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The Eagles have 4 questions to answer if they want to win Sunday


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The Eagles have 4 questions to answer if they want to win Sunday

Published: Oct. 29, 2022, 7:00 a.m.

By Chris Franklin | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

PHILADELPHIA – It has been a very eventful week for the Eagles, even though they were coming back from the bye week. The Eagles saw the return of right tackle Lane Johnson to the practice squad after he suffered a concussion against the Dallas Cowboys, the last time the team played a game.

The week peaked Wednesday when the Eagles executed a trade with the Chicago Bears, acquiring defensive end Robert Quinn in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round pick.

Despite everything that happened, a game still has to be played Sunday, with the Eagles welcoming the Pittsburgh Steelers to Lincoln Financial Field. Even though the Steelers are entering the game with a 2-5 record, they could spoil the Eagles’ undefeated record. In fact, the last time the Eagles went this deep into the season with an undefeated record (7-0 in 2004), it was the Steelers who gave the Eagles their first loss.

For the Eagles to prevent that from happening, the Eagles will have to answer some questions if they want to move to 7-0, they will have to answer some lingering questions.

Here are four questions heading into Sunday’s game against the Steelers:
Will the team come out slow after the bye week?
Last season, the Eagles had their bye week during Week 14 and faced the Washington Commanders. The Eagles started slowly in that game, allowing the Commanders to score 10 points in the first quarter before they scored 10 of their own in the second quarter. You have to think that the Eagles will try to make some tweaks to ensure that does not happen again. It would not be a surprise if the Eagles started slow on their first couple of possessions, but the key would be to make sure they snap out of it early and find a way to look like the team they have shown they are capable of being in the first six weeks of the season.
What will Robert Quinn’s role be and how will he be utilized?
Like a child who just received his birthday present and cannot wait to play with their new toy, the Eagles could put Quinn on the field. The Eagles acquired Quinn Wednesday from the Chicago Bears in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round pick. Quinn only has one sack this season but is a season removed from collecting 18.5 sacks. During his Friday press conference, head coach Nick Sirianni said the team was trying to get Quinn acclimated to the defensive scheme.
"We’re working on getting him up to speed,” Sirianni said. "He’s a smart guy that’s been in a lot of different systems. Our coaches are working hard, and we’re hopeful he’s playing on Sunday.”
The interesting thing to watch is how much Quinn plays and what defensive line combination the Eagles will use if he is on the field. Placing Quinn on the second unit could make sense to let him go with a certain set of rushes and stunts and gradually work him in if he is to play. When all else fails, Quinn could just pin his ears back and try to get to Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett.
Should the Eagles attack the Steelers primarily in the air?
The Eagles have tried to take a balanced approach offensively but could have success focusing on the passing game to move the ball down the field. The Eagles have been averaging 238.5 yards a game throwing the ball, while the Steelers defense has given up 275.4 yards a game, the fourth-highest average in the league. It may not be easy with safety Minkah Fitzpatrick looming in the secondary. Fitzpatrick, a two-time All-Pro, has three interceptions so far this season and is good at undercutting routes and lining up in the box, capable of covering wide receivers and tight ends.
What will the Steelers’ front seven do to stop the Eagles’ run game?
The Eagles cannot completely ignore the run game, so they will need to solve the puzzle of the Steelers defense. One player who will be essential to doing that is running back Miles Sanders.
Sanders, who grew up in Pittsburgh, said he was excited to see Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and some of his friends on the team. Sanders also said that he was excited to have family and friends coming to town. Wanting to put on a good show for them, Sanders will have to find running lanes against what he describes as a tough Steelers front seven.
"They are dominant,” Sanders said. "They don’t really do too much extra stuff. They like to move their front at sudden moments so that it might trick you. They like the good at disguises for coverages and stuff like that. We have to do a good job of knowing our plan and sticking to it. We cannot let them dictate what we do.”
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