If it isn’t already, a loss tonight against the Saints seals Andy Reid’s fate. At 3-5 the Eagles would have to go on a miraculous 7-1 run to have any chance of the playoffs. Even at 4-4 the chances of finishing 10-6 are slim. So with a loss tonight Reid can start looking for a realtor. After an incredibly poor showing against the Falcons this team has to bounce back, no excuses. The New Orleans Saints are ripe for the picking. It’s now or never. Three things I’m looking for tonight:
Big and Tall Gut Check Time
Unless the entire NovaCare Complex is tone deaf everyone on the sideline tonight knows that jobs are on the line, both players and coaches. Juan Castillo has been fired, Jason Babin has already seen his playing time reduced due to lack of production and Mike Vick has admitted the vultures are circling. So they know how dire things are. If the Eagles come out flat, you can go to bed early, because this game and the rest of the season are over. The only reason to stick around would be to see if Reid benches Vick in the middle of the game, likely at halftime. You’ll want to be there when Jesus Foles makes his debut.
When a backup is thrust into a starting role, teams with half a brain go right at that player and make him prove he belongs. That’s how you wind up with Jamar Chaney getting 12 tackles in a game. The Saints offense of course, even without Sean Payton, is one of the smarter in the league. With rookie David Sims replacing Nate Allen, Drew Brees should and will test him early and often. This puts Todd Bowles in a quandary. He can either counter by heavy blitzing to disrupt Brees’ timing, however the Saints are the 5th best team at preventing sacks and a game plan of heavy blitzing did the Eagles in against the Falcons. Or he can drop 7 into coverage often, giving Drew Brees time against a game plan that did in Juan Castillo’s employment status. As usual against the Saints offense, pick your poison.
Fight Fire With Fire
The Eagles offense is a dumpster fire, the Saints defense a grease fire. For both units, this looks to be a get well game. The Saints defense is last against the pass overall and last against the pass to #1 WRs, tight ends and running backs. So don’t get frustrated early with the game plan if it’s short and intermediate stuff. Brent Celek and LeSean McCoy should get a lot of passes thrown their way tonight, or at least a lot of play calls that will set them up. If Mike Vick is under duress or just getting happy feet but McCoy and Celek are getting open, Andy Reid and Marty Morninwheg should not deserve criticism for their play calling. Vick was rightfully critiqued last week for not attempting anything deep, but this week so long as Vick is taking shots down field and Celek and McCoy are getting the heavy dose of short and intermediate targets, it can work.
Of course, the way this season has gone, the team could play like gangbusters, the defense could play well and Vick could have a strong game and they’d still find a way to lose. I’m looking at you special teams.