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Crunching The Numbers: Week 15

The top teams jockey for position in the home stretch

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Baltimore Ravens Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Full disclosure: I did not watch the game. I went to a concert and drove back to good ol’ Pennsylvania for the holidays. Given that it was a one-point loss, it looks like I missed a good but ultimately disappointing game. On a side note, if you’re ever in Plantsville, Connecticut for any reason, check out the Hop Haus. I got a double IPA there called “Han Shot First” and it was delicious.

But I digress. Let’s see what the rankings look like this week. A full archive of previous posts can be found here.

Crunching The Numbers Rank Index, Week 15

New England is starting to really assert itself as the best team in the league. The rest of the top four remain unchanged, but Denver fell all the way from fifth to ninth after getting shellacked by the Patriots. Seattle, conversely, rebounded after their terrible loss to the Packers by jumping up from tenth to seventh. The Ravens moved up to sixth for beating the Eagles - speaking of which...

Why the Eagles are 15th

Look at that, they moved up one spot! Progress, right? At this point in the season, there isn’t much more to say about the Eagles that hasn’t already been said. Things they do relatively well: run the ball and force turnovers. Areas where they struggle: the passing game, on both sides. So let’s call it a day by giving credit for a meaningless one-spot bump to a one-point game.

Week 16 Reconnaissance: New York Giants

The Eagles will be seeking their first divisional win when they play the Giants this week on the pointless Thursday Night Football. This is probably Doug’s last real chance this season to show he can beat a division rival since the Cowboys will most likely be resting starters in Week 17. The Giants, to their credit, have at least proven they are a respectable team by coming in at eleventh in the rankings, even if they are not quite as good as their 10-4 record indicates.

The strength of the team is undoubtedly their defense. They are above average in third down defense (36% vs. an average of 39%) and turnovers (1.5 per game vs. an average of 1.4) and have a formidable pass defense (6.3 YPA allowed against an average of 6.8). This has bailed out their offense, which is performing below average in YPA (6.6 to 6.8), rushing first downs per game (4.3 to 5.8), fumbles per game (1.5 to 1.3), and interception percentage (2.7% to 2.2%). For the Eagles to break their losing streak, the easiest path to victory is to get a lead early, preferably two scores. While the Eagles’ defense has struggled, the Giants haven’t exactly been firing on all cylinders either. Of course, with half the offense either injured or lacking in talent, asking them to build a two score lead right out of the gate is unreasonable.

This could very well be the sixth straight agonizing loss for the Eagles. But we root for them anyway, because we’re the best fans on the planet and the Giants are a garbage pile of a franchise.

Notes

As I have done in previous seasons, there will be no “notes” section for the last three weeks. With fourteen games played, we generally know who teams are and diving into stats won’t tell us anything new. Have a happy and healthy holiday, everyone!