In a season that would be deemed a “lost cause” in any other division, the Eagles still find themselves in first place. Yes, I’m sure you have heard it a thousand times by now. The Philadelphia Eagles are in first place in the NFC East with a record of 3-5-1. It’s not pretty, and it’s not exciting to talk about it. The NFC East will probably hold the narrative of “Worst team to ever make the playoffs” at the end of this season. The entire division has been a disaster, with no end in sight.
The Eagles could do us all a favor and start to play like the team we thought they were coming into the season. That seems like a long-lost dream at this point, though. We will stick to taking it one game at a time. The Eagles travel to Cleveland this weekend to take on the 6-3 Browns. Do the Eagles have a chance to win? Yes, it’s the NFL.
Can the Eagles stop Cleveland’s Two-Headed Monster?
The easy answer to this question is no. The Eagles are 26th in the league in terms of “Opponent Rushing Yards Per Game” via TeamRankings. Last week the Browns ran the ball 38 times between their two running backs. Nick Chubb ran the ball 19 times for 126 yards, and Kareem Hunt rushed 19 times for 104 yards. The Browns feature the most dynamic backfield in the NFL. If the Eagles are going to have any chance of winning this game, they have to find a way to slow down the run game. This is no easy task, especially considering the Eagles’ lackluster production from the linebacker position. Maybe this can be a game where Jim Schwartz can prove himself useful to disgruntled fans?
If Philly can manage to slow down the Browns rushing attack, the game falls into Baker Mayfield’s hands. That makes this game winnable for the Eagles. Baker has struggled at times this year, his third NFL season. Last week, Baker threw for only 132 yards on 20 attempts. Turning the Browns into a passing team won’t be easy, but it’s the Eagles’ best chance to leave Cleveland with a win.
Eagles Offensive Gameplan
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Philadelphia’s linebackers stink. What if I told you there was a group that rivaled their poor play? Yup, the Browns also have a dismal linebacker group. This is something that Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz MUST take advantage of. Shallow routes over the middle for easy completions have to be a part of the game plan. If the Eagles can catch the ball in space, they’ll easily beat the Browns linebackers. With easy completions comes easy running room. If Carson can get going early, it will open up holes for Philadelphia’s rushing attack. Doug has said he’s going towards a running back by committee role from now on. He acknowledged that Miles Sanders will still receive the most carries, but he wants a better approach on the ground.
The Eagles don’t necessarily need to score a ton of points to win this game. The Browns have only scored 26 points in their last two games combined. The key to having a good game offensively will be sustaining drives into the Browns territory. The Eagles have struggled mightily with field position this season. Just getting past the 50-yard line could go a long way to winning this matchup.
Final Prediction: Who Wins?
This isn’t a tough decision. The Cleveland Browns are going to win this game. The Eagles have demonstrated an incredible ability to adjust to absolutely nothing. There is no reason to assume the Eagles will adjust accordingly to stop the Browns rushing attack. Another loss would put the Eagles at 3-6-1 on the season, with no easy opponent in the near future. Look for Philly to fall in this game, 23-9.