By Michael Donovan
The Eagles are nine-point favorites against the Raiders Christmas night at the Linc.
But winning the game and covering may depend on how the vaunted though lately soft Birds; defense contains Marshawn Lynch/aka “Beast Mode.”
No running back has gained 100 yards on the ground against the Eagles since Week 6 last season. Todd Gurley of the Rams ended up with 96 yards rushing in Week 14.
Lynch has gone over 100 yards this season only once, against the Giants on Dec 3. He’s averaging 4.3 yards per carry and has rushed for 695 yards this season in his return to the NFL after a one-year retirement.
Although Lynch hasn’t put up the same statistics that he did earlier in his career, he is still capable of momentum-changing runs. It’s going to require a different approach to keep Lynch under wraps this week.
“All year we’ve gotten away with just being sound in our gaps,” Malcolm Jenkins said on Wednesday. “Wherever the ball goes, whoever is in the gap can make the tackle, and we’re good. That’s usually how it goes, but this week it’s not like that.”
“We want to stop him before he gets started. Let’s not get him downhill to our safeties and cornerbacks,” Fletcher Cox said on Wednesday. “He does a good job of picking a guy and running him over. We just have to gang-tackle and bring him to the ground.”
“Make sure we have maximum effort to the ball,” Graham explained on Wednesday. “They’re going to try and get him on top of our safeties and corners so as a defensive line, we have to rally. We’ll need to attack our gaps and do what we have to do to bring him down.”
Of 179 touches this season, Lynch has broken 46 tackles which is 25.7 percent of the time he touches the ball.
“This is not a one on one type of back. He’s known to break tackles. Half the time they blow the whistle, and he’s not on the ground,” Jenkins said. “We understand that we have to wrap him up and get population to the football. He’s one of those guys that has unique balance. He has every cut in the book. You really have to wrap up and hold on and hope that you get multiple guys to the ball.”