The Philadelphia Eagles (2-2) will take on the New York Jets (0-3) in a Week 5 game at Lincoln Financial Field this Sunday. Let’s take a closer look at the Eagles’ opponent.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Jets fans were hopeful that their team would take a step forward after watching a 4-12 campaign in 2018. They were feeling good about their promising, young quarterback Sam Darnold — now paired with new head coach Adam Gase — heading into his second season.
Things were looking good for the Jets as they got out to a 16-0 lead at home over their AFC East rival Buffalo Bills in Week 1. Since then, though, it’s all been downhill. The Jets blew their lead in a 17-16 loss. Things got much worse when it was discovered that Darnold contracted mononucleosis and was ruled out indefinitely. Veteran backup quarterback Trevor Siemian suffered a season-ending ankle injury in his first game subbing for Darnold, leaving the Jets with 2018 sixth-round pick Luke Falk to start under center. Not ideal!
The Jets predictably lost games to the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots with Darnold out. New York enjoyed a bye in Week 4 but now they’re staring 0-4 in the face with a trip to Philly this weekend.
- Is this bad?
Jets Offense Rankings:— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) October 1, 2019
Total yards per game: 32nd
Points per game: 32nd
Yards per play: 32nd
1st Downs per game: 32nd
3rd-down efficiency: 32nd
Rush yards per attempt: 29th
Yes. Yes, that is very bad.
- Missing Darnold obviously factors into the Jets’ awful offensive numbers. The Jets should be improved if he’s able to play this week. It’s not perfectly clear if he will be able to suit up, though. Darnold only returned to football activity this week and he still hasn’t been cleared for contact as of Wednesday. One would think the Jets have to at least prepare for a situation where it’s Falk starting once again.
- Speaking of Falk ... who is that, exactly? The Titans originally selected Falk with a sixth-round pick (No. 199 overall) in the 2018 NFL Draft. Tennessee cut him prior to the 2018 season and he was claimed on waivers by the Dolphins before ending up on injured reserve. Miami waived Falk earlier this year in May and Gase put a claim in on the quarterback he had familiarity with. Falk began the 2019 season on the Jets’ practice squad but was called up following the news of Darnold’s illness.
- Falk’s numbers through two games played: 32/47 (68.1% completion), 296 yards (6.3 yards per attempt), 0 TD, 1 INT, 76.2 passer rating. Seven sacks taken. No rushing stats. Even a struggling and iinjured Eagles secondary should be able to limit Falk’s success.
- Le’Veon Bell — once a rumored Eagles free agent target — is the Jets’ leading rusher with 163 yards through three games. He’s averaging a mere 2.9 yards per carry, which is awful. The Eagles, meanwhile, rank third best in opponent rushing yards per rushing attempt at 3.1. With Falk potentially starting, the Jets would ideally like to lean on their ground game. It’ll be tough for them to do that against Philly’s stout run defense, though.
- Jamison Crowder is the Jets’ leading receiver. The Eagles obviously have familiarity with him from his time in Washington. Orlando Scandrick will likely be matching up against him in the slot, so that could get ugly if Scandrick is truly cooked at this stage in his career.
- Temple alumnus Robby Anderson — whom the Eagles reportedly tried to trade for last season — is the Jets’ best deep threat. He leads the Jets in 20-plus receptions with ... two. Man, this offense is depressing.
- Starting tight end Chris Herndon will serve the final game of his suspension this week. The Jets’ top tight end in Herndon’s absence has been Ryan Griffin, who has ... four receptions for 15 yards. Yikes.
- The Jets’ starting offensive line consists of left tackle Kelvin Beachum, left guard Kelechi Osemele, center Ryan Kalil, right guard Brian Winters, and right tackle Brandon Shell. This isn’t a good unit; Pro Football Focus ranks the Jets 28th in pass blocking and 28th in run blocking. This could be a week the Eagles’ defense finally racks up some sacks.
- The Jets’ defense is less depressing than their offense; New York actually ranks 13th in defensive DVOA. The Jets rank 17th in opponent yards per play and 18th in opponent points per game.
- The Jets’ defense is coached by former BountyGate culript Gregg Williams. So, don’t be surprised if the Jets get chippy.
- The Jets haven’t been great at generating pressure. PFF ranks New York’s pass rush dead last in the league. The Jets’ 1.7 sacks per game rank tied for 25th. Jets defensive linemen/edge rushers have combined for just 1.5 sacks in three games. The other 3.5 sacks have come from inside linebackers.
- The projected return of 2019 No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams should help the Jets’ defensive line. He was an absolute beast at Alabama. Williams missed the last two games with an ankle injury.
- The Jets rank sixth best in opponent yards per rush attempt so the Eagles might not be able to run all over them as easily as they did against the Packers in Week 4.
- C.J. Mosley is one of the best middle linebackers in the league, when healthy. It looks like his nagging groin injury will keep him out this week, though.
- New York’s secondary features some talent. Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are former high draft picks who both make PFF’s top 14 graded safeties. Carson Wentz will have to be aware of those games.
- The Jets’ corners? Not as good. The highly paid Trumaine Johnson got benched. Darly Roberts’ is PFF’s 10th worst graded corner and has committed five penalties in three games. It’s looking like the Eagles will be without DeSean Jackson but the trio of Alshon Jeffery, Mack Hollins, and Nelson Agholor should be able to have success.
JETS SPECIAL TEAMS
- The Jets rank 18th in special teams DVOA.
- Kicking issues have led the Jets to sign former Penn State kicker Sam Ficken, who hasn’t yet attempted a kick with New York. Ficken is 2/3 on career regular season field goal tries (miss from 30-39 range) and 4/5 on extra point attempts.
- The Eagles are 10-0 in 10 all-time game against the Jets.
- Adam Gase is 13-24 in his last 37 games as a head coach.
- The Jets are 2-7 on the road since the start of 2018.
- Former Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas is the Jets’ general manager.
Whether Darnold plays or not — and I’m guessing he won’t — the Eagles’ defense should be able to keep the Jets’ offense pretty quiet. I know Philadelphia might only be down to Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones, Orlando Scandrick, and Craig James at cornerback but the Eagles’ defensive line should be able to take some heat off them.
The Eagles’ offense might not dominate this Jets defense but they should get enough offensive possessions to earn a comfortable lead in this game.
There’s really no good reason for the Eagles not to win convincingly this week.