The Philadelphia Eagles are home after two games on the road and are hoping to pull off their first 2021 season win at Lincoln Financial Field.
Last Sunday, the Eagles had an insane week. They pulled out a 44-6 win over the Detroit Lions with the help of an incredible run game. With a total of 236 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns, Philadelphia could be on their way to their second consecutive win if they carry the same mentality.
Head coach Nick Sirianni stated, “There is no doubt that we want to be able to run it because that will only help our play-action game and help Jalen (Hurts) moving forward.”
The question is, will Sirianni actually do that?
EAGLES VS CHARGERS PREDICTIONS
ALICIA’S PICK: Eagles, 24-20
The Los Angeles Chargers have the worst run defense in the league, giving up 5.1 yards per carry and 159.4 yards per game. They’ve also allowed nine rushing touchdowns in their seven games, ranking 28th. After Boston Scott and Jordan Howard’s success last Sunday, Sirianni would be a moron if he didn’t run the ball again.
With a strong run game, pass-plays should follow. Wide receiver DeVonta Smith is due for a big game soon, and Jalen Reagor will return after injuring his ankle against the Lions.
The offensive line will have some challenges as they face off against Joey Bosa, a three-time Pro Bowler. Bosa plays the left and right side and has had an impressive season so far.
As for the defense, Gannon changed up his strategy last week, and it worked. They were strong, competitive, and finished with five sacks. Though their technique may have to be tweaked to go against Justin Herbert, the Chargers’ quarterback is working with a throwing-hand injury, averaging 7.1 yards per attempt.
Maddox will have a challenging game as wide receiver Keenan Allen plays the majority of his snaps inside the slot. Though Maddox is playing his best season to date, it may not be a bad idea to use Slay (who is also having an incredible season) to throw off Allen.
The Chargers are clearly better than the Lions, but I think the Eagles can pull this one off. They’re coming off of a high, they’re motivated to turn this season around, and they’re craving a win at home.
DREW’S PICK: Chargers 32-17
As Alicia mentioned, the Chargers are bringing some horrendous run defense to Philadelphia. However, the Eagles might also have the golden opportunity to attack in the air, something they rarely attempted last week. Los Angeles is currently without their two best corners – Asante Samuel, Jr. and Michael Davis.
With these glaring holes, DeVonta Smith absolutely needs to step up. The first-round pick has more often than not been a disappointment – despite having the third highest rookie receiving yards (421), four of Smith’s eights games have seen him walk away with or under 31 receiving yards.
Even with Reagor returning from injury, Smith’s production is still extremely important. If he and Hurts can get on the same page, it should help both of the young players out not only in Sunday’s matchup, but going forward as well. I also agree that Sirianni would be beyond insane to not continue running the ball with some combination of Gainwell/Scott/Howard. If it works, it works – and in order to get a win, you run (no pun intended) with the hot hand.
However, even if the offense is able to get it together like they did against the Lions, I think the Eagles come crashing back down to Earth against a very solid offensive team.
Austin Ekeler is someone I think will give the Birds absolute hell – Philadelphia has allowed 100 yards to opposing running backs in all but two games this season (opponents are averaging 106 yards and one touchdown a game). They’ve also allowed a fair number of RB receptions as well (7.25 recs/game), and Ekeler excels at pass catching. Staley will surely exploit this weakness.
The Eagles might also have trouble dealing with the wide receiver duo of Allen and Mike Williams. As much as we’d love a home win — the first home win of the season, to be exact — I can’t see it happening against a team in a tough decision that needs a solid road victory. Hopefully they can prove me wrong!