Weekly Stat Roundup: Eagles in the Red Zone, Massive Differentials, and Pressure without Blitzing
The Eagles are 3-0 and we’re 17.6% of our way through the regular season. It’s not the most robust sample size ever, but we’ve got more to work with as we explore some numbers coming off the Tampa win.
1. red zone inefficiency
The Eagles have a red zone scoring percentage of 81.8, which means they bag a touchdown or field goal about 4/5ths of the time. That’s 22nd in the NFL, bottom half, after finishing 6th in the NFL with a 91.5% number last year.
2. discrepancies inside the 20
To take it a step further, the Eagles have run the ball 23 times in the red zone, which is 3rd most, while passing the ball just 11 times, which is tied for 23rd. Certainly they’re having much more success on the ground than through the air, and that number is skewed by the prevalence of the tush push, which is their go-to goal line call. For some added context, they’ve entered the red zone 11 times total, which is a top-half NFL number this year, so there’s a big discrepancy in their red zone entries vs. how many points they’re actually coming away with.
3. still pounding the rock
It doesn’t take a statistician to point out the Birds’ ground success, but the numbers look lovely after three weeks. The Eagles are 2nd in the NFL with 113 rushing attempts, 2nd with 557 rushing yards, 2nd with 185.7 rush yards per game, 1st with 37 rushing first downs, and 5th with a 4.93 rush yards per carry number, which is skewed negatively on the back end because of the frequency of those short-yardage QB sneaks.
4. passing takes a back seat..
How much has the passing game suffered while the running game thrives? For starters, the Eagles aren’t throwing the ball much at all, just 47.2% total. That’s 31st in the NFL, in front of only Baltimore. It does skew a little bit when you consider that the Eagles are 4th in the NFL with a 12.6% RPO number, so a little more than one-tenth of their plays can’t be categorized either way, since there’s an option element. Our data does not have zone read numbers, so that’s something to consider as well, the existence of option plays without a passing element.
5. ..but it’s been adequate through three games
The passing game hasn’t exactly taken off, but it also doesn’t suck entirely, despite what you’ve heard in the media or read on social media. The Eagles are throwing for 6.9 yards per completion (14th) and have only four drops (bottom half). Jalen Hurts is credited with a 76.3 on-target percentage, 9th-best, so the data there is saying he’s putting the ball in a catchable spot on 3/4ths of his passing attempts. Most of these stats are average across the board. Not top-8, but not bottom-8 either. They could go for more 20+ yard gains through the air (only 8 through three games), and Hurts only has an individual passer rating of 84.5 (21st), but it’s more of a product of the Eagles simply committing to what works right now, and that’s the running game.
6. applying pressure
The Eagles actually have two players in the top 10 for individual pressures. Josh Sweat is tied for 5th with 10 pressures and Jalen Carter is tied for 8th with nine pressures. The only rookie with more pressures than Carter is Rams linebacker Byron Young. Otherwise the top 10 looks like a who’s who of NFL studs – Aidan Hutchinson. T.J. Watt, Myles Garrett, Micah Parsons, etc.
7. getting home
Through three games, the Eagles have the NFL’s 26th blitz rate, bringing 5 or more on only 20.9% of defensive snaps. Despite largely rushing four and protecting the back end, they have the NFL’s 9th-best defensive pressure % (27.1), so they continue to get home without having to blitz. This is a huge juxtaposition and continues the trend we saw in 2022 with Jonathan Gannon running the unit.
8. ancillary differentials
One of the things the Eagles have done better than anybody in recent years is win in ancillary categories. Case in point, they have the NFL’s fourth best play differential this season, going +37 when you parse the number of plays they’ve run against number of plays the opponent has run. It matches their lopsided time of possession differential, which is a whopping 38:22. Only the Cleveland Browns are doing a better job of controlling the clock and keeping opposing offenses off the field.
9. offensive personnel
The Eagles played a ton of 11 personnel in New England (3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB), but as the running game continues to thrive, that number is dropping significantly.
They are now at:
- 64.5% 11 personnel (14th)
- 27.1% 12 personnel (two tight ends, 10th)
- 7.5% 13 personnel (three tight ends, 11th)
Obviously they’re going more to Jack Stoll and Grant Calcaterra as they lean into the running game.
10. gambling nuggets
A couple of betting things to look at:
- the Eagles are 2-1 against the spread (two covers, one they did not cover)
- they have hit the over twice and the under once
- their average O/U number of 46.17 is the 7th-highest in the NFL
- they are one of just nine teams to be favored in all three games
Nothing crazy there, but a little bit to chew on ahead of Sunday’s game. The Washington line is hovering around 8.5 at the sports books, and they’re coming off a 14-point road win against an undefeated team.
All data from SportRadar/Pro Football Focus