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Eagles 2012: Analysis and Preview of All 16 Games

Week 1 – @ Cleveland Browns

CLE Pass Offense 2011 – 193.1 YPG (24th)

CLE Rush Offense 2011 – 95.7 YPG (28th)

CLE Total Defense 2011 – 332.4 YPG (10th)

No matter who the QB, the Eagles need to put him on his back to put the game away early.

With new 1st-round picks Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden on offense, the Browns have done a bit of improving from last-season, but not enough to justify this as a “tough game” for the Birds. All complacency aside, this team finished in the bottom 10 in all major offensive statistical categories last season and with a 4-12 record. They added a RB who is not likely to be a game-changer in Year 1 and a QB who might not even start. Weak receivers, a weak quarterback and a defense with just two possible playmakers in CB Joe Haden and MLB D’Qwell Jackson; this game looks every bit to be a great starting affair for the Eagles’ 2012 season.

X-Factor: It has got to be All-Pro RB LeSean McCoy against a 30th-ranked rush defense that has made no serious improvements or alterations.

Prediction: Eagles win 34-13

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Week 2 – vs Baltimore Ravens 

BAL Pass Offense 2011 – 213.9 YPG (19th)

BAL Rush Offense 2011 – 124.8 YPG (10th)

BAL Total Defense 2011 – 288.9 YPG (3rd)

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One of the best and most consistent defenses in the NFL for many years, the Baltimore Ravens always prove a tough team to break down and score against. The Eagles are packed from wing-to-wing with talent on offense in every position, but a match-up with the Ravens is always tough. The area where this match will be won or lost is in the Eagles defense against the Ravens offense. The running game has been the focus of old for Ravens teams in recent seasons, but their pass offense with Joe Flacco at the helm and Torrey Smith on the wing can pull out some big games on occasion (just ask the Rams and Cardinals from 2011). I see this game going down to the wire.

X-Factor: The Eagles run-defense on Ray Rice. This will likely decide the game; if DeMeco Ryans and his linebacker crew, such as Mychal Kendricks and Jamar Chaney, can halt Rice, Baltimore will be forced to go to the air where Nnamdi and DRC will have field days.

Score prediction: 24-21 Eagles

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Week 3 – @ Arizona Cardinals

ARI Pass Offense 2011 – 222.9 YPG (17th)

ARI Rush Offense 2011 – 101.6 YPG (24th)

ARI Total Defense 2011 – 355.1 YPG (18th)

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It’s quite hard to believe that this lowly Cardinals roster finished with the same record as the star-studded Eagles as well as winning their only meeting in 2011, but that’s how some seasons go. However, in the head-to-head match-up, the Eagles seem much stronger where Cardinals are weak, and seem ready to annihilate the Cards in Week 3. A poor Cardinals running game led by Beanie Wells means that the Eagles pass-rushers of Babin and Cole can focus on putting QB on his butt, and thus the wide-9 technique becomes more effective. The linebackers can contribute to defending the pass, and put the Cardinals RBs on a ‘loose leash’. I have the Eagles avenging their loss to Arizona last season and taking this away game comfortably.

X-Factor: Nnamdi Asomugha on Larry Fitzgerald, two superstars of the NFL’s last decade. The player that gets the upper-hand in this match-up will likely give his team a large advantage.

Score prediction: 28-7 Eagles win.

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Week 4 – vs New York Giants

NYG Pass Offense 2011 – 295.9 YPG (5th)

NYG Rush Offense 2011 – 89.2 YPG (2nd)

NYG Total Defense 2011 – 376.4 YPG (27th)

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Super Bowl XLVI champions. Worst rushing team in the league, bottom 5 in total defense, and nothing spectacular with a record of 9-7. What did this Giants team do to deserve the title? They played big when it mattered, it’s as simple as that. However, despite this being a relatively big game (as all division clashes are), I see the Giants failing to produce a result here. The Eagles will be vengeful and angry; no team likes to see their most bitter rivals win the Super Bowl. The draft addition of David Wilson does NOT add any sort of legitimate fear of a rushing attack in this Giants team, and with some more familiarity between the Eagles cornerbacks and their scheme this offseason; the Eagles should be able to stop Eli Manning and say “Welcome back to Philly” with a good win and the fourth in a row.

