Game Preview – CIN at PHI

Posted: September 27th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Game Preview – CIN at PHI

The Bengals are 0-2 and one of the worst teams in football. That is no surprise. The Eagles are also 0-2 and one of the worst teams in football. That is a big surprise to me.

No one was predicting the Super Bowl for this Eagles team, but no one expected them to be this bad. More turnovers than touchdowns. An offense that won’t quit shooting itself in the foot. A defense that can’t stop giving up points. Tons of injuries. Bad vibes all around.

Sunday will be a big test for the Eagles. The key is for Doug Pederson to push the right buttons so his team is in the right frame of mind. They can’t undo the first two weeks. If they bring that baggage into this game, it will only hurt them. Pederson needs to get the team to be positive and play with a lot of energy. It would also help if they would quit turning the ball over.

I’m not going to talk about X’s and O’s in regard to this game. I think this week is more about fundamentals (blocking and tackling) and intangibles. Players need to have fun and play with energy. They need to be mentally tough. There will be some bad moments and the players need to handle that adversity. That hasn’t happened the first two weeks.

How do you get a bad team to do this?

That’s where Pederson comes in. He’s usually had the right answers when his team has been backed into a corner. This is a bit different. The team is 0-2 for the first time. Carson Wentz is really struggling. The O-line is a different group each week. The defense is missing leaders like Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham. There are quite a few rookies and young players on this team. There are different buttons to push.

Let’s talk about some reasons for hope. The OL played well last week. Nate Herbig had a strong game as the RG. He’ll move to the left side this week. The coaches are doing that to help out Matt Pryor, who struggled at LG. He’s more comfortable on the right side. Herbig has the right mindset and is embracing the challenge of moving to LG.

The line gave Wentz time to throw last week. He wasn’t able to take advantage of that. Wentz and the coaches had a week to see what went wrong and come up with some solutions.

The run game came alive last week, with good blocking and the return of Miles Sanders. Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson and Herbig were terrific in the run game. They got regular movement and blocked well on the second level. They should be able to open lanes again this week.

Sanders was 20-95 on the ground and brought some real juice to the run game. But he was incredibly frustrating to watch. Sanders danced way too much. He left yards on the field because he wasn’t more decisive. That needs to change on Sunday. When you have room to run, hit the hole.

Someone must step up for the passing game to come alive. A lot of that is on Wentz, but he does need help from his receivers. They need to make plays when they have a chance to.

With Jalen Reagor out, Burnett gets to play. Burnett had a terrific showing this summer. Maybe he will embrace this chance and make some plays.

Jim Schwartz talked this week about the various areas where the defense is struggling. They will go against a rookie QB this week. Normally the Eagles defense would be excited by getting to face a rookie. The way this season has gone, it is the rookie who is probably excited about facing the Eagles defense.

Schwartz took the blame for last week, saying he went with a bad gameplan. He’ll go with a different approach this week and it will be up to the players to execute it.

We don’t know if Fletcher Cox will play. He hasn’t been a great pass rusher this year, but he’s been good against the run. Javon Hargrave was quiet in his Eagles debut. I’m sure part of that was rust so I expect him to play better this week.

One player who has been terrible this year is Nickell Robey-Coleman. We heard how good he looked in camp, but he has struggled in coverage and as a tackler this year. I would love to see Cre’Von LeBlanc get more snaps over NRC.

The Eagles need to win this game. I’m not a big believer in talking about “must win” situations until the math tells you it really is must win, but this season has a funny feel to it. A loss would put the Eagles at 0-3 and I could see things falling apart.

A win would not guarantee anything, but it would get the team to 1-2 and headed in the right direction. You aren’t going to fix everything in one week. You do need to start by winning a game.

If the Eagles can just play smart and do the little things well, they will win this game. I didn’t think I would be writing that sentence about a Bengals-Eagles matchup, but here we are.


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