The Philadelphia Eagles are still in search for that first win of the 2015 season and have a tough opponent in the 2-0 New York Jets on Sunday. The Chip Kelly offense has yet to play a top level defense, yet by how the teamed has executed thus far, an outsider would think the Eagles have played some of the best the league has to offer. Well, that’s what the Eagles are in for week three, a New York Jets defense that is physical up front with a secondary that can shut down opposing wide receivers.
The New York Jets have the weakest offense the Eagles have faced so far this season, and there is a chance that both wide receiver Eric Decker and running back Chris Ivory sit out on Sunday. Brandon Marshall is the one guy that needs to be accounted for; he is a big bodied receiver that rarely drops the football when it’s thrown in his direction. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a smart quarterback, a game manager who will be tough to get pressure on with a very stout offensive line in front of him, but the journeyman has his limitations. There is a chance that second round speedster Devin Smith finally makes his pro debut after a rib injury during preseason, but that’s about it from the firepower the Jets bring. They are a football team that likes to play ball control offense, grind down the clock and keep third downs into manageable situations where Fitzpatrick doesn’t have to force the throws downfield.
As for the Philadelphia Eagles, what’s the starting point to get things back on track? This is as difficult as it will get for the Eagles as far as facing a top level defense, which isn’t the best riddle to have to solve with the offense currently a complete disaster. The Eagles must find a way to get the run game going, move the chains forward and not backwards. The playmakers on offense are the three headed running back core, but the offensive line is not good enough at the moment to allow this unit to flourish. It’s not hard to understand why opposing defenses are comfortable managing the wide receivers; it’s an unproven group minus the sample size from Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz. Bradford looks shaky, and I would expect Todd Bowles to apply pressure and try to keep Bradford unsteady in the pocket.
Chip Kelly has to do more, show more as far as his play calling, it’s been boring to watch, and that maybe an understatement. Creating mismatches is going to be the key for the Eagles receiving core, size and speed, where can the Eagles attack. Chip has to find ways to win this mismatch battle or it could be another pathetic showing by Bradford and company.
The Jets are forcing turnovers at a ridiculous rate, and made Pro Bowler Andrew Luck look like a rookie this past Monday night. The Jets can be attacked by running the football straight at them, but this has not been a scheme the Eagles have approached the season with. The strength and speed of the defensive line can run down the stretch plays the Eagles have failed to establish through the first two weeks this season. The screen pass to running backs could be a big time weapon for Sam Bradford to use, and establish some early success. The Jets have a respectable line backing core, but not one that will be able to keep up with the running backs the Eagles have.
With some early injuries this season, the talent on both the Eagles defensive line and linebacker core has been weakened. The safeties have played solid football, but the play of Byron Maxwell has Eagle fans wondering why this team can’t make the right call with signing the big free agent cornerback. Billy Davis needs to do something this week, unleash guys like Curry, Graham, Barwin, maybe even a few safety blitzes. Maxwell has to be better, he needs to not play so far off from the line of scrimmage and get his hands on receivers and alter their route.
The Eagles have little going for them heading into week three, besides players and coaches who feel the team is underachieving. I don’t believe confidence is missing, but it’s scattered and the team needs to rally behind one another and play like a team that recognizes the difference between being 1-2 and 0-3.
The Eagles season simply can’t come to an end before September is over, even though they have underperformed, there are enough veterans and Chip is clever enough to not allow this to happen.
It’s going to be a better performance by the offense, nothing to fully make you comfortable that the high scoring, high tempo style is fully back, but it will be enough to get the job done week 3.
Eagles 23 Jets 20