By Dylan MacKinnon
And just like that, the Eagles were eliminated. They hung on longer than a four win team should be able to, but with the 37-17 loss to the Cowboys, their playoff dreams have died. Their game vs Washington next week will have playoff implications, just not for them. They can only play spoiler for Washington to help either the Giants or Cowboys win the division.
There are a ton of questions to get into this off season. Should the Eagles move on from head coach Doug Pederson? Should they make Jalen Hurts the permanent starter? Should Howie Roseman get to keep his job? And that’s just the obvious ones. It will be a long off season full of tough decisions.
For now, lets look at some numbers from this game and the prior 14 ones that tell the story of how we got here.
Jalen Hurts has completed 7 passes of at least 30 yards in his three and a half games as the starter. Wentz completed 14 passes of 30 yards or more in his 11 and a half games. Stretch Hurts production over the same amount of games Wentz had, it comes out to 23 plays of 30 yards or more. Even removing the way Hurts produces with his legs, this is still a more explosive offense with Jalen Hurts under center. He is producing almost twice the long passing plays as Wentz does, averaging almost two passing plays of 30 or more per game.
In Jalen Hurts three starts, the team averages only 4.3 pts per game in the second half. In contrast, they average 18 pts per game in the first half. This disparity is odd considering it is the opposite from when Wentz was in. In Wentz’s last 7 starts, the team averaged 16.3 pts per game in the 2nd half of games, and only 4.1 pts per game in the first half of games. By that math, if the Eagles started Hurts, but put Wentz in the second half, they’d average 34.3 pts per game, which would lead the league. On a serious note, this is now a trend with the offense collapsing in the 2nd half. Tough to tell what’s to blame, but three games of this is enough to see it’s an issue. Something about the 2nd half of games is hurting the play of Jalen Hurts.
Eagles rank 24th in points per game. Over Doug’s tenure as head coach, this is where they rank every season in points per game.
Doug is a offensive coach. One would except with a offensive guy at the helm, that would be the area they excel. But so far, there has only been one season where they are even top 10, and 3 seasons where they are in the bottom 50th percentile. Over these 5 seasons, the average of their ranking in pts per game is 18th. You could blame that on QB play if you want, but the coach has to take responsibility for them regularly being a mediocre to bad offense.
Fifteen games in, Jalen Reagor is 10th among rookie WRs in receptions with 27. He is also 11th in yards with 341, and 11th in Touchdowns with only one. He was the 4th WR off the board. In his defense, he did only play in 10 of the 15 games. But even if you stretch his numbers over those 5 other games as if he did play, it doesn’t get much prettier. You could double his stats, and he would be 8th in TDS, 6th in yards, and 6th in receptions.
In that situation where his production was doubled, there would still be four WRs taken after him that had more catches and yards. It’s only one year, so it’s unfair to call him a bust yet. But watching him struggle to crack the top 10 in these stats is tough. Especially when the man drafted a pick after him is 1st in two of those categories, and 2nd in TDs.
I don’t think we need to compare the numbers of JJ Arcega Whiteside to the WR they took him over. Those are numbers Eagles fans are far too familiar with.
With the loss, the Eagles move to 6th in the draft. Of the teams higher in the draft than them, three won. The Jets and the Bengals, and the Panthers. The Jets are locked in at 2nd overall, so that does not impact the Eagles potential draft stock. The Panthers lost, so the Eagles jump them. With the Bengals it is interesting because it would go to a tiebreaker, with both currently at 4-10-1.
First tie breaker is head to head, which is obviously another tie. Then it goes to common opponents. Eagles currently have two wins in games among common opponents, while Bengals have only one. To pass the Bengals, the Eagles would need to lose next week to Washington, and have the Bengals beat the Ravens. In that case Bengals will just have a worse record, and a tie breaker won’t be needed.
Eagles have a chance to get to as low as 3rd overall. That would require the Texans, Bengals, and Falcons to all win week 17. As mentioned, Bengals will play the Ravens. Beyond that, Texans play the Titans, and Falcons play the Buccaneers. If they win next week, they can get as high as pick 10. Meaning their range stretches from 3 to 10, but staying at 6 seems to be the most probable outcome.