Embracing the ground game will be crucial for the Eagles in 2020

Eagles, Miles Sanders
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The Philadelphia Eagles are poised to repeat as NFC East Division Champs for the 2020-21 NFL season. As great as Carson Wentz was last season, it was the emergence of the ground game led by Miles Sanders and Boston Scott who carried the team down the stretch.

With the Eagles in dire need of a boost heading into December, the two backs proved they were worth the price of admission. But can they do it again for a full 16 games?

Let’s say everyone stays healthy. Even if the Eagles can’t find a trade partner for Alshon Jeffery, their offensive choice of weapons will easily be top 3 in the NFL. Think back to last season, Wentz passed for over 4,000 yards while no wide receiver gained more than 500 yards.

Now, that was done with third stringers. Imagine what can happen with DeSean Jackson and Jeffery back to pair with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Wentz can reclaim his spot in the MVP talk but the true measure of the team’s success will come from the backfield.

With Jordan Howard gone, that job now falls to second-year player Miles Sanders who rushed for 818 yards on 179 carries with three rushing touchdowns. Backing him up should be the third-year player and late-season bloomer Boston Scott.

Last season, the Eagles finished the year ranked 11th in yards and 7th in attempts. With that said, the opportunity for success is there. Adding another back this offseason by way of free agency or the 2020 NFL Draft would be a great idea as both Sanders and Scott may be a bit undersized for every-down duties.

The speed is there for Scott and Sanders and so is the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. When it comes to what happens on the edge, the Eagles will be solid.

In their Super Bowl-winning season, the Eagles relied on the bruising-running style of LeGarrette Blount and the shifty moves of Jay Ajayi. Doug Pederson will need to find another bruiser to pair with the quickness he already has.

Miles Sanders will likely see more than the 179 carries he got in his rookie year. And with an average of 4.6 yards per carry Sanders has the skills to move the chains. Scott finished the regular season with just 61 attempts for 245 yards but did so with an average of 4.0 yards per carry. Scott is due for an increase in his workload.

However, the Eagles still need players who can do the heavy lifting. Last season, Howard averaged 4.5 yards per carry on first downs. With Miles and Scott a bit smaller in stature, this could be a growing concern for the Eagles backfield. if Howie Roseman can land another back, that should take away any concerns of how dangerous the teams’ backfield could be.

To finish the season 11th in rushing despite the injuries to the receiving core is a true testament of what this team is capable of. Just think, with Jeffery and Jackson healthy to go along the Ertz and Goedert, no team can stack the box against the Eagles.

This will give Wentz different looks which in turn will open up running lanes for the Eagles. The 2020 season will be one in which the Eagles could very well lead the league in total offense. But it all starts with the ground game.