Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Eagles vs. Giants: Behind the Numbers 2013

It may not have been a must-win for the Birds this week, but I'd say it was a must-win for the Birds this week. With a win and a Cowboys loss, the Eagles are tied for first place in the NFC East at 2-3, which is big since they have the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL (as I mentioned in the last BTN). Let's see what the numbers uncover about the Eagles 36-21 win over the New York Giants:

Believe it or not, the Giants were actually winning this game as late as 13:56 into the 3rd quarter after scoring 2 touchdowns. But after the score was 21-19 in their favor, the Eagles took over the game in dominating fashion, scoring 17 unanswered points (thanks to two 4th quarter touchdowns by Nick Foles). The numbers certainly support the Eagles here, as they bested New York in total plays, net yards, average gain, rushing yards, first downs, and third down percent. The only offensive category in which the Giants bettered the Birds was passing yards, which makes sense being down in the 4th quarter couple with their awful rushing game. Philadelphia also committed less penalties: 8 for 88 is still a cause of concern, but the Giants had 12 for an absurd 136 yards. The Eagles did not turn the ball over for the second consecutive game (and third all year) while forcing 4 turnovers (3 Eli Manning INTs). Luckily, they capitalized by scoring 17 points as a result. Clean games will often result in wins, as evidenced here.

Not much bad to say about the offense here, other than the usual of not capitalizing on drives and leaving points off the board. Only 3 touchdowns to 5 field goals, and the longest one was 40 yards. The Eagles had a measly 40% red zone efficiency; had they managed to punch it in the other 3 times, this game would be a blowout. Regardless, Philly managed to put up their most points all season, thanks in large part to Michael Vick's legs in the first half and the stellar play from DeSean Jackson. While the Birds didn't put together many long drives, they did have a drive last nearly 5 minutes in the 1st quarter, and 2 others last over 3 minutes (improvement). This was reflected in the time of possession battle won by the Eagles, as seen above. LeSean McCoy was basically a non-factor for once.

Take it with a grain of salt since it was the Giants, but the defense didn't play poorly at all. Eli Manning is still a quality quarterback, and the Eagles defense was able to pick him off on 3 consecutive possessions in the 4th quarter. Although New York's running game had been nonexistent, Philadelphia still prevented them from having a breakout game by limiting them to 3.1 yards per carry. Their pass defense left room for improvement; they stopped Victor Cruz (no help to my fantasy team) but allowed Hakeem Nicks to rack up 142 yards receiving. Since the offense is still potent, it is important for the Eagles to force turnovers - they showed they could do that with the 3 interceptions mentioned above plus a fumble. So not bad overall, but room for improvement for sure.

-With Michael Vick out for the week with a (hopefully mild) hamstring injury, Nick Foles will start. He looked good this week, so I'm not too concerned about his play against Tampa Bay. Plus it's against Tampa Bay.
-DeSean Jackson earned another NFC Offensive Player of the Week award, after racking up 132 yards and a touchdown on 7 catches.
-What a catch by Brandon Boykin! After getting called for some penalties (BS or not), he made up for it with that great interception of Eli.
-I was critical of Alex Henery, but he was 5-5 this week in field goal attempts so I can't complain.
-Still too many punts! (6 of 14 real possessions)
-While on special teams, can the Eagles can ANY kind of kickoff or punt return? Sheesh.
-Time of possession still perfect at 5-0 so far!

(Eagles at Giants PDF)

Last Week at Broncos: L, 52-20
Next Week at Buccaneers: Sunday, 1pm

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