The Philadelphia Eagles have a tall task against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday.
Not only has Philadelphia lost eight of their last 10 games, but head coach Doug Pederson scrambled to put together a roster for this week as four players were placed on injured reserve Monday.
While the Eagles chances of winning are slim, here are five factors they can use to upset the Ravens:
1) Avoid allowing the big play
This is a department the Eagles defense has struggled in all season, allowing 30 pass plays of 25 yards or more (third-worst in NFL) and 43 rush plays of 25 yards or more (tied for sixth-worst in NFL).
73 big plays allowed is far too many for a defense to be considered elite, or even good (which the Eagles are anything but these days).
The Ravens have just 50 big plays this season (29 rush, 21 pass), which is shocking considering Steve Smith and Mike Wallace are big-lay threats at receiver.
If the Eagles defense doesn't allow Joe Flacco to complete long pass (which the Ravens will attempt), they have a shot at shutting down the Ravens offense.
2) Containing Terrell Suggs
Suggs is still one of the top pass rushers in the game wth eight sacks and there forced fumbles on the season. He also has 27 tackles and four pass deflections.
In the Ravens 3-4 scheme, Suggs will line up on the edge against Eagles left tackle Jason Peters, which is arguably the most intriguing one-on-one matchup on the day.
The task to contain Suggs will be up to Peters. Based on how he's been in pass protection this season, it's a task he can handle.
3) Rush more than four
The Eagles prefer not to do do this because of how poor their cornerbacks are (along with the injury to Ron Brooks), but they have to rush more than four against the Ravens offensive line.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz doesn't want to give up the big play, but if the Eagles actually get Joe Flacco to get rid of the ball earlier than he wants, the big plays won't be an issue.
Mix in a Mychal Kendricks and play more base defense to add an extra edge rusher. Or send Rodney McLeod in a nickel and dime defense to get to Flacco. Rotating the defensive ends will help as well.
The Ravens have allowed just 25 sacks (1.92 per game) on the season. Rushing more than four will be necessary for the Eagles.
If the defense gets to Flacco (who likes to hold onto the football for a while), the big plays will be prevented.
4) Limit Carson Wentz's pass attempts
Over the last seven games, here is the exact number of pass attempts Wentz has thrown in each game...43, 47, 36, 45, 36, 60, 46.
That 44.7 average is far too much for a rookie quarterback to endure. Not surprisingly, the Eagles are 1-6 in those games.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has said on multiple occasions he'd like to limit Wentz's pass attempts and balance out the playbook, but haven't actually done it.
With the Eagles on potentially their fifth right tackle this week, limiting Wentz's attempts is a must.
Wentz can handle all this throws, but he shouldn't be put in that situation.
5) Run the football
Here's the second part of the equation to limiting Wentz's pass attempts. Pederson must commit to running the football on a consistent basis.
The Eagles are 13th in the NFL in pass play percentage, throwing the football 60.9 percent of the time. That number is significantly gone up over the past three games, skyrocketing to 70.6 percent (tops in the NFL). No surprise the Eagles have lost three straight games.
Pederson doesn't have the excuse of facing a large deficit as the Eagles have been in a one possession game in the fourth quarter for two of those three games. He just simply won't run the ball.
Running the football will be a tough task this week with the Eagles decimated at running back and the Ravens first in the NFL in rush defense, but Philadelphia has to give Kenjon Barner a fair opportunity to spell Ryan Mathews in the run game.
A balanced offensive attack will keep the Ravens defense on the field and wear them down late in the game. The Eagles should go back to that formula that got them to a 3-0 start.