By Dylan MacKinnon
As ugly as the first half of this game was, the second was just as fun. Eagles took a 3-3 tie to the locker room at the half, and blood pressures were spiking all across the Delaware Valley. The Eagles’ offense looked flat-out terrible. Drops, bad passes, fumbles. But whatever Nick Sirianni did in the locker room, it worked. The Eagles came out and rattled off 31 straight points. Three touchdowns on offense, a field goal, and an Alex Singleton pick 6. We even got treated to a Big Man TD courtesy of Lane Johnson.
Eagles ended up winning 34-10 and advanced to 8-7. So how did the Eagles turn a 3-3 tie into a blowout win, and how does this impact their playoff run? Let’s look at the 5 Numbers that Tell That Story.
Over this stretch of the Eagles’ success, starting with the Lions, the Eagles have scored on 51.9% of their drives. If you take out drives where they purposely ran out the clock and didn’t try to score, that becomes 54.7%. Despite some inconsistency, they have been incredibly efficient over these last 8 games. They are scoring more than every other drive. Today on drives that counted, they scored on 5 of 10 drives. They opened the game with 5 nonscoring drives. But finished with 5 in a row, plus a drive at the end where they were just running clock.
Despite all the inconsistency, they are one of the better offenses in the league over this span. And they are mostly doing it on the ground. Can that continue into the playoffs when they face better teams? It remains to be seen. But right now they are playing very well on offense.
Under Nick Sirianni, the Eagles are averaging 26.5 pts per game. Good enough to have them right around the top 5. In the past 3 seasons with Doug Pederson, they averaged only 21.8 pts per game. A difference of 4.7 pts per game. Which is good for nearly 80 more pts total per season.
This is not a shot at Doug Pederson. It was not all his fault. The Eagles now have a better O-line than Doug usually had. And the Eagles have multiple TDs on defense to pad those numbers a bit as well. But it is a difference big enough we have to address it. Nick Sirianni has had his issues. But since he pivoted to a run-first offense, this team has been scoring at a high level. Sirianni deserves credit for that. He can still improve in a bunch of areas. But for his first year, he has done a damn fine job of turning this offense around.
The Eagles have rushed for 919 more yards than they have allowed. They have 2,448 rushing yards (1st) and have allowed 1,569 (11th). In the last 8 games, that number is even better. They have 1,631 in that span and have allowed only 638. Basically allowing only 80 rushing yards per game, while rushing for 204. Both of those are 1st in the league.
And there is no arguing with the results of their own rushing yards. You can say they have played bad teams, but they haven’t necessarily played bad rush defenses. New Orleans, Washington, and Denver all have hovered around top 10 and top 5 rushing defenses. But The Eagles gashing them on the ground have pushed those teams down those rankings. The Eagles dominate the run game on both sides of the ball. They are a elite rush attack, and are pretty good at stopping the run as well. The question will be if the defense can hold up when they have to play better QBs in the playoffs.
Boston Scott now has 8 career TDs against the Giants. He only has 4 vs the other 30 teams. I don’t know what it is about the Giants that wakes Boston Scott up, but he is a genuine Giant Slayer. Which is ironic given how short he is. He had one in the Eagles’ first game against them this season and should have had a second were it not for an irrelevant hold. Today he added to his tally with what would eventually be the game-winning TD.
Provided Scott is still here next year, bet the house on him to score a TD the next time the Eagles play the Giants.
After the Eagles win, and a Vikings loss, they currently hold the 7th seed. If they win out, and with the Saints lose one game, or the 49ers win one game, they will be in the playoffs. But they may not even need to win out. They could clinch it by next Sunday night if these 4 things happen.
- They beat Washington
- The Vikings Lose to the Packers Next Sunday
- The Saints lose to either the Dolphins or the Panthers
- The 49ers beat the Texans
The reason they need the first two is obvious. But some might wonder why a Saints loss or a 49ers win are relevant. It is because there is still a chance at a 3-way tie between the Saints, Eagles, and 49ers. In that case, the Eagles may be the odd team out. So it is best to avoid that altogether. This is why a Saints loss and 49ers win matters.
If those 4 things happen they won’t even be relying on a Cowboys win in the Final Week to make the playoffs. The good news is those 4 things are not unlikely. The Packers are a very good team and will be the favorites over the Vikings. And the 49ers will also be the favorites vs the Texans. The only thing in question is a Saints loss. If the Eagles can take care of their own business, they may be waking up that Monday as a playoff team.