So since everybody has their own views on how to beat another team (in this case Atlanta) I figured I'd write about mine. I may have some you agree with, I may have some things you disagree with, let's make some good conversation with it to get us til Sunday... I also included some match-ups to watch.
First let me start this by saying my buddy's a huge Falcon's fan, he's like me and the Eagles but instead he like the shittier Bird.
After the jump we'll get started...
1. Get Lesean McCoy the football
The one thing I've gathered is that the Falcons do have some issues with covering backs and the screen game. We just so happen to have the best pass catching RB in the NFL and a guy who can take a screen to the house. We need to make sure we give McCoy his touches, look at how much damage he did with 17 touches last week. I do think he needs more than 15 carries a game, but if he's putting up 100 yards on 15 carries and a TD I'm not going to complain.
Also I think come the 4th quarter when we need a play we should give it to McCoy, the guy is deadly with the football and closes out games like a superstar should.
2. Keep Vick Clean
The #1 priority should be to keep Vick clean. The Falcons may be down both starting DT's but they have a very solid rotation that can often times go 3 strings deep, this isn't something we need to take lightly, our OL must block well. If we give Vick time he will pick apart their secondary.
Kelce needs to continue to show that he's the man, he did very well last week and I'm looking to see him continue that trend, hopefully this time the communication early is better. Herremans will have his hands full with Edwards (if Edwards actually puts forth and effort).
3. Spread the ball around
The Eagles have to get the ball into all of our weapons hands, last week I felt Vick kinda looked to Desean a bit to much and he missed Maclin open a few times by doing so. In order to take full advantage of all our weapons we have to get Maclin, Celek, Avant, Smith, McCoy, Brown etc all involved because if they have to worry about just 2 guys outside of Vick that means life is going to be very hard for the DC.
4. Win 3rd downs
Last week our Offense converted 61% (or 8/13) of our 3rd downs. This could be better but it's far from a terrible stat. Vick was deadly on these downs, he would run if he knew he could get it, but only after he checked his options first and when people were open he delivered the ball, I remember his 20 yard strike. And with the Falcons D allowing a 37% 3rd down efficiency I am slightly worried about if we'll struggle here.
Last week the Falcons offense only converted on 30% of their 3rd downs. The Eagles D only allowed the Rams to convert on 16% of their 3rd downs (and they had 12 attempts). This is a battle we can win, the Falcons looked bad all game so it's hard to decided what exactly was a fluke and what's a legit problem but if we can win 3rd down we're going to be great.
5. Control the Time of Possession (TOP)
The age old Time of Possession (I'll be calling it TOP from here on out). TOP is a very key stat for us, we need to keep our defense off the field and the Falcons offense off the field. With our team being built to play from ahead it's key that we eat up the clock and put points on the board, we don't want to give the Falcons enough time to run like they would prefer to.
If we win the TOP we keep our defense off the field, and when they're on the Falcons will hopefully be forced to pass which would play to our strengths.
6. Get pressure on and Ryan
Last week Natty Ice was sacked 5 times, 1 of those resulted in a defensive TD for the Bears, and another one lead to a fumble which put the Bears in some very good field position. The Sacks were key, the Bears absolutely manhandled Ryan and he looked like a deer in headlights out there. The pressure was even worse, I barely saw him make a throw without getting hit or being rushed and Ryan's a bit weak when it comes to making plays when rushed like that.
Keep in mind the Bears brought lots of blitz's, the Eagles barely blitzed in the Rams game and put on pressure comparable to what the Bears brought on Ryan, which means more guys in coverage to make plays.
7. Slow the run game
We have to slow the Falcons run game, even though I'd love it if we could stop it completely it'd be great if we just slowed it down. If we can force them into a "must throw" mentality that'll put us in a much better position to win. We were excellent against the Rams on 3rd and short/goal plays, but Turners a different type of runner.
I think if we keep the Falcons around 100 rushing yards then we're going to win this one.
8. Win the turnover battle
We must protect the ball. No picks, no fumbles just hang onto that ball as if it were your first born. We have 1 turnover last week and that was on Mikells tackle on Vick in the Redzone, that was just one of those hat tip moments you give the opposing team, we were just out-schemed right there. But we just need Vick to play how he played last season and we'll be fine.
Get after Ryan, if he gets pressured he'll likely try to rush a pass, this is what Asante loves. We have to force a few turnovers, that'll help with forcing them to pass on us.
Match-up's to watch:
- Herremans vs Edwards- Edwards when he decides he wants to play can play, he's a lot like Chris Long who got the better of Herremans early on but Edwards is likely a lot bigger and a lot stronger. Herremans being Vicks blindside protector needs to do well against Edwards, I'm expecting nothing less than a performance like what Todd had in the 2nd half of the St Louis game.
- Mathis, Kelce and Devan Vs Falcons DT's and LB's- Need to watch this one. Like I said above the Falcons have a decent DT rotation and they like to keep guys fresh, their LB's are good against the run also, we need the interior of our line to step up like they did late last week.
- Patterson and Jenkins vs Hawley, Reynolds and Blalock- Hawley and Reynolds are new starters along the line and Blalock's a good LG.. However Jenkins was typically lining up on the (defensive) LDT position and that means he'll be taking on an inexperienced Hawley and Reynolds whom had some struggles with inside pressure last week, and Blalock will likely be asked to match up with Patterson 1v1... This free's up Cole and Babin on the outside... which leads me to my next matchup...
- Cole vs Baker and Babin vs Clabo- Both of Atlanta's OT's are good, some would argue very good. But when you have Cole who's a monster and Babin coming off a 12 sack season in the same system a year ago you can't discount them. I think Babin's actually going to have a very active and good game, he's a lot quicker and faster than what Clabo's use to dealing with and that could really spell trouble, also 90% of the time the TE help will be going at Cole and the double team will be towards Jenkins, leaving Bab's and Clabo on an island together.
- Samuel vs White- I think this may be the most important match-up. White's a good route runner and is more of a possession guy, Samuels loves guys like this because he can often jump the routes and even learn their tendency's. I think if we can get pressure up front and Ryan tries to just dump it to White we may see Asante dancing a whole lot.