As the Eagles get ready to face the Saints, without Donovan McNabb most people are picking the Saints as the line has changed in the Saints' favor. The Eagles will probably start the unproven Kevin Kolb, plus they go against a Saints offense led by the most prolific quarterback in the NFL today.
However, while I am picking the Saints to win this game, the Eagles can win with Kevin Kolb under center. It will be very tough but it can be done. If the Eagles stick to this game plan than they will have a chance to win this game.
Protect Kevin Kolb
The Eagles offensive line did a solid job last week. Left tackle Jason Peters started out shaky with two false start penalties but started to look as advertised. While Shawn Andrews and Todd Herrmann’s did not play, fill-ins Nick Cole and Winston Justice looked solid.
Kevin Kolb can’t be rushed into any of his throws. Kolb doesn’t have the quick decision making skills, nor does he have a really quick release. If Kolb is provided with good protection, he may be able to take care of the ball and not turn it over.
Get the running backs involved
We all know that Andy Reid loves throwing the ball, we all know even with Kolb playing he’ll still call a bunch of pass plays. What I’m saying is Reid probably won’t just call run a bunch of run plays. However, what he can do is call a lot of screens to Brian Westbrook and Lasean McCoy.
Westbrook looked very good last week, averaging about five dollars a carry. Lasean McCoy also looked great with 46 yards on only nine carries. Usually when a rookie quarterback is playing expect a lot of conservative plays, if the Eagles can get it to third-and-short by effectively running the football.
Don’t expect Kolb to make a third-and-long pass down the field, run the ball effectively and get it to third and manageable and call a screen play or a short pass to one of the versatile running backs.
Play good defense
A lot of the game will be in the defense's hands, and it will be a tough task as this Saints team has the ability to win 10 games based on its offense. However, the Saints are playing on the road in the Eagles' home opener, tough environment, and everyone knows that the Saints' passing attack is different on the road.
Drew Brees lit up the Lions defense for six touchdowns last week, while the Eagles defense dominated against the Panthers. However, both teams were going against subpar units, the Eagles went up against Jake Delhomme who has been a turnover machine lately, and the Saints went up against a Detroit defense that struggles defensively.
If the team plays good defense and sticks to this game plan, than the Eagles will have a solid chance to win this game. Donovan McNabb should not play in this game as he risks the chance of making it worse, McNabb is a tough guy, if he sees an opening on third-and-short, he’ll look to run and then a defender will try to really hit McNabb hard. The Eagles will really have to step up against an improved Saints team, however, it should be a good game as it will be the Eagles' home opener.