Three Philadelphia Eagles Numbers That Matter For Ravens Week

The Eagles are going to have to rely on Carson Wentz's arm this week.

Ryan Mathews. (Jeff Fusco)

Ryan Mathews. (Jeff Fusco)

Here’s a look at three numbers that matter as the Philadelphia Eagles prepare to play the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

75.5 – The Ravens allow the least rushing yards per game in the NFL.

Baltimore boasts the best run defense in the league. That’s not good news for the Eagles. Philadelphia is undermanned at the running back position. Veteran offensive weapon Darren Sproles might miss this week’s game if he doesn’t pass through the NFL’s mandatory concussion protocol. Rookie rusher Wendell Smallwood was just placed on injured reserve.

If Sproles can’t play, the Eagles will be left with an uninspiring group of rushers to work with. Eagles leading rusher Ryan Mathews always gets hurt. Kenjon Barner has never been trusted with a big workload and he was a healthy scratch against Washington. Undrafted rookie free agent Byron Marshall was only called up from the practice squad earlier this week.

Even if the Eagles’ rushing talent was favorable, Philadelphia is still dealing with a lot of offensive line issues. The Birds will be forced to start their fifth string option at right tackle, rookie interior blocker Isaac Seumalo, if Allen Barbre can’t play this week. Josh Andrews would be the starter at right guard if Brandon Brooks gets sick again on short notice before kickoff. It’s not an ideal lineup up front.

If the Eagles aren’t able to run the ball effectively, which seems likely, that means Philadelphia will once again have to rely on Carson Wentz’s arm. Wentz played a great game against Washington — arguably his best of the season — but having the rookie quarterback throw all day is hardly a sustainable recipe for success.

Baltimore ranks tied for first in takeaways this season with 25. If the Ravens can force Wentz to throw a lot, they’ll create opportunities to pick him off. Wentz has thrown seven interceptions combined in his last four starts.

6.1 – Baltimore ranks tied for 25th in yards per pass attempt.

Baltimore’s offense has been very conservative this season. Despite ranking seventh in passing yards per game, the Ravens only rank 25th in yards per pass attempt. That suggests there’s been a lot of check-downs and dump-offs, which isn’t dissimilar to what the Eagles’ offense has done this year.

The Ravens rank 24th in points per drive. In other words, their offense isn’t very good. The Ravens represent a similar version of what the Eagles have been this season (at Philly’s best): bad at offense, good at defense, good at special teams.

The Ravens have some offensive players with big play potential in Mike Wallace and Steve Smith Sr. But they’re not consistently explosive, and that might be good news for an Eagles defense that’s been vulnerable to giving up big plays. If the Ravens get too conservative, this game could turn out to be an ugly defensive struggle. Jim Schwartz is in need of a strong defensive outing after his unit hasn’t performed well in recent weeks.

5,000,000 – The Eagles haven’t been officially eliminated from the playoffs!


“At 5-8, the Eagles are still mathematically alive for a playoff spot. According to FPI, they face 5-million-to-1 odds. The scenario: The Eagles must win out, the Falcons, Redskins, and Packers must lose out. The Vikings must beat the Packers, but lose their other 2 games. The Buccaneers must beat the Panthers in Week 17. The Saints must lose to the Cardinals or Buccaneers. And the Cardinals must lose at least once.”

So … you’re saying there’s a chance?

Probably not.

Even if the Eagles win, there’s a really good chance they’ll officially be eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday. With that said, there’s still a number of rooting interests for Eagles fans.

Most importantly, the Eagles need the Vikings to lose in order for that 2017 first-round pick to become more favorable. Minnesota plays at home against the Colts this week, so they might actually win.

In order to prevent the Vikings from making the playoffs and making the first round pick even less favorable, Eagles fans should be pulling for the Packers to beat the Bears. Fans should also be rooting for the Buccaneers to beat the Cowboys. Tampa Bay currently ranks as the sixth seed in the NFC playoff picture.

A Bucs win also hurts Washington’s playoff chances. Washington plays the Panthers this week, so Eagles fans will be rooting for Cam Newton’s side in order to hope the Redskins don’t make the playoffs.

In an ideal world for Eagles fans, the Giants would also lose to the Lions this weekend. Seeing New York collapse down the stretch would be ideal if it meant the Buccaneers and Packers end up as the wild card seeds. Such a scenario would ensure only one NFC East team makes the playoffs (the Cowboys) and that Minnesota doesn’t. Detroit winning also gives them a chance to steal home field advantage away from Dallas, though that’s not necessarily likely.

Here’s what Eagles fans should hope the playoff picture looks like when the regular season ends.

1 – Detroit Lions
2 – Seattle Seahawks 3 – Dallas Cowboys
4 – Atlanta Falcons
5 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6 – Green Bay Packers