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 another huge game and I’m nervous. Let’s get into it.
These numbers don’t change a great deal at this point in the season, so I wanted focus on the lack of motion once again this week. The Eagles are using motion at a significantly lower rate than any team in the league. The Eagles are using motion at the snap at 9%, and the team above them are at 12%. That’s a pretty dramatic difference. I have always said that more motion does not always equal good offense, but I would argue that at this point the Eagles have gone too far the other way. The great offenses in the league very effectively right now, and it’s just not a big part of this Eagles’ offense at all. I imagine this is something that the Eagles will look at carefully in the offseason.
These defensive rankings look worse every week. The numbers do not look good right now. The one thing that stands out to me more than anything, is the Eagles inefficiently when they stack the box or play a one-high shell. Since Kevin Byard joined the Eagles, they are playing more one-high coverages and the Eagles are just not good at it. I really want to see more cover-4 match style of coverage and this is something Ive been calling for all year.
Also, I think you all know this, but the Eagles suck at blitzing.
The Cowboys’ offense has been really good of late and it’s quite an interesting offense to look at. They do a lot of everything, including different personnel groupings, a lot of under-center runs (despite the fact they excel from the shotgun), a good amount of motion as well as a lot of play-action and rollouts.
The good news is that the Cowboys’ defense is not playing as well as it was last year. It’s a very talented defense, but they have some issues. Looking at the light box and stacked box numbers are really odd. The Cowboys are clearly focused on stacking the box, despite the fact that they aren’t very successful as a defense. They are much more successful when they use a light box, but they don’t use it that often. The Eagles’ coaching staff should be really happy when looking at this. I’ve been banging on about committing to the run, and I think if the Eagles can have a few successful runs early, this Cowboys defense will start to stack the box. This week could bring the return of ‘single-high, let it fly’ as the Cowboys trust their cornerbacks to win on the outside. When the Eagles get cover-1 man, I think they have a chance to create some big plays this week.
This Cowboys team is sadly more complete than the Eagles right now. The Eagles’ offense is as good as the Cowboys when you look at the numbers, but the Cowboys’ defense is clearly better than the Eagles’ defense right now. This is going to be an extremely tough game.
I know I write a stats piece every week. But I am a film guy at heart. I love looking at stats, but I know that stats should not create narratives and that we should use stats to support or challenge our narratives. With that in mind, I think it is absolutely insane that the Eagles are ranked as the best run-blocking unit in the league. The film over the past month doesn’t support that. Even if I disagree, it is clear that the Eagles have a good enough offensive line to be able to run the ball effectively.
This Eagles’ defense just gets worse and worse in the red zone. I’m a little surprised they rank 29th and not 32nd because I can barely remember a stop this defense has made in the red zone of late. The offense had improved of late, but they struggled this past week. The good news is that this Cowboys team isn’t great in the red zone, on both sides of the ball.
This Eagles’ defense is terrible on late downs, as you all know by now! The worrying news is that the Cowboys’ offense is extremely good on late downs. This could be a very frustrating game on defense once again.
Normally, I’d feel really good about the Eagles bouncing back after a bad loss. I think the Eagles will play well in this game and will be ready to go. But I am not too optimistic. This is going to be a really tough away game, and the Eagles are going to have to be at their best to get the win in this game.