What we will be watching this week in the Eagles-Saints game:
1. Kolb’s ball security. The young Eagles quarterback has not done a very good job of protecting the ball in the few playing opportunities he’s had. Threw 4 picks in 34 attempts last season, including that memorable one v. Baltimore that Ed Reed took coast-to-coast for a touchdown. He needs to make good decisions Sunday and keep the turnovers to a minimum.
2. Production from the wideouts. DeSean Jackson had a team-high 62 catches as a rookie, but just 2 TDs. HeE2s now got as many career punt returns for TDs as he does TD receptions. In the Eagles’ last 20 games, the wideouts have just 12 TD catches. They need to start finding the end zone. Kolb could use the help Sunday.
3. Brees’ third-down magic. The Saints owned the second-best third-down offense in the league last year, converting 48.5 percent of their third-down opportunities. Continued that last week, converting 9 of 13 third-down tries v. the Lions. The reason they’re so good on third down: Brees. He was the league’s best third-down passer last season, Had an unbelievable 117.8 passer rating on third down, including a .667 completion percentage and a 9.72 yards-per-attempt average.
4. How the Eagles tackle. Against an offense as lethal as the Saints, the Eagles can’t afford the kind of slo ppy tackling they displayed at times in their Week 1 win over the Panthers. They must wrap up the Saints’ receivers and running backs and limit their yards-after-contact. That means you too, Asante.
5. Run, baby, run. If Donovan McNabb were able to play Sunday, I’d have no problem with the Eagles throwing it 40-plus times. But having Kolb, who is making his first career start, put it up that many times would be suicide. The Eagles need come out with a balanced offensive game plan and give the Eagles’ running backs plenty of carries.
To read our earlier post with reports from practice and much more, click here.