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Crunching The Numbers: Week 14

The Eagles bottom out into mediocrity

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Who would have thought that out of all the possible players and coaches to “get the Eagles’ number,” it would be Kirk Cousins and Jay Gruden? They’ve now won five straight against the Birds and I’m honestly speechless. I’m starting to get an idea of how Giants’ fans must have felt when we went on our six-in-a-row tear against them a few seasons back. It’s not fun.

The loss aside, I thought the Eagles did show some fight in spite of their situation. After opening the game to the Bengals in a 29-0 hole, it wouldn’t have been too surprising to see the team spiral downward. But they came out swinging and had a chance to win the game at the end, but the unfortunate truth is they are simply too banged up and lack too much talent at receiver and cornerback to be genuinely competitive at this point in the season. So for now, we can take solace in the fact that we still have a first-round draft pick. And hey, there’s always the Flyers.

So now onto the rankings. A full archive can be found here.

Crunching The Numbers Rank Index, Week 14

The Falcons have now climbed all the way up to third after their big win over the Rams. What makes this even more impressive is that their score differential (the biggest factor in my formula) is tighter than the Broncos and Seahawks, both of whom are ranked lower. Green Bay has also almost clawed their way back to the top ten after bottoming out at twenty-seven in Week 11.

Okay, so that’s all great. What about the Eagles?

Why the Eagles are 16th

Hey, look at that! Dead center! The Eagles continue to slip in the midst of their four-game losing streak. Their struggles can largely be attributed to Carson Wentz and the defense. For his part, Wentz is turning the ball over too much (2.4 interception percentage, league average is 2.2; he also plays a hand in the egregious 1.6 fumbles per game). He’s also not pushing the ball down the field (6.1 YPA) but it’s not like he has anyone to throw it to. On the defensive side, the turnovers are starting to dry up (1.5 per game against a season high of 2.0 per game in Week 7; league average is 1.4). Their pass defense has also become laughable; their YPA allowed of 7.3 is among the worst in the league, ahead of only New Orleans (7.4), Cleveland (7.5), Green Bay (7.5), and Oakland (7.6). Simply put, this was always a flawed team with middling talent that played above average in the start of the season and has now regressed to the mean in the worst way.

Week 15 Reconnaissance: Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are a “sneaky” good team of sorts this year, ranking seventh in this week’s edition. Their strength is far and away their defense, where they average 1.9 takeaways per game, allow only 6.5 yards per pass attempt, and give up only 35% of their third down conversions. Add in the fact that they are playing in Baltimore, and you can basically count out any sort of offensive resurgence.

The Ravens’ offense is a much different story. The ELITE Joe Flacco is only averaging 6.1 yards per attempt and the running game is anemic at 4.5 first downs per game, one of the lowest marks in the NFL. They do pass protect well (4.32 sack percentage against a league average of 5.79) and are modest custodians of the football, however. If the Eagles are to win this game it will be with their defense. Should the Ravens find any traction when they have the ball it will be a long game, especially since the Eagles’ offense is unlikely to have much success.

Notes

Don’t tell the Bills the Eagles have a bad offensive line, they’re giving up sacks on 9.55% of dropbacks... The Raiders are winning almost entirely with turnovers, as their other statistics (outside of pass protection) are either only average or slightly above... The Cowboys, who have largely forced their opponents to play catch-up with the passing game all season, give up an incredible 81% of their touchdowns to passes.