NFL Philadelphia Eagles

5 Things Philadelphia Eagles Must Change From Week 7 to Win NFC East

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5 Things Philadelphia Eagles Must Change From Week 7 to Win NFC East

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The Philadelphia Eagles have come a long way in Chip Kelly’s first season as head coach. They’ve made believers out of many, but without a win against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, securing an NFC East division title and playoff berth, the season may not be classified a success. They will have turned around what was a disaster in 2012, but after looking at the opportunity present, it inevitably would demonstrate the inadequacies that they still possess.

In order to avoid any letdown and feeling of failure, the Eagles need to make some big adjustments to their performance from the last game, in Week 7, against Dallas. They have made great strides since then, winning six out of eight, pushing the envelope offensively and making drastic improvements defensively. Producing on the grand national stage, against their nemesis for the division title only adds to the pressure though. But it’s games like these where stars are born, where new expectations are made and where teams earn respect.

The playoffs begin a week early as far as Philadelphia is concerned. But then again, Kelly has had them playing all year in one week increments, as if that were the only game on the schedule. Making the necessary adjustments to their earlier display against the Cowboys and building on their spotlight performance from last week against the Chicago Bears, the Eagles will look to begin the new era of football in the City of Brotherly Love by establishing themselves atop the division and preparing for the playoffs. It will add more to the lore of Kelly and build a future of expectations surrounding just how good his team can become.

Bob Francis is a Philadelphia Eagles contributor for Follow him on Twitter @rfrancisjr, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google


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No. 5: DeSean Jackson Involved Early and Often

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It has been an up and down year for DeSean Jackson, albeit the best in his career. He has already eclipsed career bests in receptions and receiving yards, as well as tying his personal best touchdown mark. However, Jackson has seemed invisible in certain games, including the first time around against the Dallas Cowboys where he caught just three passes for 21 yards. DeSean looked extremely dangerous last week at times, but ended up with little to show for it, demonstrating his inconsistency. The Philadelphia Eagles will need Jackson to be a part of the offense from the start if they are to ensure a win in Dallas and an NFC East title. The Eagles are 6-2 in games where he catches a touchdown pass, so finding him often and allowing him to work himself into the game will be a necessary option for Philadelphia.

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No. 4: Pressure Kyle Orton

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Starting his first game in the NFL since 2011, when he was a Kansas City Chief, it will take time for Kyle Orton to get up to speed. The more quickly and consistently the Eagles can apply pressure in the backfield and make him uncomfortable, the better chance the defense has of being successful and leading the charge to the division title. In Week 7 against Dallas, the Eagles were only able to produce two sacks and allowed 317 passing yards. Coming off arguably their best defensive performance of the season, Philadelphia will have a ton of confidence to build on, and adding to an already improved group from the last time these teams met, forcing Orton’s hand will definitely play into the Eagles’ best interest. The pressure up front will also allow the secondary some assistance handling the strong receiving group that Dallas possesses.

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No. 3: Stop DeMarco Murray

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With Kyle Orton behind center, much of the load will be put on the back of Cowboys’ running back, DeMarco Murray, who missed the first matchup between the teams. Murray has been stellar for Dallas of late, but they have still seemed to lean more on the pass and leave him wondering what he’s done wrong. This week should be different with him bolstering much of the offensive load in Tony Romo’s absence. Orton will have less option changing plays at the line which should leave Murray easily identified. Philadelphia has allowed an average of just 75 yards on the ground in their last three matchups, including games against both Reggie Bush and Matt Forte. Holding Murray around that number and forcing Orton to beat them will surely lead to victory in the end for Philadelphia.

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No. 2: LeSean McCoy 20+ Carries

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The Philadelphia Eagles don’t lead the league in rushing for no reason. LeSean McCoy has quickly developed into the best running back in football under, head coach, Chip Kelly. The new system and options have really opened up McCoy’s game and allowed him to improvise, creating havoc for opposing defenses. With Dallas finding themselves toward the bottom in most defensive categories and surrendering nearly 130 yards per game on the ground, it would behoove the Eagles to ride their horse and let Shady carry them to the promised land. The last time the teams met, he only carried the ball 18 times. When McCoy carries the ball more than 20 times in a game, the Eagles are unbeaten at 4-0. The more McCoy has the ball in his hands, the better off Philadelphia will be.

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No. 1: The “Real” Nick Foles

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In the first real pressure game of his career, the Week 7 matchup with the Cowboys, Nick Foles seemed to crumble under the pressure. He threw for just 80 yards, in one of only two games, in 2013, he started and did not thrown a touchdown pass. The Eagles dropped a chance at sole possession of first place in that game, but have since worked themselves back to the opportunity at hand. Foles is a much different quarterback than earlier in the year, having found success, tied NFL records and proven himself under pressure. The Eagles will without a doubt need the “real” Foles to be present in Dallas and performing at top ability to lock up their first playoff berth since 2010, doing it against their divisional foe and nemesis in the process. His solid protection of the ball and capability of spreading it around to all the playmakers in Philadelphia’s offense will continue to build the success which he has become so accustomed.