Know thy enemy: The Philadelphia Eagles

[editor's note, by Skin Patrol] Jason from SBN's Bleeding Green Nation is giving us the skinny on our opponent this week; the Philadelphia Eagles. You can find my take of Your Washington Redskins on his blog here. Enjoy.

Hey it's BGNJason from Bleeding Green Nation here to give you a little update on what has gone on with the Philadelphia Eagles this year.

It's been an up and down year to say the least.  Donovan McNabb is the #1 ranked passer in the NFL and up until the Tampa game was many people's pick for the MVP this year. It's been tough going the past 3 games though. McNabb has made his mistakes(although only really in the Tampa game) but there's been a host of other problems that have plauged the Eagles offense lately.

The offense is still ranked #1 in the NFL in yardage but has suffered massive consistency problems. First and foremost has been their inability to put together a full game. Even in the Eagles' wins this year(blowout wins included) it hasn't been at all odd to see them put up zero to three points in one half only to score 24-30 in another half. They've overcame 17 point deficits in 2 games, only to lose on last second FGs...

The Eagles receivers lead the NFL in drops and Andy Reid calls pass plays over 70% of the time. One things the Eagles won't do is tire your defense out by keeping them on the field. It seems that it's either an 80 yard TD or 3 & out when the Eagles take the field on offense...

However, for an offense ranked #1 it can't be all bad news. The Eagles have twice as many scoring plays over 20 yards than any other team in football. The Eagles have lived(and died against JAX) on the big play. Reggie Brown, Brian Westbrook, Donte Stallworth, LJ Smith, & Hank Baskett have all showed a flair for the big play. There is absolutely no doubt that the Eagles will attack the Skins deep several times on Sunday and chances are they'll connect at least once. You also can never ignore Brian Westbrook, who is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. He is among the leaders in NFL in yards from scrimmage.

On the defensive side of the ball it's also been up and down. Early in the year the Eagles were very stout against the run and atrocious against the pass. However, many of their pass defense woes came from the fact that they were missing two corners, Lito Sheppard & Rod Hood. Since Hood & Sheppard have been back the Eagles pass defense has been much improved.

Their run defense has suffered. Although it's not necessarily because the Eagles don't have the personell to stop the run... The fact that the Eagles throw every down and when they do score, they do it fast has lead to the defense being on the field alot. The blue print used by both the Saints and Jags to beat the Eagles was to keep running the ball no matter what. Neither team had all that much success in the first half, but in the second half the Eagles defense will wear down and the opposition will begin to dominate with the run. When the Eagles have won, it's because they take an early lead force the other team to play catch up. More ball control by the Eagles would help, but Reid has shown no interest in doing so.

If there's one thing the Eagles do, it's get after the passer. They are 4th in the NFL with 26 sacks. 2nd year DE Trent Cole has been especially good with 6.5 sacks. If you can protect your QB or limit his need to throw, you can beat the Eagles D. If you need to throw or have difficulty protecting the passer this year... they will tee off and hit your QB all day.

Thanks and any questions you have about the Eagles this year just leave them in the comments and I will try to answer.