The heavy underdogs will have their work cut out for them on Sunday as they take on the current unstoppable force of the NFL in the Denver Broncos. The Broncos offense led by Peyton Manning is the leagues number one rated attack. At Manning’s disposal are Decker, Thomas X2, and, the king of the slot, Wes Welker. They haven’t faced a true test this season yet besides their opener against the Ravens.
It will be interesting to see how the Eagles go about matching up against all these weapons. It is figured Boykin will see most of his playing time mirroring Welker in the slot with Fletcher and Williams on the outside covering Decker and Thomas. The Eagles best cover linebacker is currently Kendricks. Kendricks was taken to school in the game against the Chargers by future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates but covering Julius Thomas shouldn’t be as difficult job but a challenge nonetheless.
Against the run the Eagles should fair well because the Broncos are ranked 20th in the league in ypc. They throw for a majority of the game untill they build a lead and try to run out the clock late. Also, Denver is ranked 26th in the league in rushing first down percentage. They get a first down 20% of the time by way of a run play and 23% of the team’s total offensive yards are rushing.
Unlike the Eagles previous match up against Alex Smith, Peyton Manning throws the ball down field. He leads the league in yards per pass attempt with a 9.2 average and are ranked 5th in yards per a completion with a 12.6 average. Manning is only sacked on average one time per game That result is mostly because of Manning’s brilliance especially since they’ve lost LT Ryan Clady.
Denver leads the league in rushing defense but that number is skewed a bit because Denver often find them self with the lead thus forcing the other team to pass more. Teams rush against Denver the second least with an average of 19 rushes per game. Their pass Defense sees the most opponent pass attempts per game because of what I said earlier. Holding opponents to just 58% completion will allow for you to do that which Denver does compared to the Eagles 67%, yikes! Here is the killer though. Denver averages giving up 11.8 yards per pass completion allowed. The Eagles offense leads the league in yards per completion. Protecting Vick will be vital if the Birds even want to have a chance at pulling off the upset. Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, and Todd Herremans will all need to step up their game from a week ago when they faced the leagues best pass rush in KC. Fortunately for the Eagles, Denver is ranked in the middle of the pack in sacks per game with 2.7 and the Broncos are ranked 23rd in sack percentage with a 5.33%.
We already know about the Eagles offense and defense. The offense can run, run, and run and pass effectively. The defense gets chewed up in the pass but does limit opponents to FG as they allow 2.7 FG’s a game which is 30th in the NFL. They give up 2.4 touchdowns per game. Interestingly enough, Denver gives up 2.7 touchdowns per game and 1.7 FG’s a game.
If the Eagles want to win this game then they will have to do two main things right. They need to start out with a lead and they can’t turn the ball over. They will also have to win the individual battles, execute, play smart. The players have to want it, accept the challenge of being the underdog. Yes, they need things to go their way but it’s not unreasonable.