Through three weeks the Eagles have gotten business done in a multitude of ways. Against Detroit they had to play from behind early on and rely on the athletic ability of Jalen Hurts late to extend plays late in the game to secure the win. Week-2 was pure domination in the air in the first half and Washington Week-3, the defensive line had a field day sacking Carson Wentz NINE times.
This week against Jacksonville, the Eagles will have to play their most complete game of the season. Former Eagles SUPER BOWL WINNING head coach Doug Pederson is making his return to Philadelphia. Emotions will be at an all-time high for Pederson, the Eagles, and the fans. The Eagles have to come out and put points on the board early against a Jaguars team that has outscored their last two opponents by a score of 62-10 including a 38-10 throttling of the Chargers on the road.
They are a well-coached, disciplined team who are playing very well on both sides of the ball. This may be the Eagles’ biggest test before the bye week. Here are a few things that we are watching for that will lead the Eagles to their first 4-0 start since 2004…. and we all know how that season ended.
The Second Half Offense
The Eagles’ offense has truly been a tale of two halves the previous two weeks. They scored 48 points in the first half but haven’t scored any points in the second half. There are a few factors that are causing this; the offense simply isn’t passing the ball enough in the second half. Over the past two weeks, Hurts has only 15 pass attempts in the second half. The chunk plays haven’t been there.
Additionally, the defense has been dominant allowing the offense to take their foot off the gas. In the last two weeks, the defense only gave up six points in the second half. Playing against a Doug Pederson-led Jaguars, the Eagles should expect them to keep their foot on the gas the entire game and will have to do the same. The offense will have to put up second-half points to get a win today.
Containing Christian Kirk
After signing a monster contract in the off-season, Christian Kirk landed in Jacksonville to be their top receiver. Thus far, he has certainly earned his money. Through three games Kirk has 18 receptions for 267 yards and three scores. The quick answer to containing Kirk would be slot corner Avonte Maddox following him as long as Kirk was on the inside of the formation. Unfortunately, Maddox will not be playing in the Week-4 matchup and the Eagles will have to make changes to the secondary.
They can move James Bradberry to the slot and have him match up with Kirk, or they can move Chauncy Gardner-Johnson from safety to his natural slot corner position. Regardless of who the Eagles move to the slot, Kirk will see close to 10 targets, and it will be important to make those plays as tough as possible.
Which Batman This Week?
So far we’ve seen Swole Batman (AJ Brown), Skinny Batman (Devonta Smith), and Fast Batman (Quez Watkins) all make impact plays this season. With the downpour in Philly today, we may have to see a different Batman step up. This week is shaping out to be a Miles Sanders and Jalen Hurts week. The rain will make things very difficult throwing the ball and the run game will have to step up and make a few plays early to allow a potential shot down the field. Establishing the run game early will be extremely important in controlling the pace of game and the Eagles have to do this in order to get the win this week.
To truly be a Super Bowl contender you have to win the tough games. The Eagles will have one of those today. Winning today will be another step in the right direction to hosting multiple playoff games in January.