Four Downs: Eagles have best CB tandem

Another week of film works brings the latest edition of Four Downs, with a look at a few things that caught my eye. Enjoy Week 12 everyone.

1. The decision the Eagles made a month ago to put CB Dimitri Patterson in the starting lineup was the best personnel move they’ve made all season. They have totally contrasting styles, but in Patterson and Asante Samuel, the Eagles have the best cornerback tandem in the league. Samuel plays off the line and is a total playmaker. Patterson plays up, is aggressive, is a great tackler who doesn’t gamble and plays by the book with great technique. Together, they have a great blend of skills. It’s also helped Quintin Mikell to freelance and help out more in the run game. The Eagles can challenge wide receivers as well as anyone in the league right now.

2. A lot of people are waiting for the collapse of the Giants. They’re a better team than the way they’re playing now, but 30 turnovers in 10 games leads the league. The only reason the Giants have a winning record is the defense has been taking it away at a pretty good rate. If it was just Eli Manning throwing interceptions, you could focus on that. But it has also been Ahmad Bradshaw’s fumbles, and rookie punter Matt Dodge not being able to hang on to the ball. Tom Coughlin says every week the Giants need to cut down on the turnovers, but this has been going on since the beginning of last season. It’s the most important stat in football. The Giants had a very winnable game against the Eagles, but they lost because of five turnovers. It’s the biggest reason why they’re second in the AFC East, and ultimately, why I think the Giants will struggle to make the playoffs.

3. It’s no secret the Jaguars have been looking for defensive ends and any type of pass rush. The Jaguars started Austen Lane and Jeremy Mincey last week, and they might have gotten their best performance from defensive ends since Jack Del Rio has been in Jacksonville. They’re young, but they play the game the right way and were terrific against Peyton Hillis. For the first time in a long time, you could look at the Jaguars’ defensive line and say they were a force. Along with Tyson Alualu and Terrance Knighton, the Jaguars have a pretty good defensive front. They won the game against the Browns.

4. The Raiders were blown out in Pittsburgh last week, but really they were beaten as soon as they stepped off the bus. If you’re not sound and don’t have a complete understanding of your pass protections against the Steelers, you’re not going to beat that team. They have too many good pass rushers. The Raiders were awful in pass protection, and they were getting beat because of their schemes. The Raiders were asking for bad things to happen, and they happened all day long. They didn’t give themselves a fighting chance. Tom Cable is an old offensive line coach, and I think Hue Jackson is a good coordinator. But there’s no way you can go to Pittsburgh unprepared for the 3-4 defense, and not know how to respond when things go wrong. It was disappointing.

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