The rumors of the Eagles’ demise after their loss vs Washington, and some close wins around it were greatly exaggerated. Because now they are back to demolishing teams. They crush the Giants in the Meadowlands yesterday. Put up 48 points, vs the Giants’ 22. How did they pull off such a convincing win? Here are the 5 numbers that tell the story of their win in the Meadowlands.
The Eagles had a stretch where they really struggled to stop the run. To the point where pundits all over the place were claiming that the book was out how to beat the Eagles. Turns out those thoughts were a bit premature. Because in these last two games, and even in the Colts game, this run defense has been so much better. They for the most part shut down Jonathan Taylor. And they completely shut down Derrick Henry and Saquon Barkley. That is 3 of the best RBs in the league. The Giants running backs averaged just 3.4 yards per carry against the Eagles. Daniel Jones, and later Tyrod Taylor, has some success running on broken plays. But on designed runs, the Eagles shut down the usually dangerous Giants run game. It seems that the book on how to beat the Eagles may need to go back to the editor’s table.
The number 10 came up a lot this week. AJ Brown, Miles Sanders, and Jalen Hurts all scored their 10th TD this week. This is the first time the Eagles have ever had 3 different players all score 10 TDs. The Eagles have had good, even great, offenses in the past. But I can’t say if they have ever had an offense with this many options. Even the combination of LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin wasn’t this potent. And that doesn’t even include the 18 TDs from 6 other players including Devonta Smith with 5, Quez Watkins and Kenny Gainwell each with 4, and Dallas Goedert with 3. Oh and Miles Sanders and AJ Brown both reached 1000 yards, the first RB and WR to do that since Maclin and McCoy both did so in 2014.
The Eagles Defensive Line had their way all day. 7 sacks, 12 QB hits, and even more pressures. The Eagles hit Daniel Jones or Tyrod Taylor on 30.8% of the Giants’ passing downs. Nearly a 1/3rd of the time, they got to them. Jonathan Gannon takes a lot of flak, occasionally warranted, for not being aggressive enough. But what we have seen is that he actually likes to dial up pressure on 3rd and 4th downs. And it works really well. This defense leads the league in sacks now with 49. Only the Cowboys with 48 are within 10 sacks of them.
The Eagles’ offense is nearly impossible to stop in the red zone. They score a TD 73.91% of the time they get there. That is 2nd in the NFL. And the reason why is this rushing attack. Once you get in the red zone, defending the Eagles’ read-option run attack is nearly impossible. Teams have to defend Miles Sanders, Jalen Hurts, and several dangerous options at WR/TE and have no room for error. Oh, and they have the best run-blocking offensive line in the game. When the Eagles get into the Red Zone, chances are they are finding the end zone.
The Eagles are getting closer and closer to clinching the top seed. With 4 games left, their magic number to clinch it is 3. And it is just 2 to clinch a better seed than the Vikings. If they beat the Bears, and then the Cowboys, they clinch the top seed. Even if the Cowboys beat them, it would then take just 2 combined Eagles wins and Cowboys losses to clinch it. And we saw this week that the ESPN darling Cowboys are vulnerable even with Dak back at QB. The Eagles control their destiny, and there could be a bye week and home field in the playoffs under the tree for us after Christmas eve.