Well, I’m running out of excuses for this team. I did a road map just prior to the season, charting out the Eagles path to the playoffs and it was relatively on course going into last week, but the Eagles were abhorrent on offense and couldn’t break double digits against a team whose defense is mediocre, at best.
The Eagles struggled to hold onto the ball as Carson Wentz fumbled twice, while Dallas Goedert fumbled once. Wentz also threw two interceptions. Neither pick was excusable. It was an all-around ugly performance by the Eagles offense. Despite the Eagles continued issues with consistency and health, the Eagles defense held their own in this game and put the clamps down on Russell Wilson. Over the past four games, the Eagles have held their opponents to 17 points or less, and they’re somehow only 2-2 in that stretch.
Eagles vs Dolphins Game Preview
Remember the Jets game? That’s sort of what we should be expecting in this game. I have a lot of faith in Miles Sanders and believe the Eagles staff is beginning to come around on him too. The Eagles might want to start expanding their rushing packages and screens, since the Seahawks appeared to have most of them snuffed out.
This week is the “get right” game. It’s also, the first step towards the playoffs and an absolute must-win if they want to make the playoffs. The Dolphins are a bad team. Nobody really questions that, but the Eagles can’t gloss over them as if they’re completely impotent. Miami did beat the Colts a few weeks ago (I get it was Hoyer at QB but still) and the Jets the week prior to that. They’re a team lacking talent but not lacking on the coaching side of things. Regardless of what we think about the Dolphins, the Eagles offense has been so dysfunctional as of late, there’s reason to be concerned in this game.
Eagles will need to attack the secondary to free space to run
There’s a strategy many of you know. We’ve heard it for years. “Establish the run to set up play action”. That’s fine and dandy. We know that’s a sound strategy, but the Dolphins know what their weaknesses are. They struggle against the run. Their secondary is banged up as well, but they know the Eagles have been struggling passing the ball.
They are going to prep to stop the run and arrange their secondary to defend against the short and intermediate passes. The Eagles need to attack that secondary early. They need to keep the passing threat fresh in the minds of the Dolphins so they can ease the pressure on the run game and allow Miles Sanders to do his damage with space. I’m advocating for the Eagles to take shots because they have tall receivers and tight ends. That little tidbit I harped on in preseason about the Eagles killing teams on jump balls has not been exploited all season.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside is healthy and that’s his strength. Ertz and Goedert are more than capable in that area as well. How about Alshon Jeffrey? If the Eagles can get chunk plays on early downs, they need to exploit these height mismatches on the outside. That should force the Dolphins into more zone coverage schemes and allow space to open up on screens and running plays. They don’t even have to be deep balls. They just need to be jump balls on single coverages, back-shoulder throws, and maybe even some fades. Stretch the field, take some shots, and it will add a dynamic to this offense that’s been missing since Desean Jackson went down.
The Eagles need to pressure Fitzpatrick constantly
We know Ryan Fitzpatrick is just the older version of Jameis Winston. The Dolphins running game is somewhere between poor and flat out broke. They know they can’t run the ball and they know Fletcher Cox and that stellar Eagles front is going to gobble up their running backs like a game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos. With the Dolphins depleted at receiver and the Eagles looking substantially better over the past four games, this game script could be that of the Eagles just flipping the field on interceptions and three-and-outs. I think, if the Eagles can get to Fitzpatrick like they were getting to Wilson this week, this game is going to resemble the Jets blowout from earlier in the season.
PlaySugarHouse PA has the Eagles as 9-point favorites and the total points line at 45. I think this game may have a few big plays from Miami, but I think the Eagles will get out to a decent lead and let their defense set them up for success throughout the game.
I think it’s going to be a solid game for Miles Sanders as long as Howard is out again. The Eagles defense is probably the unit in this game I have the most confidence in, so it’s going to come down to what the Eagles can do on the offensive side of the ball. I like Carson Wentz this week and feel like he could have a great bounce-back game and the Eagles can get back on track towards making the postseason.