This Sunday, the Eagles face yet another test. The Baltimore Ravens are coming to town, toting a 4-1 record, sitting in second place in the AFC North. Lamar Jackson hasn’t exactly been as spectacular as last season, but he’s winning games nevertheless. The Eagles are sitting in second place in the NFC East with a 1-3-1 record, fresh off a disappointing loss at Pittsburgh. If you’re looking for good news, this game marks the beginning of three straight home games for Philadelphia. With a week 9 bye on the horizon, Philly needs to turn it around quickly. Winning two out of the next three games would be a success for Philadelphia.
How can Philadelphia leave Sundays game victorious? That’s not an easy task. Baltimore’s only loss this season was to the reigning Super Bowl Champion, Kansas City Chiefs. How did the Chiefs take down Baltimore? They did it with creative play-calling on offense and great secondary play on defense. Holding Lamar Jackson to just 92 passing yards is an incredible feat. Can the Eagles replicate both of those feats? No. The Eagles secondary is simply not good enough to shut down Lamar Jackson for four quarters. However, the Eagles offense could take a step forward and potentially win them this game.
If the Eagles are going to win this game, they will have to do something they haven’t done all year. Their offense and defense both have to play well for the entire game. On the offensive side of the ball, the run game HAS to be successful. If Miles Sanders and co. can keep this Ravens defense guessing, it will make life much easier for Carson Wentz. Baltimore has 16 sacks on the year, which is fourth in the NFL. Philly will have to see solid offensive line play to keep this game within reach. If Carson gets protection this Sunday, maybe Philadelphia can make some noise on the offensive side of the ball. DeSean Jackson was limited again for Thursday’s practice, putting his game status in doubt. So, can Travis Fulgham contribute anything close to the 10 catch, 152 yard performance he showed us last week?
If the offense holds up their end of the bargain, this defense has to step up. The Eagles are second in the NFL in sacks, with 18. This comes after only producing one sack against the Steelers. This defensive line has to be disruptive if the Eagles are going to hang with the Ravens. Lamar Jackson is going to be a problem. The Eagles haven’t faced a mobile quarterback this year, so their aggressive defensive line might backfire. Lamar might be the most challenging quarterback in the league to contain. However, Philadelphia will have to get the job done if they want to avoid a fourth loss on the season.
This Eagles defense will also need productive play from the linebackers, which might not be physically possible. Along with that, Darius Slay will have to carry the secondary again. If Slay can find his first interception on the year, it would go a long way for Philadelphia’s chances at victory. Avonte Maddox seemingly has a chance to return this Sunday, but the following week seems more realistic. This will have to be a total team effort to get a win this weekend.
Let’s be realistic for a moment. What are the chances that the Eagles get solid play from both the offense and the defense? We haven’t seen it happen all year, and we have no reason to believe it will happen this Sunday. I’ll gladly accept being wrong. I just don’t see it happening. Their injury report on Thursday was promising, but we’ll have to wait and see who’s healthy enough to play. While Philadelphia winning isn’t likely, there’s a reason we still have to play every week. The NFL is unpredictable and crazy things happen every week. A Philadelphia win would put them in a prime position to go on a run before their week 9 bye.
Realistically, Philadelphia is going to get overpowered this weekend by a far superior team. Lamar Jackson will look like his MVP self, and he’s going to torch this Eagles defense. My only question would be: Can the Eagles keep it respectable? I think Carson is in for a long game, this Ravens defense isn’t as good as the Steelers, but they are nothing to sleep on either. Unfortunately, I think the Eagles will fall to 1-4-1 this weekend by a score of 37-20. The good news for the Eagles is they have back-to-back division rivals coming to town before the bye week.