X-Factor: McCoy, Jackson, Vick, Maclin, Celek. The five Eagles playmakers on offense will be looking to give this Giants defense, that in all honesty does not look like a Championship-caliber unit, a huge run-over in this rivalry clash.

Score Prediction – Eagles win tough one, 23-15, opening the season 4-0.

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Week 5 – @ Pittsburgh Steelers 

PIT Pass Offense 2011 – 253.4 YPG (10th)

PIT Rush Offense 2011 – 118.9 YPG (14th)

PIT Total Defense 2011 – 271.8 YPG (1st)

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are a great football team; they are very consistent, talented and even rival the Eagles in fan pride. Their defense, led by safety Troy Polamalu and LBs LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison, is the most physical, tough and most likely still the best in the business. The Eagles have a great offense to match, but playing at a hostile venue like Heinz Field against unrelenting tacklers and blockers would affect even the best NFL athletes. The Steelers offense is on the rise, with “Big Ben” Roethlisberger receiving some protection help in the NFL Draft, and with weapons like Rashard Mendenhall, Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace (if he re-signs with the team), and could be a difficult force to stop. Vick will see pressure all night and DeSean Jackson will be harassed all night, so I see a tough first loss even with a great effort on defense.

X-Factor: Michael Vick could break the Eagles’ season in this game. If Vick is going to get injured in one game this coming season, here is where he would most likely go down. Harrison, Woodley and Polamalu would be more-than-willing to lay out Vick multiple times, especially if he strays out of the pocket. He’ll need to play safe, while trying his utmost to use his arm to guide the Eagles to a huge victory in this one.

Score Prediction – Steelers snap an Eagles four-game win streak in a low-scoring affair, 18-10.

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Week 6 – vs Detroit Lions

DET Pass Offense 2011 – 300.9 YPG (4th)

DET Rush Offense 2011 – 95.2 YPG (29th)

DET Total Defense 2011 – 367.6 YPG (23rd)

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A mean defensive line led by DT Ndamukong Suh, the best wide receiver in the league, Calvin Johnson, a top ten quarterback, and a great “value draft” for the Lions are evidence that this 10-6 squad from last year is ready to make noise once again. This gritty, blow-by-blow offensive match-up can be expected to be a superb, entertaining game of football. It comes down to how the Eagles can stop Calvin Johnson, and how the Lions can hold down LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. Simply, whichever team’s playmakers can fire on all cylinders takes a great advantage in this match.

X-Factor: As I have stated, the team playmakers on offense. Johnson for the Lions; and Jackson and McCoy for the Eagles. Whoever gets hot gets the win for their team. I pick Shady to run for 120+ and run the Lions into the ground.

Score Prediction – Eagles recover from the Steelers loss with a 26-14 win.

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Week 7 – BYE 

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Week 8 – vs Atlanta Falcons

ATL Pass Offense 2011 – 262.0 YPG (8th)

ATL Rush Offense 2011 – 114.6 YPG (17th)

ATL Total Defense 2011 – 333.6 YPG (12th)

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This Falcons team hasn’t really lost any stars from 2011, but have gained a few on defense with the additions of veteran MLB Lofa Tatupu and our own former cornerback Asante Samuel. A team that is growing in confidence and talent each year, this Falcons team is forming its own dynasty, even with struggles in the playoffs. This game will be a challenge for the Eagles team. Falcons running back Michael Turner is a great dual-threat back that is hard to keep quiet, and WRs Julio Jones and Roddy White are one of the better duos in this league up there along with Maclin and Jackson. The Eagles’ lost last year’s contest, 35-32, after a disheartening fourth-quarter collapse following Vick’s injury.

X-Factor: The battle in the trenches. With two strong pass-rushing teams in the Falcons and Eagles, their offensive lines will need to work hard to protect their QBs and get some offensive rhythm. I see Babin, Cole and Fletcher Cox lighting up the sack-count and guiding the Eagles to another win here.

