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Film Study

Film Study: A look at Doug Pederson's Eagles


The Giants play the Eagles on Thursday night in Philadelphia, trying to turn the tide of a rivalry that has seen the Giants lose seven straight and 20 of the last 24 matchups.

When The Eagles Have The Ball…

* The Eagles are about as injured as you can imagine. Here are players they are missing from their offensive depth chart at the start of the season:

Running Back: Miles Sanders

Offensive Line: Andre Dillard, Isaac Seumalo, Brandon Brooks, Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Jack Driscoll, Matt Pryor (COVID List)

Tight End: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert

Wide Receiver: Alshon Jeffrey, Jalen Reagor, DeSean Jackson (could play this week), Marquise Goodwin

Carson Wentz and center Jason Kelce are the only two projected starters this summer who were healthy at the end of last Sunday's game against the Ravens.

* All of those injuries are part of the reason that The Eagles are ranked 27th in the NFL averaging 329.3 yards per game, and 26th in the NFL averaging 4.92 yards per offensive play. Philadelphia is averaging only 5.26 yards per pass play, which is the second-worst number in the NFL.

* Carson Wentz is only completing 58.7% of his passes, which would be the lowest mark of his career. He sits as the 32nd of 32 qualifying quarterbacks (at least 14 pass attempts per team games played) in completion percentage. He is ranked 30th of 32 quarterbacks in quarterback rating (71.2) and 25th of 30 quarterbacks with a 51.1 QBR (ESPN's quarterback rating metric). He is third from the bottom in yards per pass attempt (6.0).

*Wentz is trying to push the ball down the field with a 9.8-yard average depth of target, which is tied for 11th-highest in the NFL amongst quarterbacks with at least 25 pass attempts. According to Pro Football Focus, on passes that travel 20 or more yards in the air, Wentz is only 9-of-33 for 322 yards with three touchdowns, three interceptions and a 60.2 quarterback rating. He will sometimes try to do too much, which has resulted in nine interceptions and five fumbles.

* Rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts has a small package of plays that the Eagles will use him on throughout the game. He has one completion for 18 yards and seven rushes for 49 yards. He has run several read-option plays this year.

* The Eagles have only run 25 screen passes this season, but they are very creative with how they set-up their running backs and tight ends on screen attempts. The Eagles run "12" personnel a league-leading 42% of the time. It will be interesting to see if that continues with injuries to Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Jason Croom and Richard Rodgers are their remaining tight ends along converted wide receiver Hakeem Butler.

* The Eagles gave the majority of their wide receiver snaps last week to Greg Ward, Travis Fulgham and John Hightower. JJ Arcega-Whiteside and rookie Quez Watkins also got 12-15 snaps. Fulgham, the Lions' sixth-round pick in 2019, has broken out the last two weeks with 16 catches for 227 yards and two touchdowns. DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery were limited in practice this week and there is a chance they play on Thursday night.

* Carson Wentz is being sacked on 10.6% of his dropbacks, which is the second-highest rate in the NFL. He is also being pressured on 38% of his dropbacks, which is the sixth-highest rate in the league. The Eagles are up to their 11th different offensive line combination since the preseason projection. The Eagles likely offensive line alignment this week will be:

LT: Jordan Mailata

LG: Jamon Brown

C: Jason Kelce

RG: Nate Herbig

RT: Brett Toth

* The Eagles only run the ball 31% of the time, which is tied for the second-lowest rate in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. Miles Sanders hurt his knee last week, and will not play Thursday night. Boston Scott, who gained 256 yards from scrimmage against the Giants in his two games last year, will likely get the majority of touches at the position.

* The Eagles' offense has been helped by their strong play on third downs, converting 45% of their opportunities (11th in the NFL), and their 73% red zone touchdown rate, which is eighth-best in the NFL.

When the Giants Have The Ball…

* The Eagles have been kept afloat this year due to the strong play of their defense. They rank eighth in the NFL in yards allowed per play (5.18) and 17th in yards per game (355). The defense is fairly healthy, though they will be without defensive tackle Malik Jackson (quad).

* The Eagles have allowed 29 points per game, which is ninth-most in the NFL. Their defense has been hampered by a poor turnover ratio. Philadelphia has 12 giveaways (tied for second-most in the NFL) and its -7 turnover ratio is second-worst in the NFL. The Eagles are ranked 20th in third-down defense (44%) and 27th in red zone defense (73%).

* The strength of the Eagles' defense is their defensive line. Perennial Pro Bowler Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave man the defensive tackle position with Jackson out, and Hassan Ridgeway rotates in off the bench. According to Pro Football Focus, Fletcher Cox has 1.5 sacks to go with three quarterback hits and 14 hurries this season. Hargrave has a sack and seven hurries.

* Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Derek Barnett, Genard Avery and Vinny Curry share the snaps at edge rusher. Graham leads the Eagles with five sacks and 16 quarterback hurries. He also has five quarterback hits and 26 total pressures, while primarily lining up over right tackles. Barnett has 2.5 sacks and 12 total pressures, while Sweat has three sacks and nine total pressures. Avery has eight pressures and Curry has three.

* The Eagles generate pressure on 38% of opponent's pass plays, which is the third-best rate in the NFL. Their 10.1% sack rate per pass attempt is the third-best in the NFL. The Eagles do not blitz a lot to generate that pressure, only sending extra defenders 15% of the time, which is the third-lowest rate in the league. They only use stunts 11% of the time, which is the fourth-lowest rate in the NFL. They use wide alignments to set up true 1-on-1 opportunities for their pass rushers, and trust them to win. They often do.

* Alex Singleton, Nathan Gerry, and Shaun Bradley rotate as the starting linebackers in the 4-3 scheme.

* The Eagles are primarily a man-defense team. According to Pro Football Focus, Philadelphia plays Cover-1 (man-to-man with a single-high safety) 43.3% of the time, with Cover-0 (man-to-man with no deep safety) just under 5% of the time. Only the Lions, Patriots, and Cardinals play a higher percentage of Cover-1 than the Eagles. According to PFF, 135 of their 187 Cover-1 looks featured press coverage. A mix of Cover-3, Cover-2, and Quarters (four-way zone) comprises the rest of their snaps in coverage.

* The Eagles brought in Darius Slay this of-fseason to be their top cornerback. According to Pro Football Focus, he has allowed 25 catches on 40 targets for 264 yards this season. Nickell Robey-Coleman is their primary nickel cornerback, though he had to play outside against the Ravens in Week 6. He has allowed 16 catches on 18 targets for 174 yards. Cre'Von LeBlanc replaced Robey-Coleman in the slot last week. Slay will occasionally travel with the opponent's top wide receiver.

* Safety Jalen Mills was forced into duty at cornerback after Avonte Maddox's injury, but he was moved back to safety in Week 6. Veteran Rodney McLeod is a steady hand as the team's starting free safety.

* The Eagles have not allowed a lot of big plays. Teams have only attempted 20 passes that travel at least 20 yards against them, which is tied for fourth-fewest in the NFL. Opponents have completed six of those passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns. Overall, the Eagles have allowed 35 plays of 15 or more yards, which is tied for 10th-most in the NFL.

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