Can birds get rid of it?
Remove the upheaval
This winter, the Philadelphia Eagles head south to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first Super Wild Card weekend in NFL history. The game kicks off at 1:00 p.m. EST at Raymond James Stadium. The Eagles come into the game as big underdogs and look to recreate their 2017 underdog magic, this time on the road.
The Eagles are an unlikely playoff team. Nick Sirianni is the only freshman coach in the NFL this year to make the playoffs. He did it with a young coaching staff and a young quarterback. The Eagles should be proud of their season, but they won’t settle for a loss on Sunday.
The offensive line
There are many ways for a team to cause upheaval. I believe the Eagles have the team to be able to do that. I also think they can win by playing their game and don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary to do so. The main way the Eagles will win this game is by trusting the best unit on the football team – the offensive line.
The dominance of the racing game has been well documented. The Eagle’s offensive line has been one of the best in football, and how good they’ve been, I still think we haven’t talked enough about them. Whenever we talk about this Eagles team, the conversation should start with Kelce and that offensive line. Not only has that been dominant in the running game, but they’ve allowed 26 sacks this year, the second smallest in the NFL. Yes, you can attribute some of that to Hurts’ ability to scramble, but the O line has given him great protection all year round. Leaning on the O line will give the Eagles the best chance of winning this game.
Another key to this game will be the third offensive and defensive tries. If the Eagles can stay one step ahead and make their 3rd down manageable, it will give them a chance to stay in the game and score points. Once Hurts becomes just a pitcher, the dynamics of the Eagles’ offense change completely. By staying one step ahead of the chains, the Eagle’s offense can be as effective as it gets.
The defense also needs to be solid on the third down. We all know how effective Tom Brady can be. The Eagles must leave the field on the third down if they have a shot in this game. If Tampa can run at will, then the Eagles will have issues with how Brady can separate a defense. I would love to see a little more man-to-man defense this week and put pressure on top of that to make the Bucs offense as uncomfortable as possible.
Game change game
Playoff games often boil down to one game, one moment, one second. If the Eagles are to win this game, they’re going to need a game-changing game at some point. It could be something as obvious as a winning field goal or a forced fumble at the end of the 4th quarter (it could have happened the last time the Eagles faced Brady in the playoffs). Whatever the game, there will be a point where the game is on hold and one huge game will make a difference.
You have to believe
If the Eagles are to win this game, they have to believe in it. All outside noise will disappear once it is time to play. There’s no reason the Eagles can’t believe they can’t win this game. We’ve all seen a 2-5 team that has never run the ball grow into the best running team in Eagles history. If it can happen, anything can happen. This Eagles team has the players and the leaders to make it happen. I believe the Eagles can do it. Whether this game ends in a win or a loss, I’m proud of how the Eagles have fought this year.
Photo: Patrick Smith / Getty Images
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