Week 9: Eagles Preview & Prediction: Vs. Chargers

Date and Time: November 7th – 4:05 p.m.

Location: Philadelphia, PA – Lincoln Financial Field

Network: CBS

  • Eagles Injury Report
    • OUT
      • WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
  • Chargers Injury Report
    • OUT
      • CB Michael Davis
      • CB Asante Samuel Jr.
      • RB Justin Jackson
    • Doubtful
      • S Alohi Gilman

Matchup Preview

The Philadelphia Eagles look to build off last week’s 44-6 victory over the Detroit Lions, as they take on the 4-3 Los Angeles Chargers.

The Chargers are coming off 2 straight losses, including a 34-6 route at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens. The Chargers rank 18th in team offense (13th – passing, 25th -rushing). Early on in the season, quarterback Justin Herbert was in the early discussion for MVP. However, over the last 2 weeks, Herbert has struggled. He’s completed just 54% of his passes, thrown 3 interceptions, and posted a 67.3 passer rating.

Both teams Los Angeles squared off against utilized similar game plans: containing Los Angeles’ running game and taking away the big play. As a result, Herbert struggled.

Herbert is also dealing with a hand injury.

Defensively, the Chargers rank 17th in team defense (3rd – passing, 31st – rushing). A caveat for this matchup being, the Chargers will be without both of their starting corners. This is a defense that ranks 10th in pressure rater per QB drop back but at the same time, gives up the most yards per carry in the NFL (5.1).

The Chargers front 7 is led by Joey Bosa, who’s earned a 78.8 PFF defensive grade (18th/109) for the 2021 season. Bosa will most likely be matched up with LT Jordan Mailata in this one.

The Eagles will look to build off last week’s matchup, when they ran the ball 46 times for 236 yards and 4 touchdowns.

With a win in this game, the Eagles could change the outlook on the season from fans and media alike.

3 Areas for the Eagles to watch

1) Can the Eagles stick to the run?

As stated, the Eagles ran the ball 46 times in last week’s matchup. The Chargers possess the 31st ranked rushing defense.

The key in last week’s game was the coaching staff identifying an area where the players could be put in advantageous situation and sticking with it.

Against one of the poorer rush defenses, the Eagles must remain balanced and avoid making themselves one dimensional.

2) Jonathan Gannon’s level of aggression as a play caller

Last week was by for the most pressure Gannon has sent all season. Against Justin Herbert, Gannon will have to utilize a similar game plan.

In the two matchups mentioned above (where Herbert struggled), both defenses utilized 3 things as the basis for their defensive calls: 1) Disguise, 2) Contain the running game, and 3) Limit the big plays down the field. This is similar to Gannon’s game plan against Jared Goff from last week but, was last week an anomaly or was it what we can expect from here on out? We will begin to get the answers this week.

Gannon will also have his hands full with the defensive coverages. Does he decide to have CB Darius Slay follow Keenan Allen or do they opt to match Slay up with Mike Williams, who leads the Chargers in yards and TD receptions?

It goes back to the offense. Running the ball matters. It keeps the explosive offense off the field and allows for the offensive line to attack and settle into games. Each piece of the team operates based off the other and both sides must hold up their end.

3) Jalen Hurts Performance

In last weeks game, Hurts only threw the ball 14 times. The offense still moved the chains and scored on the ground. Hurts executed when called upon and was able to make a few timely passes.

In this game, against a team missing it’s top two corners, there should be opportunity for not only Hurts, but the wide receivers to have much more of an impact.

Hurts has to see the field better and hang in pockets for just a slither of a second or two longer and complete passes. Hurts has bailed clean pockets and flat out not seen the field at the level needed. This is why facing the 31st ranked rushing defense is huge for the Eagles (and Hurts). The team likely won’t have to rely upon his shoulder mainly and can move the ball on the ground.

X-Factor

Josh Sweat

Sweat will be lined up against a RT that has shown to be susceptible to pressure, Storm Norton. Last week Norton graded out with a 26.6 pass blocking grade in 39 pass blocking snaps. He allowed a sack and 7 pressures (Los Angeles allowed 13 on the day).

Sweat will look to build off his 2 sack/4 pressures game against Detroit.

Sweat’s combination of quickness and power spells trouble for Norton.

Prediction

Pick: Eagles 31, Chargers 26

There is something about this game that just feels like an Eagles win. It’s a 4 o’clock home game, in a matchup that has a ton of connections

  • Nick Sirianni coached for the Chrargers from 2013-2017
  • Shane Steichen coached for the Chargers in 2 separate stints (Defensive assistant—yes you read that right—2011-2012 and offensive quality control coach/QB coach/OC from 2014-2020) and was instrumental in Justin Herbert’s development as a rookie
  • Brandon Staley and Jonathan Gannon have known each other since they were children. Gannon recommended Staley for one of his first coaching jobs. Gannon was also the best man in Staley’s wedding

But other than the superstitions, the Eagles were able to change things up and flat out wreck the opposing team last week. They worked their younger players into the game and coaching identified an advantage on both sides of the ball and attacked it relentlessly. Also, this is a good matchup for the Eagles on the offensive end. The Chargers are trending downward. I think their spiral continues and the Eagles get their first home win of 2021.

Cover Image Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Author: Pierrot Baptiste Jr.

I am the creator of The Philly Blitz and I am committed to delivering innovative and interesting coverage on both the Eagles and Sixers. Contact Information: Twitter - @pierreb3_ Email: pierrotjr3@gmail.com

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