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Three Eagles numbers that matter for the Chargers game

Previewing this week’s matchup.

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NFL: Miami Dolphins at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a look at three numbers that matter as the Philadelphia Eagles prepare to play the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4.

146.7 - Rushing yards per game allowed by the Chargers, which ranks second most in the NFL.

The Chargers have not been very good at stopping the run.

In Week 1, C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles combined for 121 yards on 30 attempts. In Week 2, Jay Ajayi went off for 122 yards on 28 attempts. In Week 3, Kareem Hunt gained 172 yards and one touchdown on just 17 attempts.

This is all very good news for an Eagles running game that struggled during the first two weeks of the season. The Birds recently lost their best overall running back, Darren Sproles, for the season, so facing a weak run defense could come in handy.

The Eagles pounded the rock against the Giants in Week 3 to gain 193 total rushing yards (and two touchdowns) on 39 carries. I wouldn’t expect the Eagles to run the ball that much against the Chargers, but this shouldn’t be like the Chiefs game when LeGarrette Blount didn’t even get a carry.

Blount and Wendel Smallwood will have an opportunity to step up in Sproles’ absence. Smallwood is more of a direct Sproles replacement while Blount could see some extra carries with the veteran scatback out. Both players ran well against New York so the Eagles should look to get them involved early and see how effective they turn out to be. Corey Clement could also see some more playing time.

The reality is that the Eagles aren’t suddenly going to be a run-heavy team on a weekly basis. That’s not their identity. But sometimes it’s nice to be able to take the pressure off of Carson Wentz’s arm. If Wentz is throwing well, the Eagles don’t need to force the run. If he isn’t, the option should be there for them.

23.5 - Combined sacks by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram in their last 15 games.

I used 15 games because that’s how many games Bosa has played so far in his NFL career.

23.5 sacks in 15 games is ... checks calculator ... a lot. #Analysis. And that’s just for two players.

The Eagles are going to need really big games from offensive tackles Jason Peters and Lane Johnson this week. It’s unrealistic to expect both of them to keep Bosa and Ingram quiet all game long, but they can’t let Wentz get killed out there.

It’s encouraging that Peters and Johnson played well against the Giants in Week 3. Peters has quietly been good all season. He hasn’t allowed a single sack and he’s only allowed four pressures in 113 pass block snaps, per Pro Football Focus. That rate ranks eighth out of 56 tackles this season. Johnson, meanwhile, has been even better in pass protection. He ranks sixth out of 56 with only four pressures allowed in 137 pass block snaps.

It goes without saying the Eagles need Peters and Johnson to continue to bring their A-game today.

Another consideration here, which relates back to the first number in this post, is that the pass rush can be neutralized if the run game is effective. Don’t give them extra opportunities to sack Wentz.

50.4% - The Eagles’ chances of making the playoffs, per Football Outsiders.

The Eagles actually rank third in the division when it comes to playoff chances despite being first in the standings.

Football Outsiders has Washington first at 52.1% and the Dallas Cowboys second at 53.0%. So it’s not too big of a difference at the top. It’s a much bigger drop down to the New York Giants, who rank last, at 4.4%. (Lol Giants.)

Losing to the Chargers wouldn’t be the end of the world since L.A. is an AFC opponent. The Eagles would still be 2-0 in the division/conference, which is important.

But 3-1 sure looks a lot better than 2-2. And beating the Chargers should be far from impossible. The Bolts have lost eight in a row. They’re 10-29 in their last 39 games. They’re not a good football team and haven’t been for some time now. Get the job done, Birds.

As for the other NFC East teams, the Cowboys play the Los Angeles Rams in Dallas. This is a big game because it’s the highest leverage matchup in the NFL this week. According to ESPN, the Cowboys’ playoff odds drop by 20% with a loss. Root hard for the Rams, who are coming off extra rest, in this game today. The Dallas defense will notably be without top defender Sean Lee.

Washington doesn’t play until Monday night against the Chiefs. A loss in Kansas City would drop their playoff chances by 17%. Let’s hope Andy Reid takes care of business at Arrowhead.

The lowly Giants are staring 0-4 right in the face with a road game against the Buccaneers. New York is virtually already done, but losing would crush their hopes even more. With a loss, the Giants will be 0-4 in the conference along with 0-2 in the division.

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