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Containing the Enemy: Lamar Jackson

The Eagles offense pulled themselves together in Pittsburgh last weekend, but the defense ultimately failed them. This Sunday, the Eagles will be taking on the Baltimore Ravens, whose quarterback, reigning MVP Lamar Jackson, will take advantage of any opportunity given to him by the Eagles defense.

So far this season we have seen three featured backs rushing the ball for the Ravens in Mark Ingram II, Gus Edwards, and rookie J.K Dobbins. Of course, using three backs to split the workload will give each less opportunity which is why Jackson (238 yards) is the Ravens' leading rusher through five games. When it comes to rushing attempts, Jackson has 41, behind only Ingram's 45. On any given play, Jackson can take off like a rocket, and that could be the biggest problem for the Eagles defense this week.

We have seen the Eagles get mauled mercilessly by mobile quarterbacks in recent years. The most vivid memories have come from Russell Wilson, who is 5-0 all-time against the Eagles. The reason he is 5-0 is that he has been able to use his mobility to avoid sacks to make big plays or simply throw the ball away. That's why this Sunday the Eagles will have to play a contain defense with a constant spy on Jackson. Keeping him in the pocket will turn the Ravens' signal-caller into a one-dimensional quarterback.

Even though his legs get all the talk, the Eagles can not forget about Jackson’s throwing ability. So far in 2020 Jackson has 949 passing yards, nine touchdowns, and is averaging 237.4 passing yards per game. For the Eagles defense, there are two main targets for Jackson in the passing game that need to be shadowed all game and they are Marquise "Hollywood" Brown and Mark Andrews. Through five games Brown has 22 receptions on 38 targets for 319 yards and a touchdown. Brown is the Ravens' deep-ball threat, and the Eagles secondary will need to contain him on every single snap because he can create a big gain any time the ball gets in his hands. Stopping Brown is already a tough task, but on top of that, you have to contain budding star Mark Andrews. Jackson uses his tight end as his go-to redzone threat. Through five games, Andrews has registered 18 receptions on 29 targets for 222 yards and five touchdowns. Thankfully, Brown and Andrews are the only main threats in the Ravens' passing attack. No other receiver for the Ravens has more than 10 receptions and also no more than one touchdown.

Jackson can put up points singlehandedly against this Eagles defense. The problem with playing against Jackson is if you stop him on the ground, he can take advantage through the air, and vice versa. Jackson has the help on offense, and even if the offense struggles, their defense always will keep them in the game. I hate to say it, but the Eagles could potentially be in for a long afternoon this Sunday. The key for the Eagles to come away victorious is to not fall behind early. They need to jump out with some quick points, or else Jackson will take advantage.

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