There is a coaching adage that says a coach’s main job is to find out what the players do best and then have them do that as often as possible.

This certainly is not the case so far with the 2021 edition of the Eagles. Nick Sirianni seems to have adopted the pass-centric approach apparently pitched by team management and the analytics staff. He even noted after the Week 3 loss to the Cowboys that they expected to get into a shootout in that matchup and that was part of why the Eagles had only three rushing attempts by running backs in that contest.

This style of game plan has failed since the season opener to produce wins. The main reason it isn’t working is because the Eagles aren’t adept at doing the things a team needs to do to win with a pass-centric, shootout-oriented system.

For starters, they don’t score frequently enough. According to Pro Football Reference, the Eagles have scored a touchdown or field goal on 37.5% of their offensive drives, a pace that ranks 20th in the league.

The Eagles also don’t pass-block well, as their 25.4% pass pressure rate allowed ranks 22nd.

One of the potential benefits of getting the opponent to throw the ball a lot is added opportunities for interceptions and sacks. That hasn’t been the case for the Eagles this year, as their 5% turnover drive rate ranks 24th and their eight sacks rank tied for 19th.

So, what is this club good at? The Eagles may not want to admit it, but the thing that this team does best is run the football.

The Eagles lead the league in rushing yards per attempt. They also rate first in rushing yards before contact and are the only team with a mark of higher than 4 yards in this category, as their 4.2-yard pace is one-half yard ahead of the next best team (Kansas City, 3.7).

A main factor in this rushing prowess is the coaching skills of run game coordinator/offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland. His ability at getting the most out of his charges is why the Eagles had some of the best run-blocking metrics in the league in 2020 per my good blocking grading system despite having a league-record 14 starting offensive line combinations.

» READ MORE: Eagles’ makeshift O-line was great vs. Chiefs and is a reason for hope, optimism as Panthers loom

The Eagles have plenty of backfield rushing ability to go along with the blocking, starting with Miles Sanders, who ranked 11th last year in my good blocking yards per attempt metric that measures productivity on plays with quality run blocking. The Eagles can additionally rely more on Boston Scott, who displayed some of the best vision in reading defensive fronts that I saw during my 2020 running game tape reviews. If that isn’t enough, the Eagles also have Jalen Hurts, who set or tied multiple quarterback rushing records at two of the most storied programs in college football, and Kenneth Gainwell, whose dual-threat ability allows the Eagles to run out of passing formations.

A rush-heavy approach will also do a lot to protect a defense that allowed 851 yards, 58 first downs, and 83 points in consecutive lopsided losses the last two weeks.

Going the running-game route will require a lot of moxie from Sirianni, as the only thing worse than losing in this organization is losing via the ground game and having to explain why you went that route. But utilizing rush-heavy play calling may be the only way for Sirianni to get the most out of a team that has more talent than its 1-3 record indicates.

Gambling 10-pack

Here is this week’s gambling 10-pack, a section that reviews some of the top gambling, fantasy, and DFS plays for NFL games in Week 5.

1. Let’s start with a Thursday night money-line wager of the Rams over the Seahawks (-140). The Seahawks have a ton of coverage issues, as they recently benched starting cornerback Tre Flowers for Sidney Jones, but Jones has allowed a double-digit YPT mark this year and is just as much of a coverage liability. Look for the Rams to go after this weakness early and often and don’t be surprised if they cover at -2.5 as well.

2. This is a week to strongly consider sitting Hurts in fantasy football, as the Panthers’ 3-3-5 stack linebacker setup allows them to use some of the most creative blitzes in the league. It has resulted in Carolina’s defense leading the league in pass pressure rate and could make for a long game for Hurts and the Eagles offense.

3. Even if the Eagles don’t adopt the run-centric approach suggested above, there is almost no chance that they are going to limit Sanders to only nine carries in another two-game span as they have the last two weeks. He is a tremendous buy-low trade candidate in fantasy.

4. When a team goes through a situation like what the Jaguars are going through with Urban Meyer, the players can either get fired up to show that they are better than the coaching they are receiving, or they can throw in the towel on the coach. Since Meyer recently called his players out for the losses, the odds are strong that the players will go the latter route, so take Tennessee to cover -4 in this matchup.

5. Daniel Jones has some of the best vertical pass metrics in the league this year. Dallas does have the best ballhawk cornerback in the league in Trevon Diggs, but Diggs allowed 10.5 yards per target on 14 targets in Weeks 2-3. Add that to Anthony Brown’s coverage woes, Saquon Barkley’s improved play, the strong chance that the Giants will get some of their injured receivers back, and the elite level that the Cowboys offense is playing at, and the 52-point over in this contest seems like a more than solid wager.

6. Why isn’t Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson rostered in a ton of fantasy leagues? His roster rate may move up a lot this week following a 21-PPR point showing against Arizona, but he will probably still be available in a very high percentage of leagues. Be sure to get him in free agency if he is still unclaimed after waivers.

7. Don’t worry for even a moment about benching Minnesota fantasy players this week following their Week 4 struggles against Cleveland, as the Vikings have a cakewalk matchup against Detroit. The Lions were an awful defense coming into this season, and they have already lost a starting cornerback, their primary backup cornerback, and their best pass rusher. Last week was an anomaly for the Vikings, so look for Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and Kirk Cousins to all return to their topflight production paces this week.

8. Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke is a value play in DFS, as the Saints secondary has struggled in coverage over the last three weeks. Heinicke also is expected to get wide receiver Curtis Samuel back for a second straight game, which should make up for the potential loss of tight end Logan Thomas to a hamstring injury.

9. Tampa Bay has some major injury issues in its secondary, as the Buccaneers have lost three cornerbacks this year and could end up with Richard Sherman, Pierre Desir, and Ross Cockrell as their top three cornerbacks this week. They also could be without starting safety Antoine Winfield Jr., who suffered a concussion in the Week 4 game at New England. These issues should push fantasy managers to get Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker and tight end Mike Gesicki into most fantasy lineups this week.

10. Looking for a long-shot upside tight end in fantasy football? Try Anthony Firkser, who faces a Jaguars defense that has allowed 17 completions for 178 yards and three touchdowns over the last three weeks. Firkser may end up higher on the Titans passing target priority list than usual if A.J. Brown and Julio Jones either miss this game or are still slowed by the injuries that kept them out of the Week 4 contest at New York.