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What Is the Jets' Formula to Upset the Eagles at MetLife Stadium?

Reigning NFC Champions Off to a 5-0 Start in 2023 Season


Throughout the offseason, reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange and Caroline Hendershot will give their responses to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.

Today's question: What is the Jets' formula to upset the Eagles at MetLife Stadium?

EA: In a big-picture sense, the Jets have already played two good/elite teams at home when they topped the Bills in OT and were oftentimes the better team against the Chiefs in Week 4. The Eagles (5-0) are elite, and their recent success has been nothing short of extraordinary. Jalen Hurts has won 22 of his last 23 regular-season starts and 11 straight on the road. But the Eagles aren't going to run the table and the Commanders scored 31 points on that good Philly defense at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 4 as Sam Howell passed for 290 yards and added 40 rush yards. Hurts, who had 6 INTs in 15 starts last season, has 4 INTs in 5 games. This is a very good Eagles defense, but it hasn't faced a RB the caliber of Breece Hall. While the Jets will move on without OL Alijah-Vera Tucker, it's possible the Eagles could be without a pair of key starters in DT Jalen Carter and CB Darius Slay. What makes the Eagles different is they are the best team in the NFL along the line of scrimmage. For the Jets to win, they'll likely need to get 27 points while stealing a couple of possessions. Zach Wilson must continue to play clean, and the offense would benefit from explosive plays from Hall and Garrett Wilson. Win in the red zone and make a play late.

EG: The formula feels similar to how the Jets played against the Chiefs – buckle down in the red zone and start fast, which the Jets did not do against Kansas City. QB Zach Wilson, coming off back-to-back games in which he completed more than 70% of his passes, will now face an Eagles secondary that ranks No. 25 in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (247.6). Philadelphia's defense has allowed 14 touchdowns this season, which ranks No. 23. But the Green & White offense has to do a better job of not settling for field goals, something it did well against KC. The group went 0 of 5 in the red zone last week at Denver (2 of 3 the week before against the Chiefs). The Birds rank No. 30 in red-zone efficiency and No. 27 in goal-to-go efficiency. What hurt the Jets' chances to upset the Super Bowl champions was the defense's slow start. Patrick Mahomes & Co. got off to a 17-0 first-quarter lead before the defense held the NFL's No. 5 offense at the time to 2 field goals in three quarters. Philly QB Jalen Hurts, who leads the NFL's No. 2 offense, and his teammates have 36 first-quarter points, which ranks No. 4 in the NFL. A couple of turnovers, similar to the game against the Chiefs, would be nice, too.

RL: For one thing, the Jets are probably back to Zach. Wilson augmented the Breece Hall-led 234-yard ground game at Denver nicely. But with Philly first in the NFL in rush defense, I'm not saying Hall, Dalvin Cook, Michael Carter and the Jets O-line won't be able to run it, but the sledding could be tougher. So I'm thinking Wilson has to hit his favorite receivers, Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard and TE Tyler Conklin, early and accurately and often. Defensively, the Green & White has to be spot-on with its assignments or D'Andre Swift and Jalen Hurts will be able to run, and that's not the kind of help that Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed and the secondary will need to sit on A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and TE Dallas Goedert. As for the "Brotherly Shove" problem, Hurts and the Birds seem to have perfected the concept, on touchdown pushes and on third-and-shorts — their third-down conversion rate is also No. 1 in the league. At least, as DC Jeff Ulbrich said this week, at 330 pounds, "Al Woods does not hurt your chances against that play."

CH: The key to beating the Eagles is going to be getting past their offensive line. Head Coach Robert Saleh called the Eagles -line the "Peyton Manning of offensive lines" -- you can hit them once, but they will be quick to make the adjustment. Jason Kelce, who is in his 13th season with the Eagles, is literally at the center of the Eagles continuity. He has played the same scheme and same techniques his entire career with the Eagles. Right guard Landon Dickerson was selected to the Pro Bowl last season and is the eighth-highest ranked guard according to Pro Football Focus. The Jets defensive line ranks third in QB pressure rate and QB pressures this season. The Jets are also the only team to have three players to record 20-plus total pressures each in Bryce Huff, John Franklin-Myers, and Quinnen Williams. With all that being said, the Jets D-line will also have to get around left tackle Lane Johnson, who has not allowed a sack since Week 11 of the 2020 season. There's a lot of experience and talent on the Eagles offensive line, but if the Jets can bring pressure and sack the mobile Jalen Hurts, it will give them a better chance of upsetting the Eagles at home on Sunday.

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