Crunching The Numbers: Week 8

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City continues to hold on to the top spot as the Eagles slide.

Another Sunday, another flurry of NFL games. The top ten got an overhaul after some strong performances by middle-of-the-road teams and weak performances by better teams. Before we get to the rankings below, make sure to check out what Brandon had to say. Now onto what my numbers have to say:

The Rankings

Rank Team Score Last Week
1 Kansas City 17.164 1
2 Denver 13.336 2
3 New Orleans 13.013 5
4 Carolina 12.160 6
5 Seattle 11.826 3
6 Indianapolis 11.479 4
7 San Francisco 9.441 8
8 Green Bay 9.250 7
9 Cincinnati 6.880 13
10 New England 5.103 10
11 Dallas 4.498 9
12 San Diego 3.855 11
13 Detroit -0.212 12
14 Tennessee -0.595 14
15 Baltimore -2.143 16
16 Chicago -4.600 17
17 Arizona -5.270 25
18 Oakland -6.891 23
19 Cleveland -6.994 21
20 Atlanta -7.636 15
21 St. Louis -8.210 22
22 Miami -8.555 19
23 Philadelphia -8.888 20
24 Buffalo -10.161 18
25 Pittsburgh -10.888 26
26 Tampa Bay -12.780 28
27 Washington -14.673 27
28 New York Jets -15.131 24
29 Minnesota -16.760 29
30 Houston -19.159 30
31 New York Giants -21.482 31
32 Jacksonville -35.546 32

Around the league, the top ten was a lot more mobile. Dallas fell out completely after forgetting that Calvin Johnson would, in fact, be playing on Sunday and two teams (Indianapolis and Seattle) fell out of the top five. The bottom of the bag was mostly stagnant while people in the middle continue to jockey for position.

The Eagles plummet was not as hard this time as they only dropped three spots this week. Like last time, the defense continued to improve in almost every category while the offense resumed its death spiral. I think I speak for all of us when I say how frustrating it is to see half the team show up on any given week. As Nick Foles prepares to go against the Raiders, it'll be interesting to see if the offense can get back on track.

Scouting The Enemy

Believe it or not, the Raiders are statistically a decent team. They are playing well on defense and have some things going for them on offense. However, they are not without their weaknesses. Assuming the Eagles don't beat themselves, here's where I think they can excel on Sunday:

Pass Rush. The Eagles' ability to get pressure hasn't been very good this year, but the Raiders are giving up over four sacks per game (4.3 to be exact). If the secondary can hold up enough to force Pryor to hold onto the ball, they should be able to take him down. This comes with the stipulation that they keep him in the pocket, which is admittedly easier said than done.

Turnovers. The Raiders give the ball away. A lot. (4.17% interception rate.) They also don't force too many of their own (0.9 fumbles recovered per game and 1.98% interception rate). As long as the Eagles do their part to take care of the ball and don't hand the game over on a silver platter, they should win the turnover battle. This hasn't been the case as of late, but this could be the game to turn things around.

Scoring Defense. The Raiders are twelfth in the league by allowing only 21.4 points per game, but they are also only scoring 18. The Eagles' defense has come on strong lately, even without any help from the offense. Even though the game is on the road, they should see success against Oakland.

The Raiders will prove to be a harder test this week than their record indicates. However, they are weak in several critical areas that could be their downfall if the Eagles are able to take advantage. Whether or not they actually show up is another story altogether.

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