Thanks for the feedback on last week's piece. I’m working with the wonderful Shane Haff who podcasts for BGN and has some great designs to make this article easier to follow. As always, I’ll give you my analysis based on film study and the stats. All stats are from Sports Info Solution, FTN Fantasy, and ESPN.
Let’s start with the Eagles as always. After a strange first week, the Eagles are playing a lot more 12 personnel now. The offense has been much better of late, and there are many different ways to win in the NFL, but I can’t help but look at the motion and play-action numbers and worry a little. I think this offense should be much better at play-action than it is, considering the run game. I hoped that with a new OC and the addition of DeAndre Swift that the Eagles screen game would improve, but it hasn’t yet.
It’s pretty incredible how everyone would agree the Eagles’ defense is more aggressive this year, and has been fantastic against the run, yet it remains a light box two-high defense. It’s a huge credit to this staff and front 7 that this team is so good against the run despite playing a two-high shell 77% of all snaps. The Eagles do not blitz more this year, in fact, they blitz less, but they do a much better job with disguise and being more unpredictable in terms of who is rushing the quarterback.
This offense is very interesting. It’s a shotgun spread offense with a heavy dose of RPOs and motion. The zone running game has been very successful for Washington this year, and unlike in previous years, they won’t run into stacked boxes.
If the Eagles want to go 12 personnel and run the ball a lot, is Washington going to stay in nickel? This suggests they will. Washington has played a lot of Dime this year, so I wonder if we will see a few 3rd and medium runs to try and catch them out. They also play a lot of two-high shells and don’t stack the box too often, so I’m predicting that the Eagles will probably try it run it a lot this week.
The Eagles are quite clearly the better team on paper. The Washington offense is effective at running, but the passing game looks pretty poor. Overall, Washington looks like a below-average team who were brought back down to earth last week by a very good Bills team.
This will be the first real test of the Eagles' run defense, which has been exceptional this season, albeit against some very poor running games. I’m also looking forward to watching this Eagles passing game against a pretty solid Washington defense.
As usual, this is the area where the Eagles have a huge advantage. I think I might be writing that sentence a lot this week. The Washington offensive line isn’t awful in pass blocking, despite the number of sacks Sam Howell takes, as many of the sacks are down to him holding onto the football.
This is another area where it feels like the Eagles have a major advantage. If the Eagles can stop the run on early downs, then I am excited to watch this Eagles defense on 3rd and long. Sam Howell has shown some promise, but the Washington offense is brutal on late downs. The Eagles' defense, on the other hand, has been really good on late downs this season.
Washington is 2-1, and I feel like they have a lot of talent, but the numbers suggest that the Eagles are clearly the better team and should take care of business in this one. However, there are no easy wins in the NFL! I certainly feel like this one will be more competitive than the Bucs game was.