Coming off a major win in Foxborough versus Tom Brady and The Patriots, The Eagles face a much bigger foe this week.
Yes, Brady may be the best that has ever played, but the loss of weapons on offensive and three special teams / defensive touchdowns by The Eagles cannot be overlooked. It can also not be expected again this week. With the team that is heading to Philadelphia this Sunday, there will be no shortage of offensive weapons on the field.
Buffalo, on the offensive side of ball is very sound with multiple options in both the rushing and receiving attack.
Former Eagles superstar LeSean McCoy spearheads a strong rushing attack, helped by the up and coming, Karlos Williams. Both backs have shown breakout ability time an time again as the season has progressed leading to a rushing attack feared by defensive coordinators. As far as the passing game goes, I’m not sure I need to say much more than Sammy Watkins. This young wide receiver out of Clemson has the ability to blow the top of of any team in the NFL. His great speed and ability to stack defenders to his liking is very impressive and seems to get better with every game played.
Those game breaking weapons paired with rising young QB Tyrod Taylor, there is much to be worried about. At 26 years old, Taylor is the starting quarterback of a NFL team for the first time in his 5 year career and showing that he what it takes in the process. Through the first three quarters of the season he has shown the ability to throw a very accurate deep ball, make good reads consistently, and his above average scrambling has allowed him to extend plays giving time to develop fully.
So with hopes to slow this Bills offense who is primed to score touchdowns, the Eagles must get heavy production from their outside linebackers. Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham must step up big this week setting the edge and remaining disciplined in their rushing lanes. The quarterback and both running backs of the Bills possess the ability to hit the edge then turn it north and south, or reverse field and get right back to full speed. Edge containment in this game will be absolutely crucial to force the play inside where help will be available. Over pursuit will also be something to watch with the speed out of the Bills backfield, lane integrity cannot be stressed enough.
An other big area that has to excel again this week is the pass rusher by the defensive line. If the guys in the trenches can repeat their success last week, as far as creating pressure without designed blitzes, it will give a huge advantage to the Eagles. With the three and four man rush creating pressures it frees up another player in coverage which will likely be needed to double up on Watkins in the form of deep safety help.
So the two big “game-changing” factors to watch for this week are:
1. Can the Eagles set the edge and contain the efforts of the Bills back field consistently.
2. Can the Eagles defensive line create pressure without blitz help.
If the Eagles can win these two battles, I feel it will give them a great chances to win this game. The problem is, I’m not sure if they are up to the task. Last week the defense played for the most part the best it has all year, following two games where they played their worst. I do not see the consistency needed for a win this week best off the past month of football. I think it will be close but in the end….
Bills win. 28-24.