In their two games against the Carolina Panthers last season, including a 14-3 loss in the NFC Championship Game, the Eagles were unable to neutralize the Panthers' bread-and-butter ground game.
The Panthers rushed for 291 yards in their two battles with the Eagles, averaging 4.22 yards per carry. In the NFC title game, the Panthers notched 155 rushing yards on 40 carries.
But when the two teams meet again Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles will be much better equipped to deal with the Panthers' ground game. And Carolina tailback DeShaun Foster, who shared a large role in that rushing success, will not play due to a broken clavicle.
Last season, injuries up front wreaked havoc with their defense. By midseason, their tackles were worn down and their undersized linebackers were getting little protection from blockers as they tried to stop the run.
So far this year, the Eagles' defensive line has remained relatively healthy, providing defensive coordinator Jim Johnson with the luxury of rotating eight different players and keeping everyone fresh. The result: In their last three games, the 4-0 Eagles have allowed just 62.3 rushing yards per game and 3.74 yards per carry.
"Injuries really hurt us up front last year," Johnson said. "They took their toll on our pass rush, and they took their toll on the way we played the run."
The early season success of the Eagles' offense also has prevented teams from running against them all that much. They've outscored their first four opponents 38-10 in the first quarter and 94-29 in the first three periods. That's forced their opponents to throw a lot more than they'd like.
Eagles Have Answer For Carolina Rushing Attack
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