The Philadelphia Eagles defense has been a pretty inconsistent unit this year. One week, they’re causing turnovers and getting after the quarterback, the next they’re chasing down receivers and allowing running backs to run all over them. Judging Jonathan Gannon’s defense has been a week-by-week proposition in 2021.
This week, New Orleans comes to town. And while they typically bring a lot of offensive fire power with them, they’re severely banged up on that side of the ball.
On Friday, the team announced they’ll be without several key starters, including their top playmaker Alvin Kamara. They’ll also be without both of their starting tackles in Ryan Ramcyzk and Terron Armstead.
Kamara’s impact offensively goes without saying. He’s an ultra productive back and a mismatch nightmare. Without him, they’ll turn to 31-year-old Mark Ingram, who’s actually been quite productive since re-joining New Orleans at the trade deadline. In the past three games, Ingram has averaged four yards per carry and has averaged 3.6 receptions per game, but he’s only found the end zone once.
He’s a nice complementary back, but Ingram won’t be able to completely mitigate Kamara’s absence.
As for New Orleans offensive line, Ramczyk and Armstead have been two of the best offensive tackles in the game this year. Ramczyk has posted an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 82.4 this year, which ranks him fifth-highest among 79 qualifying tackles. Armstead has been just as stout, ranking as the 13th-best tackle in football with an overall grade of 78.6.
This Saints offense was already devoid of explosive talent when fully healthy. Now that they’re without these three starters, not to mention their starting quarterback, Gannon’s group should have no issues shutting Sean Payton’s unit down.
The defensive line in particular should be able to feast on their backup tackles. The Eagles will enter this week fully healthy up front. Josh Sweat and Derek Barnett should be able to create pressure all day long.
Gannon has no excuses in this one. We’ve seen the Eagles defense play down to their opponent numerous times this year. If they want to capture their first home victory of the season, that can’t happen.