What to Watch for: Eagles and Saints
This is a huge game for the Eagles on Monday Night. This will be a true put up or shut up type of contest. Tons of talk surrounding the Birds has been held with the caveat of “Well, they still have a ton of talent.” That’s all well and good, but there comes a point where it doesn’t matter. You need to play well as a team with the talent you have.
Were the Tim Tebow led Broncos more talented last year? Hell no. But they would probably whoop the Eagles right now. This team is playing downright ugly, inconsistent and underachieving football. The proof comes from the players only meetings held during the week, which were probably the first ever held by a team that was 3-4. This team is desperate and lacking in confidence, which brings me to the first point for tomorrow night:
1. Effort. As I said earlier in the week, if this team comes out of the gates with anything but physical, relentless effort they’re screwed. For the year. Take a look at the facts. Andy Reid’s biggest supporter has been canned, the head coach knows that he’s on the same path barring a serious improvement, and no one else in the building has a guaranteed future if that happens. However, they still managed to pull out the most faceless, uninspiring performance of the season in what was a seriously important game for them against the Falcons. If they can’t be motivated to play with energy tomorrow then this team is destined to a well deserved death in the NFC basement.
2. Defense. This includes both sides. For the Saints, they have a ton of unsolved questions regarding their defensive unit. They’re ranked 30th in the league against the pass and have no indications of improvement. The Eagles looked awful in their first performance with Todd Bowles at the helm, allowing six scores in six consecutive drives. With only one week of tape to examine, the Birds will be an unknown commodity. As a result of the uncertainty on both sides, it looks like this game could be a shoot out. this of course means that you need to top…
3. Drew Brees. He’s one of the best in the league at what he does. With his ability to get rid of the ball so quickly and accurately, it’s going to be a tough night for the Eagle’s struggling pas rush. In only seven games Brees has passed for 2,310 yards 20 TDs and 8 INTs. Not the most comforting numbers. If the Eagles want to win, they need to beat Brees at his own game.
4. Marques Colston. Colston is having a stellar season thus far. In the last four weeks he’s had 30 catches for 320 yards and 5 TDs. In other words, HOT DAMN. He’s become Drew Brees favorite target this year and will be a pivotal part of the Saints offense. Expect him to give the Eagles secondary fits.
5. DeSean Jackson. DeSean has been the Eagles offensive MVP so far this season. He’s playing with a consistent effort and made some tough grabs. In fact, he hasn’t dropped a pass this entire season. Expect the Eagles to take a couple of shots deep with Jackson against a Saints defense that’s allowed 32 passing plays over 20 yards this season, tied for 5th in the league.
6. Jimmy Graham vs. Mychal Kendricks. Jimmy Graham is one of those exceptional freak athletes in the NFL. He’s 6′ 7″, 265 pounds and runs a 4.56 40 yard dash. If the Eagles hope to keep Brees in check, they’re going to have to contain his safety valve. Especially with Darren Sproles out for the game with a broken hand. For Kendricks, this is another tough match-up against a premiere tight end. Despite his struggles in the run game, Kendricks contained future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez to one catch for 11 yards. The Eagles need a similar performance from the Angry Bird on Monday.
7. Brandon Graham. Graham has been playing with attitude this year and has been rewarded with progressively more playing time. Just last week, Graham played one more down than Jason Babin and it seems inevitable that he’ll soon be named the starter. More importantly, he’s been good in both the run game and rushing the passer.
8. Dennis Kelly. Kelly will get another chance to start at right guard for the Birds. He performed well enough in his first game and if he plays well on Monday Danny Watkins might not have a job when he recovers from his ankle injury.
9. The Return of Mike Patterson. After waiting for his skull to heal following surgery, Mike Patterson has finally been cleared to play. He’s an underrated player on the Eagles and should provide some quality depth to the DT position.
Posted on November 5, 2012, in Posts and tagged Brandon Graham, Darren Sproles, dennis kelly, Desean Jackson, Drew Brees, Eagles, Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston, Mychal Kendricks, Saints. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.