Philadelphia Eagles Defense Will Be the X-Factor the Rest of the Season

Mike BurkeCorrespondent INovember 23, 2010

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 15: Dimitri Patterson #23 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates a tackle against  the Washington Redskins on November 15, 2010 at FedExField in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The Eagles offense is young and explosive. We knew that coming into the season, and I think they’ve done a pretty good job of proving that so far. With Michael Vick at the helm, and a ton of young weapons surrounding him, there’s no doubt that they will be able to be successful.

However, if the Eagles want to make a serious run in the playoffs, the defense is going to be the X-factor moving forward.

They say defense wins championships, right? Well, the Eagles defense doesn’t have to be the best defense to ever play in the NFL, but they are going to need to play at a consistently high level the rest of the season.

As it stands right now, the Eagles are currently ninth in overall defense, ranking 13th against the pass and eighth against the run. They’re first in interceptions and ninth in sacks.

These are pretty solid numbers, but we’ve seen the Eagles defense lack a killer instinct this season. Late in games, the defense seems to take their foot off the throttle and it has almost cost them a few times.

I think the talent is definitely in place for this team, and we’ve had a lot of pleasant surprises so far. Nate Allen has stepped into the starting free safety position since day one and hasn’t disappointed. He has some room for improvement, but he’s providing stability at the position, something the team lacked last year.

After having high expectations for rookie Brandon Graham, we saw him get off to a bit of a slow start, but Juqua Parker picked it up and made his way back into the starting lineup. Graham was a bit banged up for a while, but seems to be healthy now as we saw him make some nice plays against the Giants last week. We're not seeing the statistics we hoped for out of him yet, but he’s making his presence felt.

Another guy that has made his presence felt is Antonio Dixon. He stepped into the starting lineup after Brodrick Bunkley suffered an injury, and has been playing extremely good football. Dixon isn’t racking up crazy stats, but he has been a force in the middle.

Another guy who has stepped up a bit due to an injury is Dimitri Patterson. He may have received the nod even if Ellis Hobbs didn’t get hurt, but regardless, he has filled in very well and will continue to do so as Hobbs has been placed on the injured reserve.

Overall, the Eagles defense has been impressive this season, but I think they’ll need to kick it into another gear if they want to make it deep in the playoffs.