2. Third downs have to improve on both sides for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Last week, one of the keys to the game was third-down defense. While defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz does pretty well on third downs on paper, oftentimes opponents still convert in untimely situations. Not to mention, opponents are still converting fourth downs at a 50 percent rate. Even if they don’t convert on third, they inch closer to the line to gain and feel confident versus Philly.
For the Eagles to come out with a win, Schwartz’s defense will need to get some big stops early. The Browns are one of the best teams in the league in time of possession. They like to wear down opposing defenses, keep the opposing offense from getting in a rhythm, and give their own defense rest. With how tough it is to tackle Nick Chubb, it would be a good idea for Schwartz to dial up his best third-down calls this week. If they don’t get off of the field on third down, it’s only going to become more challenging as the game moves on.
On the offensive side of the ball, everyone knows what happened last week. 0-9 on third down is unacceptable. On the year, the offense is converting just 37.9 percent of third downs and 29.4 percent of fourth downs. That says it all. Doug has not been calling plays on third downs to win. He’s been calling plays to not lose. It just feels like he’s lost that aggressive mentality and then tries to make up for it with bogus fourth down and two-point conversion calls. If Pederson’s struggles continue, this is going to be another long day for the offense.