Three Philadelphia Eagles Numbers That Matter For Packers Week
Here’s a look at three numbers that matter as the Philadelphia Eagles prepare to play the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football.
38.25 – The average points per game allowed by the Packers during their four-game losing streak.
As you can see, Green Bay’s defense hasn’t fared well this season. The Packers rank 27th in points allowed per game (27.6) and 27th in yards allowed per play (6.0).
Green Bay has especially struggled to prevent teams from moving the ball through the air on them. Dom Capers’ unit ranks dead last in yards allowed per pass attempt (8.1). The Packers rank second to last in average passer rating allowed (105.6).
Monday night’s game seems like a perfect opportunity for Carson Wentz to get back on track after going through some rookie struggles lately. It’s not like he has a ton of great receivers to throw to, obviously, but that might not even matter given Green Bay’s struggles. The Packers might be able to make the Eagles’ receivers actually look competent for once. Maybe this Green Bay secondary is exactly the kind of confidence booster that Nelson Agholor could use right now, though it’s not clear how much he’ll be playing, if at all.
Even if the Eagles receivers can’t do anything, per usual, Philadelphia’s tight ends could be a big factor in this game. Good stat here from Alex Smith (not to be confused with the Chiefs’ quarterback).
Packers are one of only four teams in the NFL to allow 700+ receiving yards to opposing TEs. This is an Ertz, Celek and Burton kind of game.
— Alex Smith (@Alex_SmithPHI) November 25, 2016
The pressure will be on Wentz to move the ball through the air because the Packers have defended well against the run. Green Bay’s defense ranks tied for seventh in yards allowed per rush attempt (3.8). Philadelphia ran the ball well against Atlanta in their last home win but they might not be able to replicate that strategy on Monday night. Eagles leading rusher Ryan Mathews is dealing with a knee injury and might not play. Veteran rusher Darren Sproles is expected to play but he suffered a rib injury last Sunday.
The Eagles are currently averaging 24.1 points per game this season but that figure goes up to 27.0 when accounting for home games only. The Packers, meanwhile, are allowing 32.4 points per game on the road.
Green Bay is 1-4 in away games this season while the Eagles are a perfect 4-0 at home. The Packers have been outscored 162 to 122 on the road while the Birds have outscored opponents 108 to 38 in four games at Lincoln Financial Field.
9.5 – The average points per game allowed by the Eagles at home this season.
The Packers are averaging 24.7 points per game, which ranks 10th in the league. That scoring figure drops slightly to 24.4 in Green Bay’s road games. Also note that the Packers rank tied for 14th in yards gained per play this year.
So for as much as the Packers’ defense has struggled, their offense still has the ability to move the ball and score points. Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in the league when he’s playing at his highest level, which is something he hasn’t done consistently this year. Still, defending Rodgers won’t be a cake-walk for the Birds.
“It’s tough,” said Jim Schwartz on defending Rodgers. “There’s a lot of carryover from last week with Russell Wilson. Puts a lot of stress on your defense from an ability to extend the plays. He’s made a lot of plays this year with his feet, including scoring touchdowns, getting first downs. Also creating time to make plays down the field.”
“He’s a guy that can throw the ball in really, really tight spots and I think it goes to … It’s another challenge to our guys that you have to keep competing. We had some similar situations early this year, you know, with Pittsburgh’s offense, Antonio Brown. He made some plays in the game. We were able to keep him out of the end zone. Julio Jones made some plays. We were able to keep him out of the end zone. If we do the same thing, if we take the same attitude in this game, it will serve us well.”
One reason the Eagles’ defense has played so well at home this year is due to the pressure they’ve been able to generate. Opponent quarterbacks having to deal with crowd noise has worked in the Eagles’ favor.
“Yeah, I think that does, that does play to it,” said Schwartz regarding his defense being able to hear the opponent’s snap count. “When you’re rushing the passer, that extra get-off means a lot. I think it also limits the opponent’s ability to audible easily, becomes more hand signals. Any time you’re playing at home, it’s better. You feed off the energy of the crowd. Our players do, here. And they also … Our fans also give us a distinct advantage.
“We saw that on the flipside last week in Seattle and I think that as we go and as we build, this is known across the league as a tough place to play, and I think so far this year we’ve been proving that.”
The Packers’ defense is so bad that the Eagles won’t have to totally shut down Rodgers in order to win this game. Schwartz’s unit just needs to keep him in check and prevent him from having a crazy good game. If the Eagles’ defense can do that, the Birds should be able to score enough points to win on Monday.
30.5 – The Packers allow the most average yards per kickoff return in the NFL.
The Packers’ defense isn’t their only glaring weakness. Green Bay has been the worst team in the league at defending kickoffs this season. The Eagles, meanwhile, lead the NFL in kickoff return average (33.7) and kickoff return touchdowns scored (2).
It’s true that Josh Huff, whom the Eagles released, played a significant part in the Eagles’ kickoff return success. But he’s hardly the make-or-break factor for that unit. Kenjon Barner returned three kicks for 114 yards against the Falcons a few weeks following Huff’s release. Rookie rusher Wendell Smallwood had an 86-yard for a touchdown earlier this season.
Even if the Birds don’t break a big one, Dave Fipp will be looking to make sure he’s helping the Eagles’ offense start drives with good field position. Green Bay only ranks 21st in kickoff touchback percentage (57.4%), so the Eagles should have opportunities to attack the Packers’ last-ranked coverage unit.
A few other special teams factors to consider in this game:
- Green Bay ranks 27th in specials teams DVOA.
- Packers kicker Mason Crosby ranks 13th in field goal percentage (18/21, 85.7%). Including two missed extra points, Crosby has only made 88.6% of his kicks (31/35) from 30-39 yards out. His longest made kick this year is a 46-yarder.
- The Packers rank dead last in punts downed inside their opponent’s 20-yard line.
This could be a game where the Eagles’ top-ranked special teams unit shines.