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Crunching The Numbers Week 16: Where things went wrong for the Eagles

Well, that's all she wrote. In a way it was a fitting end to a terrible season: losing to the Redskins, Chip Kelly fired. The Eagles are out of the playoffs, but do the numbers say they should be?

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Note: I originally wrote most of this post before Chip Kelly got fired, so... yeah.

The Eagles are officially eliminated from playoff contention and Kelly got canned, which means I can start streaming Flyers games a month earlier, assuming that they are still playing halfway decent hockey. With one game left to play the only sensible thing for Philadelphia to do is to lose to the Giants and get a higher draft pick.

I have a personal stake in the game. When I started my new job back in June, it was interesting to see my cube-mate prominently displaying a towel with the New York Giants logo and the phrase "Go Big Blue!" Thankfully, he turned out to be one of the "good" Giants fans who actually knows what he's talking about and was able to share a few laughs with me over the JPP situation and the state of the division in general. We made a $50 bet at the beginning of the season over which team would have the better year, so basically I need to decide whether or not a potential top-ten draft pick is worth $100 to me. All of this on top of my normal stance on playing to win the game.

Unfortunately, numbers are cold and emotionless and won't help me with my dilemma, but let's look at them anyway. And as always, you can find an archive of my posts here and a breakdown of my scoring system here.

Crunching The Numbers Rank Index, Week 16

Rank Team Score
1 Carolina 36.362
2 Arizona 33.481
3 Cincinnati 28.643
4 Seattle 28.285
5 Kansas City 25.001
6 New England 23.405
7 New York Jets 22.950
8 Minnesota 20.759
9 Buffalo 19.840
10 Green Bay 18.255
11 Pittsburgh 17.943
12 Denver 15.157
13 Houston 14.190
14 Washington 11.886
15 St. Louis 10.879
16 Chicago 10.565
17 Atlanta 10.562
18 Tampa Bay 10.217
19 Oakland 8.761
20 Philadelphia 8.663
21 New York Giants 8.329
22 Baltimore 4.712
23 Dallas 3.993
24 New Orleans 3.582
25 San Diego 2.805
26 Jacksonville 2.744
27 Detroit 2.717
28 Indianapolis 2.403
29 Miami -2.243
30 Tennessee -3.985
31 Cleveland -3.999
32 San Francisco -4.350

Why the Eagles are 20th

Last Week: 15th (-5)

Here we have it. A full-on nose dive from the mediocrity they have maintained essentially all season. The offense, which I had pointed out last week had been consistent (albeit consistently average) for much of the second half of the season, regressed significantly (20.97, down over a full point from 22.09 last week). The defense was as volatile as it has always been since Jordan Hicks' injury, and was once again volatile in a bad way (their score was 8.11, their second-worst all season). And the turnover ratio per game slipped even further to -0.3. At one point it was as high as +0.6. A 0.9 swing is almost unheard of.

So what's the deal? Why all the inconsistency? For me, it boils down to three things: 1) the high roster turnover, especially with the change at quarterback; 2) either the lethargy or outright refusal of the coaching staff to use the new players effectively; and 3) injuries. It's safe to say that Kelly's first year calling the shots did not go as planned. Ultimately, growing pains should have been expected, but expectations are things that Philly fans don't manage well or pragmatically.

Chip Kelly was praised for his boldness in the offseason because he wasn't afraid to fail. And lo and behold, that turned out to be true, because he has most certainly failed this season. And because of this, he is now on the streets looking for a job.

Week 17 Reconnaissance: New York Giants

You may have noticed that the Giants are right below the Eagles in the rankings. They are only separated by about 0.3 points, which is not a lot. They have had similar stories this season of ups and downs, so it seems like the only way for their seasons to end is for them to play each other in a meaningless game.

Overall, the teams are fairly equal. The Eagles have a somewhat solid running game while the Giants' is anemic and the Birds also rush the passer better (although the Giants are terrible at it with only 1.5 sacks per game). New York protects their quarterback better (1.7 sacks allowed per game against 2.4; the league average is 2.3), scores more points on average, and has a better turnover margin per game (they are actually one of the better teams in the league at +0.4).

Ultimately, though, I'd give the Giants the edge (and am preparing to cough up $50). I think the turnover issue is enough to tip the scales in their favor, and even if that is even Odell Beckham could be the difference maker with Byron Maxwell sidelined on IR. Happy 2016, everyone. Looks like it's time to start talking about that head coaching vacancy... anyone else hoping Sean Payton becomes available?

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