The Eagles have seen two very good running backs the last two weeks in Frank Gore and Michael Turner. Against Gore, they held him to 52 yards rushing and kept Turner to just 45 yards on the ground last week. However, the Eagles will see arguably the best running back in the NFL this Sunday in Chris Johnson.
Through the Titans first six games, they have won the four games that Johnson has gone over 100 yards and lost the two games that he hasn’t. So what’s the key to success on Sunday? Keep Johnson under 100 yards.
With the recent success against the run, it seems like the Eagles might be able to complete the feat. The bad news is that it’s not going to be that easy.
Johnson has the knack for making big plays, and in all the games that he’s gone for over 100 yards, he’s had a rush of at least 35 yards. Also, there have been games where teams have slowed Johnson early, but not for the entire game. The Titans will continue to give Johnson carries, even if he’s not finding a lot of success in the beginning of the game. In a lot of these situations, Johnson was eventually able to find success.
Vince Young hasn’t thrown for more than 173 yards in a game this season, and a lot of that has to do with how heavily they rely on Johnson. If the Eagles want to have success against the Titans this week, it’s going to start with shutting down Johnson.
To do this, the Eagles front seven is going to have to continuing playing like they have in the last two games. The tackles will have to get a good push up front, and the ends will need to contain Johnson from breaking anything big around the outside.
If the line does their job, the linebackers should be able to step up and fill the hole before Johnson can get through and make a play. Our linebackers are known for being a bit undersized, but the speed they have should come up big against the Titans explosive running back.
At the end of the day, the Eagles can still win if Johnson goes over 100 yards. However, they should have a much greater advantage if they’re able to keep him in check throughout the course of the game.