Mercifully, the Eagles are coming off their first of three bye weeks this season. The city is used to success in this regard. As Eagles’ head coach, Andy Reid was 10-4 in games that immediately follow a bye (2-1 in Kansas City); Chip Kelly was not so great (1-2). So let’s see if Doug Pederson has inherited the same success gene as Reid.
First, here are roundups from prior weeks:
On to this week:
VEGAS (Eagles -3.5, 60.7% win probability)
Last game: Steelers -3.5, 60.7% win probability
After opening as one point favorites, betting trends have pushed the line to 3.5 points in favor of the Birds, equivalent to a 60.7% chance of winning. This is good, but the line could be deflated a bit. Home field advantage in Detroit has been relatively strong in past years (about 3.6 points) thanks largely to the play of the team’s defense. However, Detroit’s defense this year has been pretty pathetic (more on that below). Since there is a significant relationship between home field advantage and the play of the home team’s defense, Detroit’s home field advantage shouldn’t be representative of what it once was.
538 (Eagles, 54% win probability)
Last game: Steelers, 56% win probability
The Eagle are moving up. Going into this week they’re the ninth best team in terms of Elo (currently 10th after Arizona beat San Francisco last night), but the lowest of the three undefeated teams (Denver is first, Minnesota is third). Elo projects a 10-6 record, a 66% chance of making the playoffs, a 55% chance of winning the division, a 29% chance of a first round bye, and a 5% chance of winning the Super Bowl (tied with Green Bay for 6th best odds in league). Detroit, on the other hand, is currently ranked 19. Again, thanks to historical home field advantages, Elo give the Eagles a 54% chance of winning.
ESPN FPI (Eagles, 66% win probability)
Last game: Steelers, 59% win probability
This might be a first. ESPN’s FPI hasn’t been so high on the Eagles, but this week they are the most bullish, giving the Birds a 66% chance of winning. The game is the 6th best of the week in terms of “Matchup Quality” (50 out of 100), but statistical paper matchups seem to be low all around. ESPN Analytics’ summary of the game falls in line with what we see from others:
All eyes are on Carson Wentz, but the Eagles’ 3-0 start has been a team effort. Their defense sits atop ESPN’s efficiency rankings, while their special-teams unit ranks fourth. As a result, the Eagles lead the league in overall efficiency and are outscoring their opponents by nearly 22 points per game, by far the best margin in the NFL. On paper this is a mismatch, but the game is in Detroit, and the Lions’ offense (10th in efficiency) can still make some noise.
Football Outsiders DVOA
Despite not playing last week, the Eagles are again the top ranked team in the league. This is somewhat of a surprise. At this point of the season, there is good enough data to make adjustments for quality of opponent. Given the Eagles have soundly beaten lowly Cleveland and Chicago, Philly’s DVOA was expected to take a hit. However, since Pittsburgh pummeled Kansas City, the Eagles’ Week 3 win cancelled out any negative effects from Weeks 1 and 2. The Eagles’ offense DVOA is fourth best in the league, and their defense is second best. Detroit’s offense is tenth best, but their defense is ranked dead last. The Eagles have yet to encounter a top DVOA defense, so we can expect another solid offensive performance from Wentz and company. Advantage: Eagles.
Here are some other notable win probabilities:
Dr. K NFL Forecasts – Eagles, 53.4%, 24-23 (Last game: Steelers, 63%, 28-23)
Dratings.com – Eagles, 54.1%, win by 2 (Steelers, 65.3%, win by 5)
This week’s statistical forecasts all favor the Eagles, whose win probabilities range from 53% to 66%. According to the interactive Trend Finder below, teams go after Detroit’s defense with a balanced attack in the first quarter, then a more pass-leaning attack in the second and third. Teams also tend to attack Detroit’s defense at the edges and have moderate success on third down. We’ll see if the trends continue, but signs certainly seem to point to an Eagles victory. Let’s hope the team isn’t looking ahead to their next bye.