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Eagles, Let’s Show Them Who’s Boss

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11 months ago Jonathan Gannon almost solidified his place in Eagles history and fan base. The much-criticized defensive coordinator was caught on camera driving into Lincoln Financial Field on the morning of the NFC Championship Game telling fans, “we’re going to gut these guys.”

And that’s exactly what they did. The Eagles defense rose to the occasion that morning, knocking Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson out of the game. With one line and one game, Gannon turned his image around. Unfortunately, it was not to last.

Gutting and Stomping

Back in 2005 at Football Outsiders, Aaron Schatz introduced the idea of “guts and stomps”, where great teams tend to play good teams close (guts) and blow out bad teams (stomps). Schatz found that Super Bowl teams tended to have a high number of stomps, emphasizing the importance of point differential. This was evident in the Eagles’ performance last season, where they blew out the Giants, Vikings, Commanders, Steelers, and the Titans, resulting in the firing of their GM. Additionally, they had close games against the Chiefs, Cowboys, Jaguars, and Lions, all of which had winning records.

This year, the Eagles have had close games against good teams during their three-game win streak against the Cowboys, Chiefs, and Bills. However, they haven’t had any blowout wins this season, and their largest margin of victory was against the Dolphins, which was a 7-point game with 5 minutes to go, and the Buccaneers, a game where they scored only two touchdowns. They have a worse point differential than the 7-8 Saints and haven’t had a game that was over at half-time.

The team desperately needs a decisive win, particularly against the Cardinals this week. Despite Kyler Murray’s return at QB, the Cardinals have suffered blowout losses to the Rams and 49ers. They have given up over 400 yards in four of their last five games and have scored 16 or fewer points in three of their last five. They are vulnerable and a blowout win would provide a much-needed momentum shift for the Eagles to end the year with a positive note.

Could it be too much to ask for this to be against Jonathan Gannon’s defense?

It Could Always Be Worse

As frustrating as this season has been, a quick glance around the league shows that the Eagles have it relatively good.

The Washington Football Team Commanders benched Sam Howell, who may be starting on Sunday due to Jacoby Brissett’s questionable status with a hamstring injury.

The Russell Wilson-Sean Payton marriage has already ended and the Broncos will have an excessive $85 million in cap space due to the release of Wilson.

Joe Flacco could win a playoff game for the Browns (if the playoffs started next week they’d play the Jaguars), and then not be on the team next year as they have to give Deshaun Watson the starting job.

Brock Purdy was cleared to return in his disastrous game against the Ravens, but Kyle Shanahan chose not to put him back in, raising some eyebrows considering he kept all his star players in the game in the fourth quarter.\

While things haven’t been smooth for the Eagles this year, it’s clear that their concerns pale in comparison to other teams around the league.

Play with Fire

In a lighter note, the offensive linemen exchanged gifts this week. Cam Jurgens received a flamethrower, which he described as similar to something out of “Ghostbusters”.

Jurgens said, “It’s huge. It’s on a backpack. It’s kind of like friggin’ Ghostbusters.”

Center Jason Kelce mentioned on his “New Heights” podcast that it can shoot flames up to 150 feet.

Jurgens has to come out in player introductions with it, and the fine from the league will be worth it. Just do it.

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