Well, this game suddenly feels quite important after last week's loss! As always, using Sports Info Solutions. Here we go!
The Eagles continue to run more and more 13 personnel each week and they are now up to the 3rd highest rate in the league. It’s only 9% of the plays, but I just rarely see a positive play come from it. I looked it up to check, and Hurts is 8/13 for 88 yards which is OK. In the run game, the Eagles have 42 rushes... for 66 yards! That’s 1.5 YPC. I am guessing a lot of that is the red zone, so I only included plays outside of the red zone, and the Eagles are 32 rushes for 52 yards. That’s 1.7 YPC. The Eagles need to stop running from 13 personnel.
The Eagles played a stacked box a lot against the Commanders. Before that game, the Eagles had 50 snaps with a stacked box which was 27th in the league. They are now 15th with 103 snaps! That is a huge increase, the Eagles basically doubled their usage in one single week. The idea Gannon did not try and stop the run by stacking the box is just not true (as I pointed out in my film room).
This is a heavy 11 personnel but you do have to watch out for the 21 personnel. Without Nyheim Hines I imagine they will run a lot fewer 21 personnel.
I was surprised to see the no-huddle numbers because I normally think bad offenses would want to slow down the game. But not the Colts! It’s also surprising to see the play-action so low as they love to run the ball.
This is interesting too, I expected a Frank Reich offense to run a lot of screens but they do not! It’s also interesting to see that they do not run into stacked boxes at all. Despite wanting to commit to the run, they will only run against light boxes. Let’s see if they choose to run it this week if the Eagles commit to stacking the box again. My guess is that they will!
This is pretty easy to analyze! The Colts will go nickel or base, not much else to see here! With no Dallas Goedert, maybe we’ll see the Eagles start to go empty more with 4 wide receiver sets to try and create a matchup on a safety/linebacker.
It’s a Gus Bradley defense! Stack the box and play single-high! This is actually slightly unfair as the Colts do play a lot more two-high than Bradley used to, but it’s still a single-high defense. The Eagles will have to throw the ball this week.
It’s mainly a cover-3 defense as I mentioned above and in typical Gus Bradley style, the Colts will barely ever blitz. The Colts will flood the underneath zones and Hurts may have to be willing to hold the ball in the pocket until someone comes open.
Eagles Offense vs. Colts Defense
Well, the Colts' defense is way better than I realized. Look at those EPA numbers, this is a good defense. They are outstanding against the run which is not a surprise as it’s a single-high defense, but the pass defense numbers are good too. For an old-school cover3 heavy defense, to only give up 193 yards in the air per game is really impressive. They have a good sack rate and the only thing they haven’t done well is force the offense to turn the ball over. This will not be an easy day for the Eagles' offense and it will be another chance for them to prove that they are an elite offense. I really hope we see a lot of aggressive downfield shots to AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith and they take advantage of the single-high.
Eagles Defense vs. Colts Offense
On the other hand, the Colts' offense is bad. Last week they looked better with a healthy Jonathan Taylor and a real quarterback at quarterback, but it’s still a bad offense. To see a team with Jonathan Taylor at 31st in EPA per rush is absurd. This is a good chance for the Eagles' run defense to get back to form but it is worth noting the Colts did run the ball well last week. The big number here is the giveaways and sack rate. The Eagles should be able to get pressure and force errors from this offense.
2 Key Matchups
Get Pressure on Matt Ryan
I know getting pressure on every opposing quarterback is obvious, but Matt Ryan’s numbers with and without pressure are pretty crazy. With no pressure, Ryan is 176/226 (78%) for 1702 yards (7.5 YPA) with 8 TDs and 2 INTs.
In comparison, when pressured, Ryan is 48/99 for 528 yards (5.3 YPA) with 2 TDs and 7 INTs (most in the league by 2!) and has also taken 25 sacks with is 6th. If the Eagles pressure Matt Ryan they should stop this passing attack. He’s basically a different player at this stage of his career when under pressure, but can still play when he’s kept clean.
Throw the Ball on 1st Down
As I’ve discussed, this is a heavy single-high defense and they are excellent against the run on early downs. Teams running on the Colts on 1st down have 640 yards on 155 carries (4.1 YPC). This is pretty good defense overall.
However, teams have had a lot of success throwing on the Colts on 1st down. Teams passing on 1st down are 86/118 (72%) for 996 yards (8.4 YPA) with 5 TDs and 2 INTs. That 8.4 YPA is a bad number from a defensive point of view and the Eagles should look to take advantage of that.