game is still effective. The motive over the past few weeks has been to go all-in on the run. Bringing it back to a healthy balance has to be the play here.

Just how dangerous are the Broncos?

The Broncos have a dangerous offense. Courtland Sutton leads Denver with 588 receiving yards, while Tim Patrick continues to turn heads with big-time catches. Jerry Jeudy is now back in the frame and put up 69 yards last week in his second game back from injury. Expect to see a healthy dose of him this weekend.

Luckily for the Eagles, they have some strong perimeter corners. Unluckily for the Eagles, their 66 yards per game given to TE’s ranks 5th worst in the NFL, and Noah Fant is set to return from COVID protocol, looking to add to his 37 receptions, 320 yards, and 3 touchdowns this season.

On the ground, Javonte Williams has been stealing the show. He put up 111 yards against the Cowboys on 17 carries and is a terrifying downhill runner. Considering how leaky the run defense has been for Philadelphia, Williams is a player they’re going to have to contain, which is a tall order for this line backing corps.

To put it simply, Denver is more than equipped to handle what the Eagles will throw at them. Three of their five wins have come against NFC East opponents and there’s a good chance they complete the sweep on Sunday. With that said, so long as the Eagles can find ways to move the ball down the field like they did against L.A., then they have more than enough quality to go toe-to-toe with Fangio’s army.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

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Liam is a 25-year old sports journalist from the UK and founder of the Philly Sports Network. In just five years he turned a hobby into one of the fastest-growing Philadelphia sports sites in the world, amassing 7,000,000 views and writing over 3,000 articles. Drawing attention from the likes of CSN, NJ.Com and Bleacher Report in the process, Liam is set on changing the way Philadelphia sports teams are reported on forever.

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