Score Prediction – Eagles take it in a close one and win, 22-16

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Week 9: @ New Orleans Saints 

NO Pass Offense 2011 – 334.2 YPG (1st)

NO Rush Offense 2011 – 132.9 YPG (6th)

NO Total Defense 2011 – 368.4 YPG (24th)

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With the best passing offense in the NFL, the New Orleans Saints are a tough team to slow down. They run an effective running back committee with Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram all getting carries throughout the season; they each have different styles that can wear out a defense. They’ve cushioned the blow of losing superstar OG Carl Nicks by adding Ben Grubbs from Baltimore, and their linebacker additions of David Hawthorne and Curtis Lofton will help the Saints improve their lackluster defense as well. In the Superdome, it is rare for Drew Brees to be off his game, and it will be tough to get the Eagles’ running game hot with the new, improved Saints linebackers.

If the Eagles are going to win this game, they need to do two key things: First, they need to get the ball in the hands of DeSean Jackson and put him in positions to make big plays often and early. The Saints pass D may just be their fatal flaw in 2012, and with WRs like D-Jack, Maclin and legitimate receiving threat Brent Celek, the Eagles need to send passing statements early while using LeSean McCoy as a change of pace rusher.

Secondly, the Eagles must get to Drew Brees, hard and fast. With sack machines Trent Cole and Jason Babin on the defensive line for the Eagles, this is very possible. Exotic, aggressive blitzing plans from Jim Washburn and the Eagles LB coaches would put the Eagles in great position to win this match.

X-Factor: The Eagles passing offense. Need the ball in the hands of the playmakers early and often.

Score Prediction – Unfortunately, the Saints are too consistent and strong on offense. The Eagles go down at the Superdome despite a valiant offensive effort, 34-24.

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Week 10 – vs Dallas Cowboys

DAL Pass Offense 2011 – 262.6 YPG (7th)

DAL Rush Offense 2011 – 112.9 YPG (18th)

DAL Total Defense 2011 – 343.2 YPG (14th)

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The Dallas Cowboys had a need: some form of secondary help. Their way of addressing it? Going out in free agency and the draft to get the best player possible. The additions of CBs Morris Claiborne, an LSU product, and Brandon Carr from Kansas City give this Cowboys team a huge boost in terms of hanging with Philadelphia. However, their offensive line is still a weak-point, with the loss of several starters there. I see Tony Romo ending up on his butt quite a bit in this one, and unless Sean Lee plays the best game of his life, the Eagles should be able to run their ball just like they did last year in Week 8 of 2011; McCoy had 182 yards and 2 scores in that contest against Dallas.

The Eagles secondary is also looking much more intact and ready than last year, which spells D-O-O-M for a corps missing last year’s star Laurent Robinson; Austin and Bryant will have a tough time shaking Philly’s corners.

X-Factor: The new-and-improved Cowboys secondary against the stacked talent at wide receiver for the Eagles. It will be a big battle on that side of the ball.

Score Prediction – Eagles win, 29-18, thanks to Shady and Babin

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Week 11 – @ Washington Redskins

WAS Pass Offense 2011 – 235.8 YPG (14th)

WAS Rush Offense 2011 – 100.9 YPG (25th)

WAS Total Defense 2011 – 339.8 YPG (13th)

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There aren’t a lot of Quarterbacks in the NFL who you can expect success from with a poor receiving crew. The #2 selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, Robert Griffin III, is NOT one of those QBs. Pierre Garcon is a decent addition, but Leonard Hankerson is still inexperienced and unproven and Santana Moss isn’t scaring anyone. To be honest, it would probably take a second-round pick on a WR in next year’s draft to give RGIII tools to re-build a lowly franchise and a big year from Roy Helu and/or Evan Royster.

With a certain Michael Vick already on their team, the Eagles defense will be well-prepared for this other dual-threat QB come Week 11. I expect this Redskins defense to be a tidy, solid top-10 unit this coming season, with their secondary, linebackers AND defensive line all containing some very talented football players. S

So, in essence, I don’t see Kurt Coleman picking Griffin off three times or LeSean McCoy carving up this talented Redskins defense, but I see the Eagles shutting down RGIII enough to keep this a low-scoring, winnable game.

X-Factor: I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it enough, but Robert Griffin III is a HUGE factor. By this match in Week 11, NFL fans will know what he’s about; but whatever he produces in the first 10 weeks, he’s going to need to improve on to beat this Eagles team.

Score Prediction – A low-scoring, sloppy game of football, falls to the Eagles with a 14-10 win.

