The Eagles Offense Will Fly Again
In “The Numbers Say”, the SQ will look at a hot topic in the NFL and dive behind some of the key numbers, both good and bad, that have contributed to the current situation in which a player or team find themselves.
When the Philadelphia Eagles got off to a 1-3 start this year, many cited a lack of offensive production from an offense that has been one of the best in the NFL over the last two years. Thankfully, after two impressive wins both of which came by at least 20 points, it looks like the Eagles' offense is back on track.
A look at the numbers say that, while the Eagles' offense admittedly struggled, it may have had more to do with the teams they were facing. Combine this with their upcoming schedule and the Philly offense should be high-flying once again.
In the first six games, which the Eagles lost three, Philadelphia matched up against three run defenses ranked in the Top 10 of the NFL entering week seven, Dallas, both New York teams and Atlanta.
Predictably, the Eagles' offense struggled averaging just 80 yards per game over the first four games (Falcons, Jets, Cowboys and Washington) in which the Eagles had just one win. It seems very plausible that when the Eagles, who historically under Chip Kelly have been good at running the ball, go up against teams that are good at stopping the run, the Eagles' win totals suffer.
Not all of the credit in the Eagles' losses should go towards the opposing defenses. When the Eagles could not run the ball, they were quite quick to abandon it, never having more than 20 rushing attempts in any of their losses. Whereas in the three games the Eagles won, they stuck with the run longer, rushing the ball 30 times or more.
In the last two games, which have resulted in two wins, the Eagles have averaged 170.5 yards a game. Not surprisingly, when the Eagles are able to put up impressive numbers running the ball, they win by impressive scores.
Perhaps a more overlooked factor, when it comes to the Eagles' success running the ball, is how it has created balance for the entire offense. When the Eagles win in 2015, the difference between rushing attempts and drop-backs by a quarterback is within 11. In last week’s victory over the Giants, a game which the Eagles won by 20, the difference of rushing attempts to drop backs was just one.
9, 2, 3
Balance is important since the Eagles cannot rely on its passing game because of the interceptions thrown by Sam Bradford. So far this season, Bradford has the second highest total in the league. Additionally, when Bradford does throw his interceptions, he throws them in bunches. He currently has three multi-interception games. It should be noted that one of those games was last week against the Giants. So Bradford’s interception do not exactly spell defeat for the Eagles, but Bradford’s turnover tendencies show why the Eagles have to rely on the run game.
Further proof that the Eagles' offense should kick into gear in the second half of the season. Of the Eagles' remaining games, just two teams, Dallas and Buffalo, enter the seventh week of the season ranked in the Top 10 in run defense. One of those Top 10 run defense is actually the Eagles.
With a potentially easier schedule in terms of run defense and the Eagles' ability to compliment that rushing attack with a balanced passing game, the points should once again be easy to come by in Philadelphia.