The Philadelphia Eagles were flying high this year with Carson Wentz having a MVP season for the offense and the defense harassing the quarterback. With how well they were playing, they were the favorite by many to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Then, the season-ending injury happened to Wentz against the Rams and it seemed like all hope was lost. Immediately people began to count them out and think they were not good enough without their general on the field. As the playoffs have proved, that thinking was totally inaccurate, as the Eagles have won two straight in the playoffs and are one win away from the Super Bowl. Yet again, they find themselves in the same predicament they were in previously. Not many are picking them to win this one at all, as they face NFL MVP Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The familiar scene is set for the Eagles. So how do they prevail again?
The first thing the Eagles must do is run the football. During the playoffs, they have been solid there, but they have to be even better against the Patriots. The more the Eagles can run the football effectively, the more they keep the Patriots and Tom Brady off the field. The less chances he gets to carve into a defense, the better the Eagles will be and the harder it will be for the Patriots to prevail. Along with keeping the ball away from the Patriots by running the football, the effects of running the football can wear down a defense over time. Hard-hitting runs from Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount could pierce the Patriots defense and accumulate, wearing them down similar to when Rocky Balboa wore down Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. The Patriots have depth up front, but the Eagles have more of the advantage in that aspect, especially if their are controlling the line of scrimmage.
The running game will be very effective, but what will also has to be effective is the pass rush of the Philadelphia Eagles. Tom Brady can be surgical if he is provided time. He can also be elusive in the fact that he can shuffle from side to side in the pocket. Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, but what he is not immune to is pressure, especially up the middle of the field. The Eagles need a big game out of Fletcher Cox and his matchup with guys like Patriots guards Shaq Mason and Joe Thuney along with center David Andrews. If the Eagles beast of a lineman is able to wreck shop from the inside, then he will be right in the view of Tom Brady. The veteran quarterback will have to shuffle to his left or right and get outside of the pocket, which is not his forte. The more he has to do that, the easier it will be to disrupt the Patriots offense and their rhythm.
The game essentially comes down to the trenches. The team that dominates that part of the field the most will come out victorious. The Eagles have done that in their first two playoffs games, but can they make it happen in the third and most important playoff game of 2018? The city of Philadelphia, Eagles fans and the organization sure hopes they can.
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