MIAMI GARDENS, FL –
The Eagles enter week 13 searching for a season-saving win. The Eagles have dropped two straight games against the Patriots and Seahawks, and with the Cowboys maintaining a lead in the NFC East, this game is vital for the Eagles’ season. Simply put, the Eagles start a stretch of games were even one loss can be the difference between being in the playoffs or watching the playoffs from the couch. Here’s what to watch for in this match-up:
1 – Comeback Carson: Carson Wentz and the Eagles’ offense was awful against the Seahawks. I don’t think it’s a bold claim to say that was Wentz’s worst game of career. Wentz missed easy passes – including two from about two or three yards away – and he didn’t seem to have confidence. I understand the offense was missing weapons, but it’s still no excuse for the effort that they displayed. The Eagles need Wentz to bounce-back in a major way, and the Dolphins are weak enough for Wentz to get his confidence back.
2 – Defensive dominance: In the last two weeks, the Eagles’ defense has looked impressive and has held them in games. Going up against Tom Brady and Russell Wilson is no easy task – especially in back-to-back weeks – but the Eagles’ defense has rebounded from its extremely rocky start. The Eagles’ defense, led by players like Jalen Mills and Malcolm Jenkins, will need to keep improving, but it’s a promising note after two bad losses.
3 – Run the rock: The Eagles haven’t had a rusher eclipse the 50-yard mark since their win against the Bears before their bye. With Wentz struggling, it’s even more imperative that the run game be formidable. There is no reason why the Eagles can’t have at least a 50-yard rusher against the Dolphins. Whatever combination of Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Jay Ajayi, and Boston Scott takes the field, the Eagles need to at least combine for 125 rushing yards.
4 – Diversity: The Eagles’ playbook has lack originality, creativity, and pizzazz recently. The Patriots and Seahawks both ran trick plays against the Eagles, and these plays proved to be major catalysts. The Eagles need to figure out something different that will keep opposing defenses off-balance. The next stretch should provide some weak defenses to experiment and to succeed against. Doug Pederson needs to get this potent group going.
5 – History: The Dolphins hold the series lead with a record of 8-6. The Eagles have won three of the last four games, but the Dolphins won the last match-up when the teams played in 2015. Can the Eagles find a way to close their gap, or will the Dolphins extend their lead?