The Eagles got back to a bit of championship “normalcy” last Thursday night. By normalcy, I mean that they got ahead early against an inferior opponent and played stifling defense to ensure that any hope of the Giants coming back was thwarted.
The devil’s advocate would point out that the Giants are not exactly the New England Patriots, and their offense consists of Saquon Barkely and (enter sound of crickets chirping here). But playoff caliber teams are supposed to win these kind of games, which was a departure from what the Eagles did in losses to Tampa Bay & Tennessee.
And while the Giants look to have a great talent at running back, they may rue the day that they chose Barkley over a quarterback that could have been their future for years to come.
Their fellow brethren at MetLife Stadium, the New York Jets, chose Sam Darnold with the 3rd pick in the 2018 NFL draft with the hope that he will be their franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future, and if that comes to fruition, it will only serve to rub more salt in the Giants’ wounds. Since the mid-1980’s, it has been the Giants that have enjoyed most of the NFL success in the Big Apple, but their fateful decision on draft day could change that.
Speaking of franchise quarterbacks, since returning from injury, Carson Wentz seems to look more comfortable as each week progresses, and he seems to have developed an uncanny connection with Alshon Jeffery, his #1 wide receiver. The signing of Jeffery to be Wentz’s go-to guy before the 2017 season seems to have been a great move by general manager Howie Roseman, and the improvement of Nelson Agholor since his disappointing rookie season has really solidified this receiving corps.
One of the main areas of focus, especially after the Eagles lost to the Minnesota Vikings two weeks back, has been the run-pass ratio, with some criticizing the Eagles for their heavy dependence on the passing game.
The problem with just looking at the numbers is that they are often predicated by the situation in the game, as well as the down and distance.
Against the Vikings, the Birds, because of dumb pre snap penalties, were often in 2nd & long and 3rd & long situations, which skewed the run-pass ratio more toward the pass.
During the Giants game, I did my own “modified” run-pass ratio tracking by looking only at plays that weren’t passing downs (1st & 10 or less, 2nd & 6 or less, 3rd & 3 or less). In this analysis, I also excluded 1) The Eagles last drive before halftime (as they were passing to get into position to kick a field goal) as well as the 2) Last 10 minutes of the game (which was skewed toward the run since the game was all but won).
Out of 37 total plays that fit the aforementioned scenario, I counted 21 passing plays & 16 running plays, for a 57% pass ratio. Anything over 60%, and the Eagles would have seemed too pass happy, so 57% was definitely an acceptable percentage in my opinion.
Unfortunately, with no Eagles game last Sunday, I played the role of bonafide “couch potato”, hoping for some outside help against our NFC East foes. But it never showed up.
The Panthers couldn’t manage to pull out a win against the Redskins, while the Jaguars didn’t show up against the Cowboys, which means that a logjam currently sits at the top of the division, with the Redskins at 3-2 and the Eagles & Cowboys each at 3-3.
This week, the Panthers come to Philadelphia, playing the last of three straight games against an NFC East opponent. Carolina hopes to avoid a losing streak, and expect their quarterback, Cam Newton, to be flashing his goofy smile regardless of what the game situation may be.
The Birds have been great at home under Doug Pederson, and it looks like they may have righted their ship after last week, so I’m predicting a Birds win, 34-17.
The Eagles at 4-3 sounds much better than 3-4, and would make their first regular season game in London all the more special. But first things first…
Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all games on Sunday and in EST unless otherwise noted):
Titans at Chargers (London) 9:30 AM CBS
Patriots at Bears 1:00 PM CBS
Saints at Ravens 4:05 PM FOX
Cowboys at Redskins 4:25 PM CBS
Bengals at Chiefs 8:20 PM NBC