Eagles-Chargers Pregame ThoughtsBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Friday, September 13th, 2013
As impressive as the Eagles’ offense was against Washington, one element that I think could be improved upon is the volume of touches for each player.
LeSean McCoy was the focal point of the offense, touching the ball 32 times on Monday. While McCoy should certainly be the engine of this offense, the Eagles just can’t give him the ball more than 30 times a game or else they’re going to wear him out quickly. Currently he’s on pace for a ridiculous 512 touches. Especially during a week where you’re going to play two times in five days, McCoy’s touches have to go down. The coaching staff has to get Bryce Brown and even Chris Polk more involved in the running game.
In the passing game, DeSean Jackson led the team with seven receptions. No other Eagles’ receiver had more than two catches. Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, and Damaris Johnson are average talents, and its hard to expect any of these guys to suddenly become heavily involved in the aerial attack, but I do believe that the Eagles could chose to look to their tight ends more this week for additional production. Brent Celek had 56 yards and a touchdown last week, but highly-regarded rookie Zach Ertz and $12 million dollar free agent signee James Casey combined for just one reception for 11 yards. Casey was only on the field for two snaps.
How The Chargers Can Beat The Eagles
The Chargers are going to need to be much more explosive than they were on Monday night against Houston. Although they managed 28 points, they did on just 263 total offensive yards.
Phillip Rivers needs to have some of his skill position guys to step up and shoulder a bigger load. No receiver had more than three catches last week for San Diego, and the only running back who got more than five carries (Ryan Mathews) averaged just 2.5 yards per touch. The Chargers lost top wideout Danario Alexander to an injury before the season began, and they’ve waiting for someone to emerge as their top receiving threat.
I still the believe the Eagles’ defense is a major weakness, and a good offensive coach like Mike McCoy should be able to exploit the weaknesses within the unit. Although the offense didn’t finish with a great amount of yardage, the fact that McCoy was still able to get them to drop 28 points on a pretty good Houston defense while only committing one turnover is impressive.
Defensively, the Chargers need to take away the Eagles’ top threats and force the lesser talents to beat them. The Eagles primarily went to LeSean McCoy on the ground, and DeSean Jackson through the air last week. Chip Kelly wants to get the ball to his most explosive players as much as possible, and the Chargers need to do what they can to contain those threats and force Michael Vick to go to his second and third options.
Why The Eagles Will Win
This early in the season, Chip Kelly will still have plenty of tricks up his sleeve. The Eagles’ offense showed that they’re a step ahead of NFL defenses right now, and the Chargers, who have less defensive talent than Washington, are going to have similar problems slowing this group down.
Michael Vick is in a very good rhythm right now, making quick, effective decisions, and when he’s on top of his game he’s still more than capable of biting a defense, and he did a great job facilitating Kelly’s offense last week.
When you look at the San Diego roster, its just not that impressive. They’re an average team in just about all facets of the game. Phillip Rivers is about as big of a wild card as any player. He could come out and throw four touchdown passes like he did last week, or he could show up and toss four interceptions. The Eagles’ defense will have opportunities to create turnovers, just as they did last week.
Oh, and King Dunlap is currently protecting Phillip Rivers’ blindside. That’s a matchup the Eagles absolutely have to (and should) exploit.
I think that if the Eagles lose this week, it won’t be because of any favorable matchups that San Diego has on paper. If they lose, it will be because they’re going to be looking ahead to the looming Thursday night matchup with Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Eagles are in a bit of a bad position this week from an intangibles standpoint. The team is currently on a high after their solid victory on Monday night, and I could very easily see this group come out gloating and look right past the San Diego Chargers in anticipation of the game against their former head coach which takes place just four days later.
Thursday night’s game carries so much significance for the organization. Its a prime-time match against a man who was one of the faces of the franchise for 14 years, a man who shaped the careers of a lot of the guys on the roster now. Ever since the schedule came out, no game this season has been greatly anticipated from the standpoint of the organization, the players, the coaches, or the fans. Andy’s shadow is looming large, it could very well have an impact on how the team performs.
That being said, even if the Eagles come out a little flat, I just don’t think the Chargers are good enough to outscore them.
Pick: Eagles 28, Chargers 21
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