The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t going to win many games regardless of how well they run the ball or how Jalen Hurts performs if their defense continues to be the liability that it is.
In their Week 9 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, the Eagles allowed their opponent to record points (two field goals, two touchdowns) on each of their last four drives of the game — including a game-winning field goal in the final seconds.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert had a field day against Philadelphia’s defense, completing 32-of-38 passes for 356 yards and a pair of touchdowns. That was good for an impressive 123.2 rating and a 93.1 QBR.
The performance heaps further pressure on Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, who has been called out by the likes of head coach Nick Sirianni and defensive end Fletcher Cox in recent weeks for an uninspiring game plan.
Regardless of where the finger is being pointed within the Eagles’ ranks, there is no denying that the team has a defensive problem.
Through nine games this season, Philadelphia’s defense has allowed the ninth-most points in the NFL and the seventh-most rushing yards. While their pass defense is a middle-of-the-road unit in terms of yards allowed, only five teams around the league have allowed more than the Eagles’ 16 passing touchdowns this season.
Week 10 brings a matchup with a Denver Broncos team that has struggled to find consistency within its passing game with Teddy Bridgewater calling the plays under center. Naturally, the Broncos will look at this matchup as an opportunity to pad Bridgewater’s stat sheet along with his dangerous targets whether it be Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, or Jerry Jeudy.
Bridgewater has done a solid job for a Broncos team that was in a quarterback crisis last season. He’s completed 70.2% of his passes for 2,163 yards with 14 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
But against an Eagles defense that leaves itself susceptible to big days for opposing quarterbacks, Bridgewater could have himself a big day.
The Eagles’ defense has allowed five quarterbacks already this season to complete at least 80% of their pass attempts. Herbert was the latest to do so at an 84% clip, but the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott (80.8%), Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs (80%), Tom Brady of the Buccaneers (81%), and Derek Carr of the Raiders (91.2%) have already gashed the Eagles apart this season.
Much of that derives from Gannon’s hesitancy to blitz, which directly plays into the figure of the Eagles’ having a bottom-10 pass-rushing unit in the league with just 17 sacks this season. That offers the opportunity for Bridgewater — an already accurate quarterback — to have plenty of time in the pocket and pick the Eagles apart on Sunday.