The question that everyone is waiting to get answered is can Nick Foles lead this team into the postseason by clinching home-field advantage and a first-round bye?
Winning two of the final three games will give the Eagles both home field and the bye. Also, an Eagles win and a Vikings loss this weekend would accomplish both of those goals, as well.
And I am confident in Foles' ability to lead this team. His challenge will be to get the ball to his playmakers. This is the difference between Foles and Carson Wentz. Wentz is the playmaker. Foles has to be the facilitator for the playmakers. Our expectations for Foles have to be focused on just that — a facilitator.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has lost his best offensive playmaker, but he believes in his new starting QB's ability to throw the ball. In fact, I see the Eagles’ offense throwing more because of the trust Pederson has in his veteran QB. So, I know everyone is dead set on the Birds running, but I would put money on Pederson's run-to-pass ratio being 2-to-1 in favor of passing.
There are playmakers everywhere in this offense on which Foles can rely:
• Alshon Jeffrey — 50/50 ball, red-zone threat.
• Nelson Agholor — slot WR and explosive player.
• Zach Ertz — red-zone threat and more than likely Foles' security blanket to pick up first downs.
• Corey Clement — screen game and red-zone threat.
But more importantly, the other phases of the team will have to adjust to Wentz's absence.
The defense may have to play more reps throughout the course of a game. Wentz was unbelievable at extending drives with his scrambling and picking up the first down. At times, picking up the first down on a 3rd-and-8 was as easy as 3rd-and-2 to this offense.
So, how aggressive will the Eagles be in 3rd-and-longs? It is a little easier to be aggressive with Wentz at the helm, which means, the defense will have to step up. There will be more reps for the defense during games. It may be up to 10 more plays for this defense in a game. That’s 10 more opportunities the opposing QBs will have to execute with their offense.
Coach Dave Fipp will also need to get his special teams back on track after struggling in punt protect against the Rams last week. Having a punt blocked and allowing good returns for the better part of the last few games forced the Eagles to bring back special teams guru Bryan Braman.