Adam Schefter: “If Philadelphia brings its A-game, they got a good chance to beat any one of these teams.”
Adam Schefter made a bold claim about the Eagles’ playoff future this morning. Appearing on 97.5, Schefter stated that “If Philadelphia brings its A-game, they got a good chance to beat any one of these teams.”
Is it possible that Schefter was just pandering to his Philly audience? Well, of course, anything is possible. However, there is some truth to his statement. As of now, we do not know who the Eagles will face in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. It’s looking like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the likely opponent.
The Eagles have an 87.5% chance of playing the Buccaneers if they beat Dallas. Those odds fall to a 50% chance with a loss. There’s a 25% chance Philadelphia faces the Rams if they lose on Saturday and a 12.5% chance they play the Cowboys again or the Cardinals.
All of these teams are difficult matchups and the Eagles’ 0-6 record against winning teams certainly doesn’t help build confidence within the fanbase.
It’s no secret that Jonathan Gannon’s defense struggled when facing teams with a good quarterback under center.
The Eagles’ defense has improved due to scheme changes, but they have not faced a good team since those adjustments. They have also leaned on their running game far more, and it’s made the Eagles’ offense look entirely different, and better.
The increased amount of carries started when Philly played Detroit in Week 8, and they only played one winning team since then. That was the Los Angeles Chargers, who won kicking a field goal with time expiring.
In Week 6, the Eagles played their likely wildcard opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on Thursday Night Football. The Eagles lost but kept it close the entire game. Philadelphia only ran the ball 19 times that game while throwing it 26 times. Miles Sanders had just nine attempts while averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
Jalen Hurts had the other ten, totaling 44 yards.
Their rushing attack worked, but Nick Sirianni steered away from it for no reason. This time around that should be far from the case, and it could lead to an entirely different outcome.
Jalen Hurts’ rushing ability will be an X-factor no matter who they play. Sirianni can call up RPOs and simple passing schemes to allow Hurts to thrive and gain his footing while not overthinking his responsibilities.
Facing Tom Brady in the playoffs is a nightmare for any team and the Eagles are no exception. Jonathan Gannon’s added blitzes should take some pressure off of the defensive backs, but Brady can easily find mismatches when blitzed.
The Eagles’ soft coverage defense will work, but their running game must be successful. They need to force opposing teams to churn out long drives and stay in the game by feeding Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard the football.
Back to Schefter’s comments, yes, the Eagles can hang in with whoever they go up against. There can’t be any bone-headed penalties or scoreless drives early, or else the Eagles’ playoff run could be a short-lived one. Good teams will take advantage of that and make this game a blowout by halftime.
However, if the Eagles play smart and stick to what they do best, then there’s a chance this playoff run could last longer than most might think.
Mandatory Credit: Global News