With such an important game getting flexed to tomorrow night, we took some time to exchange a Q&A with Brandon Gowton from our friendly neighbors to the east, Bleeding Green Nation. You can follow Brandon on twitter, @BrandonGowton, and you can find our answers to his questions RIGHT OVER HERE.
1. After a (1-3) start, the Eagles find themselves sitting at 8-6 atop the NFC East. If you had to pick a thing, what thing is most responsible for that?
The biggest reason is Chip Kelly. The Eagles offense is definitely the strength of the team and he plays a big part in that success. A number of players are on pace for career years with this offense. DeSean Jackson isn't just a deep threat anymore. He's catching balls all over the place and out of the backfield. Riley Cooper transformed from a fourth or fifth string receiver to a legitimate second receiving option. LeSean McCoy's star talent is being maximized. He's the league's leading rusher. Kelly has second year QB Nick Foles playing extremely well. All of these players deserve credit for executing their parts, of course, but the onus is on Kelly.
On the other side of the ball, the defense has been largely solid. Prior the Vikings loss, the Eagles' defense had gone nine straight weeks allowing 21 points or less. They're not a top defensive unit by any means but they were playing to the best of their ability and keeping the game within reach. Credit to defensive coordinator Bill Davis for making the most out of a unit that lacks ideal talent.
2. Nick Foles is putting up big kid numbers now - do Eagles fans feel they have stability at the position now, or does he have limitations that leave you wanting?
I'd say most Eagles fans feel there's stability at quarterback with Nick Foles taking over. He's having a great season. There are definitely still some limitations that need to be ironed out. His accuracy needs to improve because there are still too many (easy) plays being left on the field. The postives have far outweighed the negatives though. He hasn't been turning the ball over and he's making plays through the air. Most importantly, the Eagles have been winning with him at the reigns.
3. The Eagles defense, like the Bears defense, does not rank particularly high. What are the pain points on the Eagles defense, so Bears know where to hope the yards come from?
The biggest vulnerability is the Eagles' secondary. This unit particularly struggled last week against the Vikings' passing attack and was a big reason the team surrended 48 points. That's obviously a big mismatch with Chicago's fearsome receiving duo of Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall coming to town. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher are probably going to give up a lot of yards.
4. I thought the Chip Kelly hire was a good one for the Eagles, because it was going to bring them a dynamic that doesn't really exist in the NFC East otherwise. As his first season draws to a close, how are you feeling about the hire?
To this point it's really hard not to be satisfied with Kelly's first year. He's definitely exceeded expectations. Philadelphia has a real shot to win the NFC East and host a home playoff game. Nick Foles looks like he could be the answer at quarterback. These possibilities were far from sure bets heading into this year. It's nice to see because I was behind the Kelly hire from day one. He was the guy that made the most sense for the Eagles, as I saw it. The past few years of an expiring Andy Reid era felt the team was in a decline, and it now feels like the Eagles are trending upwards with Kelly at the helm.
5. This question is a 3-parter:
a. Score Prediction? 42-38, Eagles win
b. I'm setting the over/under for LeSean McCoy rushing yards at 157.5. You're going to take the over, right? Easily taking the over.
c. Seriously, LOL @ Romo, right? 'Tis the reason for the season. :)
A big thanks to Brandon, and here's looking to an opportunity for a rematch in January!