As I noted earlier this week, the Eagles defense didn’t play particularly well against the Raiders on Sunday. It didn’t matter because everyone was caught up in Nick Foles’ performance, but it’s not something that should be overlooked.
In that game, they gave up 560 yards of offense. We know their secondary was going to have issues coming into the season. They have struggled. They rank dead last in opposing passing yards per game, more or less right where I had them pegged before the season started. Thanks for posting my confidence, you guys!
Anyway, over the last few weeks, the run defense has actually looked pretty good. DeMeco Ryans has looked pretty solid and their young defensive front has been improving. Against the Raiders, they gave up over 200 yards and Darren McFadden only had five carries. The number may be inflated a bit due to Terrelle Pryror, but Rashad Jennings racked up over 100 yards on just 15 carries.
Come Sunday, they’ll be matched up against another mobile quarterback, but Seneca Wallace isn’t who scares me. The one who scares me is Eddie Lacy, the Green Bay running back who has been one of the best backs in the league in recent weeks. The rookie has averaged 105 yards per game in his last five games and is coming off a 150 yard showing against the Bears.
Without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers will look to take pressure off Wallace by feeding Lacy and getting the run game started early. The Packs second round pick is sure to get his share of carries on Sunday and it’ll be a long afternoon if the Eagles can’t slow down the Alabama product.
If the Eagles are going to be able to shut down Lacy, they’re going to need to crowd the box with their front seven and have their safeties ready to make plays at the line of scrimmage. I’ll be looking for the young defensive lineman to eat up blocks and for the linebackers to step up into the gaps. I think Ryans will need to play like he has recently and make tackles all over the field.
Lacy is an extremely talented back. He has good speed but is a bull of a runner. He isn’t the type of runner that is easy to bring down alone, so the entire defensive unit is going to need to hustle all game and get to the ball. It’s going to need to be a group effort with the defense gang tackling all game.
If the Packers are going to have success on Sunday, the Eagles will need to force Wallace to try to beat them with his arm. They can’t let Lacy roll tide all game or they’re going to be in trouble.