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Three keys to the Eagles beating the Miami Dolphins

Here's what the Eagles need to do to beat the Dolphins.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles and Dolphins are set to square off in Philadelphia on Sunday. The Birds have a chance to reach 5-4 by beating Miami. Here are three keys to an Eagles win in this game.

1) Pound the rock

The Miami Dolphins rank 28th in run defense by Football Outsiders. They rank as the sixth worst run defense by Pro Football Focus. The Dolphins are allowing 4.5 yards per rush attempt, which ranks 26th in the league. Plain and simple, Miami hasn't been very good at defending the run. It's up to the Eagles to exploit this mismatch. Philadelphia has the second best rushing attack in the NFL since Week 3. The offensive line is blocking well and DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews have take advantage of their opportunities. This is definitely a game where the Eagles can rely on the run to get the offense going.

2) Stop the run

Philadelphia's run defense has been pretty solid ever since the Chip Kelly era began in 2013. Stopping the run has always been a big focus of the team's two-gap 3-4 defense. The Eagles have a lot of good run-stopping personnel with the likes of Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan, Fletcher Cox, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, and so on. It's been strange, then, to see the Eagles struggle against the run in recent weeks. The team allowed Jonathan Stewart to rush for 125 yards on 25 attempts (5.2 average) before allowing Darren McFadden to go for 117 on 27 attempts (4.3 average). It seems like the team has been missing the presence of veteran inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans. Mychal Kendricks and Kiko Alonso are both very talented but their erratic play has led to some missed tackles. The Eagles are getting Ryans back this week so that should be a nice boost for the defense. It's up to Bill Davis and co. to stop a Miami rushing attack that ranks second in the NFL at 4.9 yards per rush attempt.

3) Let Connor Barwin feast

The Dolphins are starting Jason Fox at right tackle due to Ju'Wuan James being ruled out with an injury. Fox is not a very good player. He ranks 62nd out of 75 tackles graded by Pro Football Focus. Fox has allowed two sacks, four quarterback hits, and 14 hurries in just 330 snaps played. He committed three penalties in his last start alone. The Bills brutalized Fox in Week 9. Now he'll be going up against Connor Barwin, who has been kind of quiet for the Eagles this season. Barwin only has three sacks but he could look to add to that total on Sunday. Getting pressure on Ryan Tannehill will obviously be key to forcing the quarterback into making mistakes.

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