Well, I’m not going to lie. My first thought on this game is that it’s Thursday. Why are the Eagles playing on Thursday? They’re screwing up my whole internal body clock. However, I suppose I’ll survive. Let’s talk about the game.
When you look at the two teams, you have the Eagles coming off a disappointing and the Texans coming off a solid victory. I’m not going to call their win impressive as they took down a team led by a guy name Rusty Smith, but you still have to give them some credit.
Last week, there was a large amount of confidence going into the game, and the Eagles let us down. A lot of questions have come up about surrounding the team, but they have an early start to put these questions to rest.
One of the things I was most disappointed with last week was the defense’s inability to tackle. That’s a fundamental you learn when you first start playing football. The inability to tackle led to the Bears converting on big plays which essentially killed the team.
The Eagles will face a running back tonight in Arian Foster, who thrives off breaking tackles and turning them into big plays. He’s the NFL’s leading rusher and will embarrass the Eagles defense if they put forth a similar tackling effort against him.
Defensively, the Eagles linebackers will need to step up and make plays to stop the run. Stewart Bradley seemed to be improving over the last few weeks but had a big letdown against the Bears. He will be essential in the middle tonight in stopping the Texans running attack. Bradley needs to play well, it’s that simple.
Foster is also a very talented back coming out of the backfield and catching passes. He ranks second among running backs in receptions and Matt Schaub will look his way often. The Eagles can’t afford to let Foster catch passes with a lot of open space in front of him. He’ll make you pay.
Another popular target tonight for Schaub will be Andre Johnson. He’s the NFL’s best receiver and is having another great year. Johnson is one of those guys that you can’t really stop; you just have to hope to contain him. The Eagles will need to throw a lot of double-teams his way and try to prevent him from breaking open a big play. Much like Foster, he can make you pay.
On offense, the biggest thing you want to see the Eagles do this week is score touchdowns in the red zone. It sounds pretty simple, but the Eagles failed to do it efficiently last week against the Bears.
The Texans have a very poor secondary, and that’s something they will need to take full advantage of tonight. Michael Vick has looked very good throwing the ball this season, and will need to have a strong aerial attack tonight.
I have this gut feeling that DeSean Jackson is going to have a big night for the Eagles. He has a chip on his shoulder right now, and I think he’s going to come out like a man on a mission. I believe that Andy Reid knows he’ll be fired up and will look to call his number tonight.
Based upon the success the Bears had with lining their safeties up deep, I expect the Texans to do the same. I think the Eagles will try to hit Jackson on some quick screens to get him some touches and show that they want him to be a big part of this offense. This doesn’t have to just be to build confidence either. Jackson can score whenever he touches the ball.
Throughout the week, I’ve seen a lot of Eagles fans who really like this match-up for the Birds. I do too. However, I want to see the Eagles really come out and prove it as they get back on track for a serious playoff run.
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