5 Keys to 2012 Philadelphia Eagles Dethroning Defending-Champ Giants
Lucky for Eagles fans, there is a new season coming right up. The team is stronger than it was last year and people still have the same expectations for them: to win a Super Bowl.
Dethroning the Giants this year will require a level of focus that the Eagles were unable to show last season.
Here are five keys to Philadelphia finally getting that elusive Super Bowl.
Michael Vick Needs to Stay Healthy
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What do Michael Vick and a windshield have in common? Anyone? Anyone?
They are both made of glass.
The Eagles have to understand that they have one of the least durable quarterbacks in the league. With Vick on the field, the Philly is a top-five team. With him doing interviews about his potential return from injury on the sideline, they are slightly above average.
Out of a possible 128 career games (not counting 2009 because it was his first year back from prison and he only had 13 pass attempts all year) that Vick could have suited up for, he was hurt for 29 of them. That is almost two full seasons of games that he has missed.
If Vick is able to play in all 16 games this year, then the Eagles will fly into the playoffs without a problem. Who is anyone kidding though? That is a big “if”.
The Eagles Need to Win the Games That They Are Supposed to Win
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Five of the Eagles' eight losses last year, were games that they led going into the fourth quarter.
That is beyond unacceptable.
Every game matters in a league where the playoffs are decided by one half. Speaking of the playoffs, had the Eagles won their Week 3 game where they led by two going into the fourth quarter, they would have likely made the playoffs.
That game was against the Giants.
The most important aspect of protecting a lead is to take care of the ball—something that the Eagles were terrible at last season, but we’ll get to that later. If the Eagles can limit these types of losses to around two games then chances are that they’ll be playing in the playoffs instead of watching them.
LeSean McCoy Has to Get More Carries
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LeSean McCoy led all running backs that had at least 250 carries in yards per carry with 4.8. Getting that much ground is such an asset for a team to have yet the Eagles don’t utilize him like they should.
Most people would think that there is some kind of reason that he doesn’t get that many touches. “He has injury problems right?” He only missed one game last year. “Then he must put the ball on the field a lot?” He had one fumble all season.
One of the most talented running backs in the league shouldn’t be tied for seventh in carries. He needs the ball if he’s going to run; it’s pretty self-explanatory.
Even with limited carries, McCoy led the league in first downs rushed for by nine over second place. He’s productive when put into position to be productive.
McCoy getting carries is a major factor to the Eagles being able to contend for a title.
Philadelphia Needs to Turn the Ball over Less
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With an offense as explosive as Philadelphia’s, it only makes sense that there will be a few times a year where they give the ball to the other team.
A few times doesn't mean 38, though.
The Eagles led the league in turnovers and much of their struggles last year have to be attributed to that. Nobody is asking them to do what the 49ers" target="_blank">San Francisco 49ers did last year only turning it over 10 times. Based on how the Eagles play, that would be unrealistic and unfair.
But taking around 10 turnovers off of their total tally this year will help them eliminate some of their fourth quarter losses and hopefully help with falling behind early in games.
The New England Patriots led the AFC in fewest turnovers and the Giants were sixth in the NFC. Both were in the Super Bowl last season. The Eagles finished 31st in the league in fewest turnovers. Looks like they have some work to do.
The Eagles Must Continue to Get Pressure on the Quarterback
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For the past 10 years the Eagles have been known as a team that loved to blitz. That is their identity and they own it well. Their blitzing schemes are unique compared to what the rest of the league does and it shows when you look at how many sacks they get.
Last season they finished tied for first in sacks with 50. That is the more than any team since the 2008 season.
A consistent pass rush is a tool during the regular season, but becomes a weapon during the playoffs. Just ask last year’s Giants.
Getting to the playoffs is clearly step one, but if they do and if their sack numbers on the year are high, then they'll be in good shape for when it's lose and go home.