Here’s a look at three numbers that matter as the Philadelphia Eagles prepare to play the New York Giants in Week 3.
10.1% - The sack rate allowed by the Giants’ offensive line, which ranks 26th in the NFL.
BREAKING: The Giants’ offensive line is bad. You don’t need numbers to know that. Case in point:
No words. pic.twitter.com/btsaBZLrpf— Alex Seixeiro (@alexfan590) September 21, 2017
But since this is a weekly post based on numbers, here we are. I promise I won’t use the Pythagorean theorem.
The Giants have allowed eight sacks through two games. That’s tied for the third most in the NFL. Manning’s 33.3% sack rate while under pressure is the highest figure in the league, per Pro Football Focus.
Ereck Flowers has been an unmitigated disaster at left tackle. The Giants’ No. 9 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft has allowed half of New York’s sacks by himself.
Making matters worse for New York is that their bad offensive line isn’t even at 100%. Starting right tackle Bobby Hart has been ruled out of this week’s game. This means the Giants are forced to put left guard Justin Pugh at right tackle.
It goes without saying that this is a matchup on paper that the Eagles figure to dominate. Philadelphia’s pass rush has been ferocious through two games. The Birds are one of only three teams in the league to generate both eight-plus sacks AND eight-plus quarterback hits.
An underrated aspect of the Eagles’ pass rushing prowess so far is how they’ve faced two good offensive lines. The Washington Redskins had the third best pass protection unit in 2016, per Football Outsiders. The Chiefs ranked 14th in 2016. It’s not like the Eagles have beaten up on a bunch of bums. But that’s exactly what they’ll have the chance to do this Sunday.
Regularly getting to Eli Manning will obviously be critical with the Eagles as they try to get by with a potentially depleted secondary. The Eagles could be down to their fourth string starter at safety next to Malcolm Jenkins if all of Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham, and Jaylen Watkins can’t play. 2017 third-round pick Rasul Douglas is slated to start at corner for the first time in his NFL career.
I’ve seen some Eagles fans suggest that mismatches on paper, like the Eagles DL vs. the Giants OL, don’t always translate to the games. “What’s supposed to happen” doesn’t always happen. There’s some truth in that, but I don’t know, guys. It’s hard not to feel good about this defensive line. Vinny Curry should be dominating Flowers. Derek Barnett is in line to notch his first NFL sack. Pugh is going to have a tough time dealing with Brandon Graham, who is off to another great start this season. Weston Richburg is a good center, but Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan are monsters in the middle.
The Giants’ running game is nonexistent so New York will be forced to throw a lot. The Eagles must take advantage.
Now, it’s not untrue that the Eagles suffer from some of the same issues as the Giants do. Philly has also allowed eight sacks through two games. The Eagles’ run game hasn’t been effective. New York also has a good defensive line, although their pass rush only ranks 20th by Football Outsiders. Potential new left guard Chance Warmack will be majorly tested in what’s expected to be his first start with the Eagles. I’m not saying this game is as simple as the Eagles’ defensive line dominating the Giants’ offensive line and Philly winning in a blowout. But I do feel like it’s a big mismatch that gives the Eagles a really good chance to win on Sunday.
137.2 - Passer rating allowed by the Giants when tight ends are targeted.
Stat courtesy of @Pat_Thorman.
Zach Ertz is off to a really great start in 2017. He ranks third among all NFL players in receiving yards. He’s proven to be a trusty target for Carson Wentz.
That shouldn’t change in this week’s matchups. New York is simply not very good at defending tight ends.
In Week 1, Jason Witten had seven receptions for 59 yards and one touchdown against New York. In Week 2, Eric Ebron led all Lions pass catchers with five receptions for 42 yards and one score.
The Giants will be missing starting middle linebacker B.J. Goodson in this game. That hurts their defense. New York could look to use Landon Collins, who matched up Ebron on Monday night, to guard Ertz. Collins himself admitted Ertz is the most challenging and competitive guy he had to defend last season.
He's a competitor, always going 110 percent. He's proved why he should be one of the highest-paid tight ends. Every time I lined up against him, he was giving it to me, and I had to make sure I gave it back. His route-running isn't superb, but he gets open somehow, and he has great hands. He goes up and attacks the ball, not letting it fall into his hands so that a DB can make a play on it.
Ertz has logged 90-plus receiving yards in three straight games, which is currently the longest active streak in the league. Wentz and the Eagles should be looking to extend that mark.
24% - The Eagles’ playoff probability leverage, per ESPN.
According to ESPN, the Eagles will have about a 69% chance to make the playoffs if they beat the Giants. That’s nice, but Philly’s chances will go down to around 45% with a loss. In other words, this is a pretty important game!
An Eagles win would mean the Birds are 2-1 overall with a 2-0 record in division/conference games. That’s a pretty good start to the season.
Burying the Giants would be a nice bonus. A loss for New York here puts the G-Men at 0-3 overall with a 0-3 record in conference games and a 0-2 record in division games. Then they have to play a road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4. It’s probably time to stick a fork in the Giants if they lose this Sunday.
The Giants know that their season is virtually on the line in this game. They figure to be desperate. If they aren’t, there’s an even bigger problem up there in New York.
The feeling here is that this game won’t be a gimme for the Eagles. It does have the potential to get ugly for the Giants if the Eagles’ defensive line is going to slaughter their o-line all game and force Manning into a billion turnovers. But the Eagles aren’t without concerns of their own when it comes to their o-line and the secondary.
A win here would be big. There’s a lot of pressure on Wentz and Doug Pederson to get it done.