We have all been there, and on this exact road, driving along in our automobile 🎶🎶… And the PA turnpike is either a terrific marvel for transportation or a tube of turmoil that seems to never end. This Sunday our birds will take the ride about 4.5-5 hrs on the turnpike to Pittsburgh & face off against our interstate rival. I’ll give my reasons why and how the Eagles “can make great time” on the road trip or how it could lead to the “2 flat tire, car overheating” worst road trip evaaaa!!!
While the Eagles and Steelers in modern day schedules, very rarely face each other, there are some gems to remember when it comes to the history of these two teams.
In 1943 the two teams combined to make up the “Steagles” during World War 2, due to declining numbers for both teams. Technically according to the NFL they were never known as the “Steagles” but the “Phil-Pitt Combine” team. They combined for a lackluster 5-4-1 record and went off quietly into the night of NFL history.
Carson started his career off by facing the Steelers in game 3 of the 2016 season. Carson hit the ground running and lit up the Steelers with a huge 34-3 victory going 23-31 2TDs 301 yds & a 125.9 QBR at the age of 23. (seems like a decade ago) And as far as all time records go, the Eagles are 47-27-3 all time vs the “Stillers”.
How the Eagles can have an easy ride
The eagles must and need to play consistent, mistake-free football in all 3 facets of the game this week. The defense is where it all starts, must do what they were clearly built for. STOP 🛑 THE RUN!!! I mean the Steelers couldn’t be a better team in regards to strengths for the Eagles defense to face. The Birds are built up front to cause havoc and stonewall any run attempts and that’s exactly what Pittsburgh does to establish drives. Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Brandon Graham and company should be licking their chops for a game like this. The Eagles cannot allow James Conner & Benny Snell to establish anything early because that could lead to a long day and I’ll explain that later. Big Ben is a sloppy, refrigerator-esquire built, beer softball league guy, who somehow never goes down and can throw better passes stumbling to his right then some who have ever played the game. Stop the run, keep Ben in the pocket to stop the Steelers from getting in the end zone.
Special teams need to be Special. Special in the way of no breakdowns on punts and FGs that could cause turnovers and shift the field position battle. Jake Elliot will be vital and Doug needs to let Jake be Jake. That means LET HIM KICK THE DAMN BALL!! Jake Elliot has bailed the Eagles out more then he has let them down, Doug needs to remember that early on and especially late in the game if it is close.
This will be the exact opposite of what most scream at Doug to do, but I want Carson to throw. Wait what? Yup throw, throw all day. Short quick hitting passes, bubble screens, slants, stick routes, RB swing passes and screens throw them all. This all of course is dependent on Carson not “burping the baby” (holding & patting the ball) while in the pocket. The Steelers can be worn down with a hurry up style of pass play, gaining a lead then wearing them down with the run game to close it out. Since Carson barely knows who he is throwing to at this point, I suggest he takes the mindset of someone at a speed dating event, get in and get out. Look for Greg Ward & Zac Ertz to have big games if all goes well. If the Eagles are able to play the game and control it as I have described, I see a huge 31-17 Victoy with a smooth ride home.
Crazy prediction: JJ Arcega-Whiteside gets into end zone.
How it becomes a road trip from hell
This is the long way home, when you’re stuck on the PA Turnpike, the snacks are low and agitation is high. Hopefully it doesn’t come to this for our Eagles but here is how it could be a road trip from hell.
Pittsburgh stays hot on defense, only one team has more sacks in the NFL right now then the Eagles, That’s the Steelers. They take advantage of the duct tape, patchwork Offensive line the Eagles have been rolling out and they cause havoc. The also put so much pressure on Carson and it leads to sacks, fumbles and INTs, the tri-fecta nightmare for a QB.
The Eagles defense plays lazy. Yes I said lazy, and I mean not finishing tackles especially on Big Ben. If you have a chance to put him down, then bury him. If not, as I said earlier, he can throw on the run better then most who have ver played. This also applies on not finishing tackles for Conner or Snell and can be just as deadly.
Doug gets “Cute” Sadly, we all know what that means. Doug decides to go for it on 4th down, when they could attempt a long FG and it blows up in his face and that leads to Steelers points. Doug needs to find a gadget play for this week and know when to use it. That is the difference in being a “crafty coach” or getting caught “being cute”. If it all goes sideways and turns to crap, I could see a stifling 28-10 loss.
Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
The reason why I gave the two possible endings, is to put it simply.. This Eagles team is the definition of a “Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde” team in the NFL. The hard numbers would lean to a very close 26-20 Steelers victory, but numbers don’t strap up to play on Sunday. The Eagles need to keep up the calm consistency like Dr Jekyll and harness all of the rage and madness that comes with Mr Hyde to tear up the Steelers this Sunday!