Here’s a look at three numbers that matter as the Philadelphia Eagles prepare to play the Washington Redskins in Week 13.
78.6 - Colt McCoy’s career passer rating
McCoy is Washington’s starting quarterback for the remainder of the year due to Alex Smith suffering a gruesome, season-ending leg injury.
There are worse backups in the league, for sure, but McCoy isn’t exactly one of the best options. The 32-year-old signal caller is 7-19 in 26 games as a starter. He’s completed 60.3% of his career attempts for 5,908 yards for 29 touchdowns, 26 interceptions, and an aforementioned passer rating of 78.6.
Those are obviously bad stats. If you don’t believe me, let’s put those numbers in perspective. McCoy’s 6.6 yards per attempt would rank 32nd out of 35 quarterbacks this season. Same goes for his completion percentage and passer rating.
McCoy is turnover prone. In addition to his 26 interceptions, he has 20 career fumbles. That’s 46 combined interceptions and fumbles in 38 games played. Perhaps an Eagles defense that’s logged just eight takeaways this year — which ranks tied for second last in the league — could be due for some positive regression against McCoy, who threw three picks in Dallas last week. Some of McCoy’s throws in that game were truly awful.
Though he has some mobility, the 6-1, 220 pound McCoy is also sackable. Playing behind a Washington offensive line that’s missing both of their starting guards, McCoy has been sacked on 10% of his attempts so far (five times on 50 throws).
It’ll be as important as ever for Philly’s pass rush to have a big game. The Eagles did come up big in this regard against the Giants last week. They’ll have to do it again in order to protect a secondary that’s still dealing with a number injury issues. Hopefully the Eagles will soon get some good news on at least one of Jalen Mills, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, and/or Rasul Douglas.
On paper, at least, there’s hope that Jim Schwartz’s unit can turn in a solid performance. This Washington offense only ranks 28th in yards per play and 27th in points per game. And those figures were mostly generated with Smith playing. McCoy is obviously worse.
24th = Philadelphia’s run defense in DVOA
Given that McCoy isn’t good, Washington would sure love to take the ball out of his hands and run the ball instead. And they just might be able to do that this week.
Philadelphia’s run defense isn’t very good. In addition to ranking 24th in DVOA, the Eagles rank 27th in opponent yards per rush attempt (4.9).
Here’s what opposing running backs have done to Schwartz’s defense in the last three weeks:
Ezekiel Elliott: 19 carries for 151 yards (7.9) and 1 TD
Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara: 29 carries for 176 yards (6.0) and 2 TD
Saquon Barkley and Wayne Gallman: 18 carries for 126 yards (7.0) and 1 TD
COMBINED: 66 carries for 453 yards (6.9) and 4 TD
This week, the Eagles will be going up against the backfield trio of Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson (if he’s healthy enough to play), and Kapri Bibbs.
Peterson has been Washington’s lead horse this year. He has 183 carries for 758 yards (4.1) and six touchdowns on the season. The 33-year-old still has some juice in his legs. Then again, he only has 56 carries for 171 yards (3.05), two touchdowns, and one fumble in his last four games. So maybe the workload is catching up to him a little bit.
When healthy, Thompson is a dangerous player in the Darren Sproles mold. The Eagles experienced his capabilities first-hand last season when he had 10 runs for 42 yards and nine receptions for 78 yards and two total touchdowns last year in two games against Philly.
As for Bibbs, he’s been very efficient in a small sample size. His 20 attempts have gone for 101 yards and three scores.
The Eagles MUST do a better job of containing the run this week. Failing to do so will make life too easy for McCoy. Philadelphia’s defense line needs to dominate a Washington o-line that’s banged up. It’d also help if the tackling was improved.
26th = Washington’s run defense in DVOA
The Eagles aren’t the only team with a bad run defense in this matchup. If you go by DVOA, Washington is actually worse than Philadelphia in this regard.
This weakness could be good news for the Eagles, who were finally able to get an effective ground game going in Week 12.
Here’s what opposing running backs have done to Greg Manusky’s defense in the last four weeks:
Ezekiel Elliott: 26 carries for 121 yards (4.7) and 1 TD
Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue: 28 carries for 132 yards (4.7) and 0 TD
Peyton Barber = 13 carries for 61 yards (4.7) and 0 TD
Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith = 23 carries for 148 yards (6.4) 1 TD
COMBINED: 90 carries for 482 yards (5.1) and 2 TD
After giving him 22 carries against the Giants, the Eagles might want to ride Josh Adams hard once again. The undrafted rookie is clearly the hot hand in Philly’s backfield. In his last five games, Adams has 49 carries for 262 yards (5.3) and two touchdowns. He’s shown the ability to break through tackles and get yards after contact.
Running the ball and controlling the clock could help to hide an Eagles defense that’s been recently decimated by secondary injuries. The offensive line really needs to step up again to make it happen. Washington’s front is tougher than New York’s so it won’t be as easy this week.
Of course, the run game alone won’t get the job done. The Eagles could also use a strong outing from Carson Wentz, who put up big numbers against Washington in 2017. In those two games last year, Wentz completed 67% of his attempts for 575 yards, six touchdowns, two interceptions, and a 113.7 passer rating. His performance against Washington on Monday Night Football at the Linc was really eye-opening for a national audience. Maybe he has a repeat performance in him. It certainly wouldn’t be good if he gets upstaged by McCoy.
The Eagles likely don’t even need to be an offensive juggernaut to win on Monday night. Washington is 0-5 this season when their opponent merely scores more than 17 points. Philadelphia should be able to cross that threshold.