Former NFL offensive lineman and Sirius NFL Radio analyst Ross Tucker looks at some key issues facing the Eagles as they head into the bye week ...
"The way the Eagles won on Sunday, by dominating the fourth quarter, can carry over. I worked the Colts-Ravens game on Sunday, one week after Indianapolis rallied to beat Houston, and that win certainly carried over for Indy as they dismantled the Ravens. The Eagles showed great resiliency to win in San Francisco, especially when you consider that Brian Westbrook was out, both starting wide receivers were out and their Pro Bowl guard, Shawn Andrews, was out.
"I know the Eagles didn't look very good in those second and third quarters, but what counts in the NFL is wins and losses. You don't get style points, so I'm sure the Eagles are feeling so much better at 3-3 than they would have at 2-4, especially in this division. PHI vs. SF 10-12-08
"Once the Eagles get their players back – and I think the bye week comes at an absolutely perfect time for this football team – they are going to be contenders in a wide-open conference. The Giants are looked at as the best team in the NFC right now, but they are not immune to losing. They've struggled at times this year. Just look at their win over the Bengals for evidence of that.
"I do have concerns about the Eagles, notably their ability to stop the run. The Redskins kind of exposed them a little bit, and then Frank Gore followed up with 101 yards on 19 carries. That is not good enough for the Eagles' front seven. So what is the problem? Well, Jim Johnson will self-scout and try to fix things schematically, but it could be a matter of personnel. Are teams pushing around the Eagles at the line of scrimmage? Are the linebackers, who are very young, making too many mistakes?
"The NFL is a copycat league, and teams have seen how the Redskins and the 49ers worked the line of scrimmage. Washington beat up the Eagles at the line of scrimmage. Clinton Portis had some wide open runs and Gore did, too. Johnson is one of the best in the game and he will come back with an answer against a Falcons team that runs the football very well, and I wonder if he will consider more eight-man fronts and a more aggressive approach against the run.
"A bye week is a critical time for teams. No. 1, it is important for players to get healthy. The Eagles are going to welcome this time off. They are going to get some key players back after the bye week, which will help them.
"No. 2, teams use this time to self-scout what they've done to this point in the season. Every coach watches all the film of their previous games and tries to come up with answers to some of the questions they have. They look for tips, for tendencies and they welcome suggestions from other coaches – on some teams, the offensive coaches watch the defensive film, and vice versa – to improve what is going on.
"The Eagles have historically been pretty good at self-scouting themselves, and I expect them to come back and show improvement, especially at stopping the run."