Happy Thanksgiving! Remember to take some time today to remember what you're thankful for (although I bet it's not the Eagles). Regular followers of this series know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because of the Three F's: family, food, and football. The Eagles are once again a part of that tradition, but at this point it's not like it matters.
Sunday's loss was, by and large, the lowest point of Chip Kelly's NFL coaching career. Unlike the blowout losses he's suffered in previous seasons, this one was at home to what was (on paper) an inferior opponent. It seemed like after the Bucs took the lead at 14-7 the team simply gave up and decided they were done playing for the afternoon. That is an alarming development, because it means that the coaching staff is starting to lose the locker room. And while that is bad for any team, it's even worse for the Eagles because selling the roster on Kelly's unorthodox methods demand results to be successful. And those results are nonexistent.
Crunching The Numbers Rank Index, Week 11
|9||New York Jets||19.174|
|15||New York Giants||13.849|
Why the Eagles are 13th
A lot of this explanation is restating the obvious - the defense has regressed significantly since their strong start to the season. They are barely above the league average of 2.3 in sacks per game (2.4), teams are passing the ball less than the average, and they have plummeted to sixteenth in passer rating allowed (88.5), which was a strength earlier in the season when they were ranked sixth in the league. Additionally, the turnovers that seemed to be all but guaranteed early on in the season are now nowhere to be found as the roster has become completely incapable at finishing plays (I'm looking at you, Barwin).
On offense, not much has changed, which is depressing considering how bad they look. They still are third in the league in rushing first downs per game (7.7) and are under the league average in sacks allowed per game (2.1). Their turnover margin per game has fallen to just +0.1 (it was once a respectable +0.6) since Captain Turnover has taken his role under center, but again, it's not like Bradford protected the ball well either. The passer rating, which was already poor, has started to drop again because Sanchez.
If you're wondering why the Eagles haven't dropped further, it's because they have been statistically been playing decent football for a lot of the season - it just hasn't shown up on the box score. This is still propping them up even after an atrocious game, but if they lay another egg against the Lions tomorrow don't be surprised to see them fall into the twenties. With the team trending downward, it is likely they will be a mid-twenties team by Christmas.
Week 12 Reconnaissance: Detroit Lions
What do you want me to say - that the Eagles are the better statistical team than the Lions? Because that's true. For the season, Philadelphia has the upper hand in the following categories: rushing first downs per game, sacks allowed per game, rushing attempts per game, rushing play percentage, passer rating allowed per game, passing play percentage, rushing play percentage, points forced per game, points allowed per game, and turnover margin per game. They are tied in sacks forced per game (2.4) and the Lions have the edge in passer rating per game (83.1 to 79.7).
Is that enough to inspire your confidence in this team going into the game tomorrow? Yeah, me neither.
Carson Palmer now leads the league in passer rating, at 107.7 (Arizona has the league's highest-scoring offense) ... The once-vaunted "Legion of Boom" is now allowing a passer rating of 88.5, the same as the Eagles ... The Chiefs have somehow managed to obtain a 5-5 record in spite of giving up 3.4 sacks per game ... As a sign of the times, the league averages roughly a 59/41 pass-run ratio, an Andy Reid-like number that he was often criticized for during his tenure in Philadelphia.