Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy will have his hands full against a decent Detroit Lions defense on Sunday. The Lions defenders are giving up just over 100 yards on the game on the season (102.8, to be exact). Those stats, however, have come against some of the NFL’s elite running backs: Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson. Holding that group of backs to right around 100 yards is a pretty impressive feat.
On the season, McCoy has 97 attempts for 437 yards, putting him 6th in the league in rushing through 5 weeks. Despite his incredible elusiveness, McCoy is exponentially more effective when he gets the ball more than 20 times per game. Head Coach Andy Reid gave the New York Giants a healthy dose of Shady in the 2nd half a few weeks ago, and the All Pro running back racked up 121 of his 123 yards during that time.
McCoy is a runner that needs to get in a rhythm. His style requires him to get a feel for how the defense is playing him, and subsequently, where his cutback lanes will be. That was all too evident against the Giants, as they simply couldn’t keep weak side contain, and McCoy made them pay.
The Eagles need to focus on running the ball in order to control the clock, get their offense in a rhythm and get McCoy rolling early. Doing so will force the Lions to respect the run which, in turn, will take some of the pressure off of Michael Vick and allow him an extra second or two to move through his progressions more easily to find the open receiver.
Considering the injuries to the group, the Eagles offensive line has played adequately thus far in 2012, especially at staying on their blocks to allow McCoy cutback opportunities. Shady is the epitome of a running back that could break out at any time, and if the Eagles give him the requisite carries against Detroit, that will happen on Sunday. Heck, it may even happen despite the amount of carries he receives.