Talk about turbulent week in Philadelphia.
Now that Kevin Kolb is out of the picture as a starter, this seasons fate now relies entirely on Michael Vick. With Andy Reid's "win now" maneuver of starting Vick, it makes for the Eagles season to be a very interesting one.
Vick started his first game as an Eagle, against the Detroit Lions and walked away with the first win of the season. Now in week three, the Eagles focus their attention on the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags enter the game 1-1, and the Eagles 1-1. Each team will be fighting to get above .500 on the season, which adds some fire to the game.
The Jaguars are a team that seems to be stuck in a division that is just to good, the AFC South. It's not easy to be a playoff contender when you have to play the, Colts, Texans, and Titans, twice a year. Due to the excellent opposition, the Jags seem to be a severely under rated team, that has some very serious threats.
These are five keys to the Eagles winning against the Jaguars:
Obviously one of the biggest story lines going into week three, Michael Vick needs to show the NFL that he starting material. Which will be a huge factor if the Eagles want to win this game, or for that matter succeed this season.
The Eagles offense, and Reid, have now placed their trust and respect into Vick's hands, and he is ready to make the most of it. After a very impressive showing last week in Detroit, putting 35 points on the board. Vick is looking to continue that success against a mediocre Jaguars secondary.
If Vick continues to play as he did in week three, the Eagles could be looking at a high scoring offense and an easy win. If Vick does not perform as he has, the Eagles could be looking for their defense to make big stops, to help compensate for the offense, and a very tough win.
This will be a key game for the Eagles, not only because it will determine how Vick will do as a QB in Philadelphia, but the Eagles need the momentum going against the Redskins in week four. A game that will be difficult to win, the Eagles need to have that emotionally charged play to help contain McNabb and the booming Redskins.
In week two, Reid decided to do something that is incredibly rare, run the ball.
Not only was running the ball a great tool to quiet down the crowd, it was incredibly effective. Lesean Mccoy's elusiveness gained him, 16 attempts for 120 yards, and three touchdowns. Those are stats of a running game that is working.
Whether it be the Lions weak defense, or blind luck, the Eagles need to try it again. This will help in three big ways,
- Taking some of the load off of Vick
- Quieting down the crowd (However poor the attendance in Jacksonville)
- Ability to eat up the clock
This will do wonders for the Eagles if they can keep Maurice Jones Drew on the sideline as much as possible, and keep the offense moving.
McCoy proved that he can run the ball, just like Brian Westbrook, and that there is no reason that they should not give him carries. McCoy could end up having a huge game, as long as Reid gives him the opportunity.
Realistically Rashean Mathis is the Jaguars only decent threat in the secondary, and he will be covering Desean Jackson.
Mathis is the type of player that will be quiet all game, because no QB throws in his direction. They know that he is a clutch player that can make some nasty interceptions. As long as Mathis is covering Jackson, I expect to have a very small receiving total for #10. Fantasy players, you have been warned.
Vick has to realize this when he drops back, he needs to be sure to make all of his reads before deciding to throw at Mathis. There is really only two reasons Vick should throw in his direction,
- If Jackson has him clearly beaten on a deep route
- If it is a last resort type of throw
Vick has been known to struggle with his accuracy and Mathis is the type of player to capitalize on bad or inaccurate throws. Knowing that the Jaguars secondary is nothing impressive, Vick will be looking all other directions, and all other players to throw towards.
David Garrard at one point was considered an elite QB in the NFL. I'm not sure what happened to that title and why he suddenly is not regarded as a threat? Name the last time you heard someone name the top 10 QB's in the NFL and Garrard was named?
The point is, Garrard knows how to burn defenses and he can make teams pay by posting big numbers, followed with big points. As with most NFL QB's, except maybe Matt Leinart, given time they will find an open receiver down the field. If Garrard can't seem to find anyone open downfield he has the ability to make big plays with his feet.
The Eagles defensive line has performed, pretty good so far this season. Trent Cole will be bringing the heat, immediately followed by Brandon Graham. This will be a strong two punch combo, that will hopefully put Garrard on the ground and cause some third and longs.
Hopefully after the D-Line bringing pressure, the Eagles secondary can makes some plays off of Garrards forced throws. Ending in some turnovers, something the Eagles defense needs to get into a habit of. Garrard will make the mistakes, the defense just has to make a play on it.
How did you not see this one coming?
MJD, is one of the best RB's in the NFL. Without a doubt. Posting up high numbers consistently every game, and just being an overall nightmare for defenses. Jones Drew is the type of player, if given a hole that closes in two seconds, he will be though it in one.
The Eagles can not allow him to get on a roll. If the Eagles defense allows MJD to get cruising it could end up being a really rough game.
Sean Mcdermott, the Eagles defensive coordinator, had better come into this game prepared to be calling blitzes. More so than usual. The Eagles interior line, Broderick Bunkley and Michael Patterson to jam up the inside running lanes. Then having Cole and Graham to back them up on the outside, plus a few linebackers who will be blitzing.
This is the biggest factor in the Eagles winning. With MJD being a triple threat RB, (Rushing Game, Passing Game, Blocking), the defense needs to step up. Not only assigning multiple players to him every play, but also making sure everyone on the field knows where he is at all times.
Although the Jaguars have some respectable players, the Eagles should walk out of this game as winners. Let's just hope Vick plays better in Jacksonville than McNabb did over the course of his career. (We all remember that song and dance). If the defense can hold, and the offense can move effectively, this should be a no-brainer win.
Prediction: Eagles 31 - Jaguars 17