After the beating the Philadelphia Eagles received from the Green Bay Packers last Sunday, the Titans are the sort of opponent the Birds hoped to see. It’s no secret that 2-8 Tennessee isn’t a very good team. 7-3 Philadelphia should beat them handily. They need to get another win in the books to fully shake off what happened in Green Bay, and then focus all attention on their next task: Beating the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.
But there is another game to be played between now and then. Offensively, there is no comparison between the teams. The Eagles average 406.8 yards per game, fourth best in the league, while the Titans put up almost 100 yards less with 309 per game. There’s only one team in the league worse than that, and it’s the Oakland Raiders. Tennessee puts up just 16.8 points per game, as opposed to the Eagles’ 29.9 points.
The Eagles will face Zach Mettenberger, the Titans’ third signal caller this season. The rookie is completing almost 62% of his passes and has 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The most targeted receiver on the squad is Kendall Wright, who has 43 catches for 473 yards. However, tight end Delanie Walker tops Tennessee with 512 receiving yards. The likes of Connor Barwin and Vinny Curry will bring the pass rush, which should be too much for Mettenberger and the Tennessee offense to bear.
In the running game, rookie Bishop Sankey is the go-to man. Though averaging just 3.5 YPC, he’s rushed for least 50 yards on the ground in four of their last five games. Bennie Logan, Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton will continue to be strong defenders against the ground attack.
Defensively, the matchup is far more comparable between the teams, much to Philadelphia’s chagrin. Tennessee is ranked 21st in the league overall, allowing 370 yards by opponents, while the Eagles have an even worse 26th defense overall, allowing 378 yards each game. The Titans are decent against the passing attack, ranked 9th in the league. And that’s not just on paper: Tennessee can and will bring the pressure, so Sanchez must adjust accordingly.
In the ground attack, the only team with a run defense worse than the Titans are the Giants (ha!). Much of the season has been filled with statements like, “the Eagles have got to get LeSean McCoy going. This team isn’t very good against the run, surely he’ll gain traction.” And yet, it rarely happens. Shady said this week that, “ I feel like we’re almost there.” Well, if you are, then a fine time to debut the fully completed feat would be against the 31st run defense in the league. Currently averaging a meager 3.7 YPC, no one knows better than McCoy that he is long overdue for a breakout performance.
The Eagles should handily come out the victors in this contest, unless, of course, they beat themselves. Which they’ve come close to doing far too many times this season. Philadelphia is currently in sole possession of a title that no one wants – they lead the league in giveaways with 25. The number for the entire 2013 season was 19. The Birds must stop giving away the ball in order to have the best chance to win.
Tennessee comes to Philadelphia facing a home team eager to put the humiliation of a game gone awry out of the minds and memories of the itself and its fans. They want momentum heading into their huge contest with the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, and they want to show that they can fire on all cylinders even with injuries taking their toll. Prediction: Eagles 34, Titans 20