Patriots

Know Your Opponent: Eagles offense and defensive totals from PFF

(Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

In an attempt to get up-to-speed as fast as possible on the Patriots next opponent, we asked our friends at ProFootballFocus.com to put together a stats pack on the Eagles. Make sure you check out their PFF Edge and PFF Elite products to give you insight, and an edge with your fantasy team. The PFF guys really know the game, so make sure you follow them at @PFF.

Eagles offensive stats

Philadelphia QB Nick Foles struggled under pressure right until the NFC Championship Game. Foles had a passer rating of just 23.8 under pressure in the regular season, which was the worst figure in the NFL by a significant margin. The Philadelphia signal caller completed just 13 of his 34 attempts for 117 yards and no touchdowns under pressure in the regular season while he also threw two interceptions on these plays. However, against the Vikings, Foles completed 7 of his 10 attempts for 139 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions under pressure. As a result, he had a passer rating of 152.1 on these plays, which was by far the best among the four quarterbacks on Championship Weekend.

The Eagles relied heavily on run/pass option plays (RPOs) all season as they led the league with 181 RPO plays in the regular season while the NFL average was just 63 plays. However, while the team averaged 4.9 yards per RPO plays with Carson Wentz, the Eagles averaged just 3.7 yards per RPO plays with Foles under center in the regular season.

Running backs have been the weakest link in the Eagles’ pass protection this season. Philadelphia’s running backs allowed a pressure on 19 percent of their pass blocking plays, which was the second highest rate in the NFL. Corey Clement, LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Wendell Smallwood combined to surrender 16 total pressures on 97 plays.

Philadelphia wide receiver Nelson Agholor had a breakout season and established himself as one of the best slot receivers in the game in 2017. Agholor led the league with eight receiving touchdowns from the slot and ranked third with 752 receiving yards from the slot in the regular season.

Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery did not have an easy job of catching footballs in 2017. Jeffery saw the lowest rate of catchable targets among all wide receivers in the NFL as only 53.1 percent of passes going his way were catchable. Furthermore, 42 percent of Jeffery’s targets were contested where he had to fight through contact at the catch point, which was the highest rate in the league in the regular season.

Philadelphia’s offensive line have been among the best all season, although they faced a drop-off after the injury of left tackle Jason Peters. While the unit allowed one pressure on every 5.1 snaps between Week 1 and Week 7 (3rd in the NFL), they surrendered one pressure on every 3.6 snaps after Peters’ injury (21st in the NFL). However, the Eagles offensive line is the only unit besides Pittsburgh’s offensive line to not allow a sack in the entire postseason so far.

Eagles defensive stats

The Eagles have been the best team in the NFL in getting after the quarterback as they generated pressure on 41 percent of pass plays in the regular season, which was the best rate in the NFL. Furthermore, bringing pressure with just four pass rushers has been one of the main strengths of the Eagles defense this season. Philadelphia generated pressure on 38.0 percent of the plays when they did not blitz, which was the highest rate in the NFL over the regular season.

The Eagles defense has been especially stout on third downs. Opposing offenses converted third downs for first downs or touchdowns only at a 31 percent rate, which was the second lowest in the NFL in the regular season. Furthermore, Philadelphia’s defense recorded nine interceptions on third downs, which was the second most in the league.

Philadelphia’s defensive line has been very balanced all season without any weak links. This is also due to edge defender Vinny Curry’s breakout season. Curry recorded 17 quarterback hits in the regular season, which was the third most among edge defenders in the league. In addition, he recorded a sack or a hit on 6.0 percent of his pass rushing plays, which was the 14th best rate among edge defenders in the NFL.

Although the Eagles defense blitzed on just 23 percent of pass plays (10th lowest rate in the NFL), when they did they preferred to bring heavy blitzes. Philadelphia’s defense sent 6 or more pass rushers after opposing quarterbacks 65 times in the regular season, which was tied for the most in the NFL.

The Eagles’ success on defense was largely due to the terrific play of veteran Patrick Robinson in the slot. Robinson allowed a passer rating of just 65.2 in the slot, which was the third best in the NFL. However, he was even better on third downs as opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of just 32.2 when targeting him in the slot on third downs, which was the lowest in the entire NFL.

While Malcolm Jenkins is listed as a safety, he plays a similar role for the Eagles as Patrick Chung does for the Patriots. Jenkins lined up at safety on just 24 percent of his plays, while he spent 42 percent of his time at linebacker and 30 percent of his snaps came at slot cornerback. In addition, he also played as a cornerback on some plays as he lined up wide on 4 percent of his plays.