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Week 12 – vs Carolina Panthers    

CAR Pass Offense 2011 – 239.3 YPG (13th)

CAR Rush Offense 2011 – 150.5 YPG (3rd)

CAR Total Defense 2011 – 377.6 YPG (28th)

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Going from one young, athletic quarterback to another, the Philadelphia Eagles come back home to face Cam Newton, Steve Smith and the re-invigorated Carolina Panthers. You can expect a stronger defensive Panthers team in 2012, especially with the drafting of pro-ready MLB Luke Kuechly. They already have the experience of Pro-Bowler Jon Beason and pick-happy corner Chris Gamble contributing to their development; a weak defensive line, however, could be one issue the Eagles need to exploit.

As Newton develops through his career, this team will improve on the 6-10 record that it held last season. I do, however, see the Eagles taking this game on the fact that this offense can be relatively one-dimensional, and that is the link-up between Cam Newton and Steve Smith, which really defined the Panthers last season. With an improved defense and an explosive rushing games (at times) this team will certainly compete in 2012, but with Nnamdi Asomugha on Steve Smith, the dynamic Eagles pass-rush against a fragile, weaker Panthers O-line, the Eagles really look like a team which the Panthers will struggle against.

X-Factor: How well Nnamdi can cover Steve Smith. Shut him down, and Newton gets lost for options for the whole game. Give Smith open looks, and he’ll punish you and score against you.

Score Prediction – Eagles win this one, 32-12

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Week 13 – @ Dallas Cowboys

DAL Pass Offense 2011 – 262.6 YPG (7th)

DAL Rush Offense 2011 – 112.9 YPG (18th)

DAL Total Defense 2011 – 343.2 YPG (14th)

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This game versus the Cowboys seems like a necessary bump in the road. In the Eagles first ‘thrashing’ of the season, the Cowboys plan for DeSean Jackson’s speed, setting the safeties deeper or double-teaming him after getting burned in Week 10. They give their intelligent linebackers roaming ability around the second-level to watch LeSean McCoy while getting ready for the Eagles’ 3rd/4th-string WRs. Meanwhile, QB Tony Romo and RB DeMarco Murray work in tandem to break down the Eagles’ defense and at the same time break the Eagles’ win streak. The Cowboys take this game, with linebackers Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans feeling the pressure of a Philadelphia fan-base for the first time.

X-Factor: The Eagles’ chances in this game come on the ground. LeSean McCoy ripped up the Cowboys’ strong run defence last year in one game with 185 yards and 2 TDs. If he can get going in this Week 13 clash, I think the Eagles can salvage a win.

Score Prediction – Cowboys surprise the league and get a big win, 35-10.

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Week 14 – @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers    

TB Pass Offense 2011 – 228.1 YPG (16th)

TB Rush Offense 2011 – 91.1 YPG (30th)

TB Total Defense 2011 – 394.4 YPG (30th)

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With the selection of a safety with the 7th-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Mark Barron, the Buccaneers have made a decisive and tale-telling call: Their season really hangs in the balance of their defensive performances. Evan with an improved offense with additions of WR Vincent Jackson, LG Carl Nicks and the development of QB Josh Freeman, their defense will be the defining factor against for nearly every game. Against such a strong Eagles’ pass offense, I couldn’t really formulate a reason for the Bucs to win here. Home-field advantage doesn’t really compensate for DeSean Jackson’s speed or LeSean McCoy’s agility; Barron is still a rookie, after all, and their only real tackler is second-year linebacker Mason Foster.

X-Factor: The Buccaneers defense, 30th in the NFL last season, with the addition of a rookie free safety and 2nd-string Cornerback for 2012. They’ll need to pull off a miracle to hold the talented Eagles offense.

Score Prediction – The Eagles get their largest score of the season, with a win here 41-23.

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Week 15 – vs Cincinnati Bengals

CIN Pass Offense 2011 – 208.8 YPG (20th)

CIN Rush Offense 2011 – 111.1 YPG (19th)

CIN Total Defense 2011 – 316.2 YPG (7th)

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The Bengals surprised many when they battled through the 2011 season to finish with a respectable 9-7 record. In a division with two AFC powerhouses in Pittsburgh and Baltimore, the post-season will always be a tough ask for the Orange and Black (and no, not the Flyers). However, a great draft, some key free agent additions and the development of 2nd-year QB Andy Dalton and 2nd-year WR AJ Green have given the franchise a great foundation to build on in the future.

