Prior to Thanksgiving day, the Eagles showed they could take care of business when they were expected to, feasting on the NFL’s worst. But with losses to the 49ers, Cardinals and Packers, it was unclear if they could beat a playoff contender.
Clarity came in a Thanksgiving melee that Eagles fans will remember for a long time, with the Birds firing on all cylinders against their bitter rivals the Cowboys in the national spotlight.
Now, the Eagles must take down the defending champs at home before welcoming the Cowboys in their home finale in Week 15.
Can they make another statement and move to 7-0 at home Sunday afternoon?
Contain ‘Beast Mode’
The Eagles held the NFL’s leading rusher, DeMarco Murray, in check in Dallas last week and it did a lot for the Eagles both defensively and offensively.
Their ability to limit the Cowboy’s ball-control offense gave the Eagles offense more opportunities itself.
Against another tough-hard nosed runner and talented offensive line, the Birds will be tested against Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks.
Contrary to what one might think, Chip Kelly does not see their success against Murray translating easily into success against Lynch.
“They are both very difficult backs to defend in terms of tackling them,” the coach said, “whether it be in the open field or in congested areas, because they are both physical backs. But, it’s a totally different scheme and different mindset for our players.”
Philly’s run defense will also have to make sure it keeps an eye on Russell Wilson, who is an agile pocket presence who can scramble for big gains in any game situation.
The Eagles won the turnover battle big time last week in Big D, and a victory was their reward.
But last week’s solid performance from Mark Sanchez and the Eagles’ offense is far from the norm. The Birds lead all of football with 28 giveaways this season. Their 16 interceptions are tied for the most in the league, but their saving grace is their defense, which has generated 22 takeaways.
The Eagles will need to take care of the ball and watch out for lurking Richard Sherman, who had two interceptions last week.
“They lead the National Football League in defense and rightly so,” Kelly said. “They are a good defense.”
Get McCoy the rushing title
LeSean McCoy looks just like he did when he led the NFL in rushing last year. Fresh off of 159 yards on 25 carries last week, McCoy is suddenly the third leading runner in football.
If McCoy picks up just 48 yards against Seattle he’ll be the Eagles all-time leader.
“I think it just tells you what type of back he is,” Kelly said. “I knew early on once we got here what type of presence LeSean has and what a tremendous asset he is, especially when he has a ball in his hands in terms of what he can do: his ability to make people miss, his ability to get the ball up the field.”