You know the drill by now; it’s another Philadelphia Eagles stats preview. As always, I’m working with my podcast partner Shane Haff who podcasts for BGN and has some great designs that will make this article easier to follow. All stats are from Sports Info Solution, FTN Fantasy, and ESPN. This is a BIG one and I’m nervous. Let’s get into it.
The Eagles’ offense has crept up to number 1 in shotgun rate in the league. Everything else remains pretty consistent. You know I am waiting for them to keep running 21 personnel...
The defense looks a little worse every week when you look at those rankings. The interesting shift over the past few weeks has been the move to more single-high coverage. This seems to have occurred since the move for Kevin Byard. I wanted to look this up in more detail, and it turns out I was right!
This is a pretty dramatic shift, and I’m interested to see if it continues. They see Byard as a good matchup against tight ends, and I’m guessing we see some George Kittle vs. Byard this week.
Wanted to check if the stats back up something I've noticed on film...— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 30, 2023
Before the Kevin Byard trade (weeks 1-7): 74% two-high shell (2nd), 20% one-high shell (31st).
Since the Kevin Byard trade (weeks 8-12): 47% two-high shell (18th), 48% one-high shell (13th).
This offense is... extremely good. This could be a shootout. Those basic offense numbers are a bit of a joke. Everyone knows the 49ers love 21 personnel, but it’s pretty incredible that they are the most efficient offense in the league right now from 12 personnel, and they only run it on 13% of their snaps! This would seem like a week where the Eagles may want to play with an extra linebacker, but without Zach Cunningham, that seems very unlikely. I’m expecting to see a lot of 5-1 and 5-2 fronts this week. I’m a little nervous about Christian Elliss having to play this week, and I wonder if we see some more 5-1 on early downs to try and limit the number of snaps he needs to play.
The good news is that this 49ers defense is nowhere near as dominant as they were last year. They are much better when they stack the box, but they still prefer to have a light box, so the Eagles need to take advantage of this. They don’t blitz a great deal either but they are very successful when they do.
This is a really big test for the Eagles. This feels like the game between the two best teams in the league right now, and the 49ers offensive numbers are extremely good. The Eagles need to take advantage of the 49ers below average run defense and I think they really need to commit to running the ball this week. I don’t think a good second-half performance will be good enough this week, and the offense will need to be ready to go immediately.
Once again, the EPA numbers show the 49ers are extremely good at everything except stopping the run. I really hope the Eagles show a willingness to commit to the ground game this week.
I think Brock Purdy is a fantastic fit for this 49ers’ offense, but if you can get them to 3rd and long situations consistently, then Purdy can try and force it and make mistakes. Purdy is not going to do what Josh Allen did to them this past week on 3rd and long. The Eagles’ defense on 3rd down has been so disappointing all season. The defense has flaws, but they have enough talent to be better than the 29th-ranked defense on 3rd down. It’s been a consistent issue throughout the year, and I still think they play too much man coverage on 3rd down. I’d really like to see some more triangle/box coverages, especially against a team like the 49ers who have the weapons to take advantage of man coverage. CMC vs. the Eagles linebackers is giving me nightmares already...
Remember when the Eagles were bad in the red zone? They are up to 5th now! The turnaround has been incredible. Sadly, the defense remains bad in the red zone. The defense has some talent, and has had some really good performances this year, but ranking 29th on late downs and 28th in the red zone isn’t a great look.
Outside of the two Cowboys games, this is the game I’ve had circled on my calendar all season. I’m excited, but also very nervous.