The Bengals passing offense, featuring Green, Jerome Simpson, and new draft selection Mohamed Sanu will be potent, but their rushing game will as listless as ever even with The Law Firm. The defense took huge strides in 2012, and the defense might be able to contain the Eagles’ playmakers for much of the game, but it seems a lost cause for Cincinnati.

X-Factor: The Eagles pass-rushing. A weak Bengals O-line, and a pretty quiet run game despite the addition of BenJarvus Green-Ellis mean that the Eagles linebackers and defensive-line can focus on getting to the QB and picking up some sacks.

Score Prediction – Eagles are too good for the re-building Bengals and take this game, 28-21.

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Week 16 – vs Washington Redskins

WAS Pass Offense 2011 – 235.8 YPG (14th)

WAS Rush Offense 2011 – 100.9 YPG (25th)

WAS Total Defense 2011 – 339.8 YPG (13th)

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Come this game in Week 16, Robert Griffin III’s rookie season will be coming to a close. The fans will know how well he’s played, and how well he has lived up to the hype. I think that the Redskins will again be the bottom of the NFC East, but with an improved record from 2011’s 5-11 season. After realizing, following their Week 11 clash with the ‘Skins, that Griffin is only human and only a rookie, they’ll settle down for this clash and focus on their own offense against a tough Redskins defense. The Eagles score a few more points than in Week 11 as home-field advantage works its magic.

X-Factor: The aggression and mindset of the Eagles offense. I expect an attacking, “go-go-go” type approach where they look for DeSean Jackson early and often, and LeSean McCoy has one of the top games of his season.

Score Prediction – Eagles win it, 24-7

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Week 17 – @ New York Giants

NYG Pass Offense 2011 – 295.9 YPG (5th)

NYG Rush Offense 2011 – 89.2 YPG (2nd)

NYG Total Defense 2011 – 376.4 YPG (27th)

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In a superb, entertaining match that would be fit for an NFC Championship, these teams will be fighting for different situations. With the Eagles at 12-3, they’ll be pushing for a 1st-round bye, but the Giants will be playing for the Wild Card and be spurred on by their home fans who yearn for a 3rd Super Bowl in six years.

The Giants will step up, particularly Manning and the passing game, and the Eagles will fight back equally as hard for the first 3 quarters. I see the game tied after 3, but then in the 4th quarter “Playoff Eli” steps out onto the field. He and Vick go toe-to-toe, but a touchdown to Victor Cruz wins the game and is a sour end for an otherwise good season for cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

X-Factor: Basically..everything. The entertainment of this game will be once-in-a-decade. The high-scoring, fast-paced nature of the game will be one to remember.

Score Prediction – The Giants win in the final drive, 36-29.

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Final Record: Philadelphia Eagles (12-4 overall, 4-2 NFC East)

So there you have it guys, thanks for reading my debut article on Khandyman.com! Hope you enjoyed it. Please do comment with your opinion and analysis of your own!

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Categories: Eagles, Editorial

Author:Will Eddowes

20 y.o Kiwi. Passionate about the NFL, both on the field & in the front office. Budding scout & salary cap analyst - Law and economics student at VUW - Also write for http://Overthecap.com.

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4 Comments on “Eagles 2012: Analysis and Preview of All 16 Games”

  1. Will Eddowes
    May 22, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Yeah, I felt too optimistic while writing it. But, to be honest most of these results seem pretty fair. Losing to Saints, Steelers, Cowboys once and Giants once. What other games do you think we’ll lose? A few are about 50-50.

  2. May 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    Really liked it, sounds about right but we can only hope for the Eagles to be consistant, like how they played the last four games of the 2011-12 season. I think we’ll snag one over the Saints because of Vilma and Sean Payton out for the year but I think we’ll lose against the Ravens. They’ll force us to make turnovers with their great defense.

  3. May 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    i like it but it does seem a little to optimistic

  4. Daniel Smith
    May 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    No possible way on this planet the eagles go 12-4. You are dilusional

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