The 2020 NFL season is barely three weeks old and the Philadelphia Eagles are already in a “must-win” game. Backs against the wall, Doug Pederson’s Eagles have to get right against a porous Cincinnati Bengals squad, or they’ll see their playoff chances reduce to almost nil.
As it stands now, historical data shows the Eagles have an 11% shot at playing in January after starting 0-2. If they drop their third straight, those odds plummet to 2.5%. Football Outsiders odds are more favorable as they factor in what’s happening around the league, but even then a 23.7% chance isn’t exactly a sunny outlook.
Doug Pederson’s recent comments have raised national eyebrows, and the questions eliciting those responses will only increase in intensity if the Eagles fail again. Carson Wentz says his confidence is still “sky high” for the team, but he won’t get to use that card again if he falters a third time. Tough questions are going to come in regardless, but the various Eagles power players can inch off the hot seat with a win over the Bengals.
How can the Eagles turn it around? It starts with the offense, which is dead last in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
The Eagles should be able to get the ground game going against a banged up Bengals interior. There’s been a lack of explosive plays from the Eagles running backs, who have produced only 3 runs over over 10+ yards (31st). Lucky for them, the Bengals run defense has conceded the 2nd most explosive runs in the league with 12.
The main factor for the Eagles is getting Wentz back on track after an incredibly concerning start to the season. Wentz’s 3.33 adjusted net yards per attempt ranks dead last among starters and his accuracy has been examined by every quarterback-minded analyst in the nation. Speaking of which, on The QB Factory #11, Mark Schofield and I broke down what’s going wrong with Wentz’s mechanics (listen on the player below or click here).
Wentz’s bounce back will have to happen without rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor, so the big question is if JJ Arcega-Whiteside can earn targets despite shaky chemistry with Wentz.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how the Eagles win. They just need to win. Yes, a blowout for the 4.5 home favorites would be ideal, but this isn’t about feeling good, it’s about surviving.
We dug deeper into this matchup and gave our final predictions on The Kist & Solak Show #195! Listen on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts?! Check out our guide on how to listen and subscribe to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!
CERTIFIED FRESH— BGN Radio (@BGN_Radio) September 25, 2020
The Kist & Solak Show #195 w/@MichaelKistNFL & @BenjaminSolak!
It's a must-win game for the Eagles against the Bengals & surely nothing will go wrong. The gang has you covered on exactly what to expect on Sunday!https://t.co/psQY8Vaa8W