Philadelphia Eagles: Five Keys To Success In Beating the Colts in Week 9
Philadelphia is turned back into gear as Michael Vick returns from injury, and the Eagles come off of a bye week to play the Colts in week nine. Vick is taking the snaps, and on the other side of the ball the Colts of course have Peyton Manning.
The Eagles have looked great this year against quality teams, such as the Falcons, and the Colts fall into that same category of one of the elite teams in the league. Although, the Colts have shown some potential areas to exploits, and a shocking amount of mistakes.
The Eagles currently sit at a 4-3 at second place in the NFC East, and the Colts are currently at 5-2 and first place in the AFC South.
Here are 5 keys to the Eagles winning against the Colts in week nine:
5. Andy Reid Needs To Keep His Streak Alive
Reid's perfect 11-0 record following bye week games, that has lasted his entire career as the Eagles head coach. The fact that the bye week happened to fall immediately before the Eagles play the Colts, has me jumping for joy.
If Reid can keep this streak alive against a tough Colts opponent, it would boost team morale and give the Eagles a big win. This would also be a big support win, considering the Eagles are heading to Washington in week 10.
The bad news- Reid is 0-3 against the Colts in his career.
The question is- Which record will continue and which streak will have a sudden halt?
4. The Secondary Needs To Step Up
The Eagles passing defense against the Tennessee Titans in week seven, was pathetic at best. Not only did the defense give the game away to the Titans in the fourth quarter, they gave it up to one man, Kenny Britt.
More bad news, not only is the Colts passing game and Peyton Manning a beautiful marriage, the Eagles second string corner, Ellis Hobbs is now benched. In steps Dimitri Patterson to cover for the sidelined Hobbs. Unfortunately, if you thought Hobbs did bad, Patterson can't be better.
Who knows, maybe Patterson was always the better corner, and Hobbs just looked better because he was an ex-Patriot.
Manning is one of the best QB's ever of reading defense, and burning them on mismatches and poor coverages. If the Eagles passing defense fails to show up to this game, it could mean big trouble on the scoreboard.
The Eagles secondary must stick to their receivers, and avoid the big play. Something that they could not do two weeks ago against the Titans. The good news, it was a bye week. So Patterson and the rest of the Eagles squad had some time to practice for Manning and the Colts.
3. Use DeSean Jackson as a Decoy and Not a Consistent Target
DeSean Jackson was out with a concussion against the Falcons, and I'm on the edge about him starting his next game so soon. Concussions are serious injuries, and Jackson is a seriously good player. The last thing the Eagles need, is for Jackson to make another catch and get dropped with another nasty concussion.
The Eagles should still pass to him, but just not to him in situations where he will be taking big hits, or hits at all. So, something like sideline and deep passes, and try to avoid the slant and crossing routes that he could be take big hits on.
Instead, the Eagles can use Jackson as a distraction to open up passes to other receivers, and even open up the running game. Jackson demands attention from defenses, whether or not he is still rattled by the concussion. This should be a great to help get players like, Maclin and Celek open on short to mid-range passes.
No one wants to see Jackson go down like that again.
2. Let Vick Take It Easy
Yeah Mike, that means no 80 yard touchdown runs.
I know I'm glad to have Vick back in as the starter, and I think that is the general feeling around Philadelphia. The last thing we want to see happen is for Vick to come back first game from his rib injury, and take a big hit and get sidelined again.
That Eagles offensive line is really bad, so Vick will have to make some plays with his feet. He just doesn't have to take the hit at the end of the play. Also, Mike, the sideline to run out of bounds is there for a reason.
I want to see vintage Vick just as much as everyone else, but I also want to keep him as the starting QB. The safe bet for the Eagles, and Vick for this game is to just not let him take the hits that could potentially bench him for even longer.
Who am I kidding, he is going to do whatever he wants. Vick has always been this way, so expect some big runs. Maybe he will take advantage of the sideline or he will just slide when he is about to take a hit from 280 pound MLB Gary Brackett.
1. Hand the Ball Off to LeSean McCoy
Hey Colts- Remember Arian Foster?
I expect the Eagles to take advantage of the Colts 28th ranked rushing defense, and let LeSean McCoy make the most of it. This is just way to good of an opportunity to pass up.
McCoy is going to be all over the Colts defense, and it is going to show. This is also going to benefit the Eagles significantly by taking a lot of the weight of Vick and his ribs. This is going to be huge part of the Eagles offense and their overall success in this game.
Hard to think under Reid right?
Reid knows whats up with the Colts and he will be able to show their weaknesses all game. This is just the biggest one. Hopefully Jerome Harrison will be activated and get some runs in, considering this may be the best chance they will get all season to ease him into the Eagles offense.
So fantasy players- Pick McCoy this week. I'm banking on over 150 yards and at least one touchdown.
From the sideline, watch for the Manning face to be in full force.
This is going to be a difficult game for the Eagles on their home turf.
Fortunately, the Eagles have statistics on their side, and Reid has the bye-week winning streak that the Eagles are going to be pushing for. The Eagles offense is going to be back on the move with Vick back at the helm. The defense is just kind of one big question mark, especially in the secondary.
The Colts are a good team. Defending AFC Champions, which is no small title. Considering how powerful the AFC is with the Steelers, Jets, Ravens, and Patriots. They have a solid offense with Manning and have no trouble putting points on the board. The Colts defense has been letting them down, which is something the Eagles need to capitalize on.
I think the Eagles have the edge in this game, and will pull out the win at home in Philadelphia.
Colts- 31 Eagles-38
Welcome back Mike Vick.