More often than not in 2010, the Eagles offense has come out firing. The Eagles' 49 points on opening drives this season are best in the league and they come as a result of seven touchdowns in 13 games. The Eagles' record in those seven games? A perfect 7-0. The Eagles record in the six games in which they haven't scored on the opening drive? A paltry 2-4.
So the first offensive possession for the Eagles this Sunday could go a long way in determining the outcome of the critical NFC East showdown. As for the reason behind the introductory success on offense, the architect behind the scripted first 15 plays is offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
"Marty's put together some great first 15 (plays)," said head coach Andy Reid. "He's done a great job feeling that he knows what that team is doing and putting those guys in a great position to make plays."
But the lion's share of the credit goes to the players themselves for pulling off what Mornhinweg has designed.
"The players have done a good job - great preparation, great work during the week. And they've executed just beautifully on most of those drives."
"I think Marty does a good job of going out there and wanting to set the tone," said wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. "I think we go out there and execute, that's what the plays are designed for. We do a really good job of doing that. Credit goes to him, but also to us for going out there and sticking to the script and doing the things that we do in practice."
One theory behind some of the Eagles' big plays on those opening drives is the advantage in speed that the skill position players hold over most, if not all, defenses in the league.
"I think sometimes there might be an adjustment period (for the defense)," Maclin said. "At the end of the day, a lot of guys can run. I think the fact that we have speed at so many types of positions definitely helps us."
Whatever the reason behind the success, pay close attention to how the Eagles perform on their opening drive Sunday afternoon. It will play a big role in whether the Eagles get to first place in the division or not.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 7:49 a.m., December 18