Friday, August 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Eagles vs. Jets: 15 numbers that matter

Here are 15 numbers to keep in mind when looking ahead to the Eagles' matchup Sunday vs. the Jets:

Eagles vs. Jets: 15 numbers that matter

Eagles tight end Brent Celek is quietly having a good season. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Eagles tight end Brent Celek is quietly having a good season. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Here are 15 numbers to keep in mind when looking ahead to the Eagles' matchup Sunday vs. the Jets:

44 - The number of big-play rushes (10 yards or more) by LeSean McCoy, most in the league, even after last week's struggles. No other running back has more than 32 (Houston's Ben Tate). The Jets enter the game allowing 3.9 yards per carry, seventh-best in the league, and Football Outsiders has their run 'D' ranked fourth, so McCoy faces another test this weekend.

39 - The number of times McCoy's been stuffed (stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage), according to STATS.com. That's the most of any running back in the NFL. I don't know the exact number, but McCoy had fewer than 19 stuffs in 2010. The new blocking scheme and McCoy's running style have allowed for more big plays, but also more negative plays, this season.

113.3 - The number of yards McCoy has to average in the Eagles' remaining three games to break Wilbert Montgomery's record for rushing in a single season. Montgomery finished at 1,512 in 1979. McCoy is at 1,172, which is 162 yards behind Maurice Jones-Drew for tops in the NFL.

5.0 - That's Shonn Greene's yards per carry average in his last three. He's also averaging 98.3 yards per game in that stretch. Overall, Greene is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and is 18th in the league with 868 rushing yards. The Eagles' defense ranks 20th against the run, according to Football Outsiders. The Birds are allowing opponents to run at a clip of 4.4 yards per carry, which is tied for 21st.

6.7 - Mark Sanchez's yards per attempt, which ranks 22nd in the NFL. In other words, this is not an explosive passing offense. Opposing QBs have an 89.9 rating against the Eagles, seventh-highest in the NFL. The Eagles have given up 23 passing touchdowns, tied for fourth-most. Football Outsiders ranks the Eagles' pass defense at 13th in the NFL. Sanchez has never completed 60 percent of his passes in a season, and he's averaged just 6.63 yards per attemtp for his career.

67.57 - The opponents' red-zone scoring percentage (TDs) against the Eagles' defense. The Birds have actually moved out of last place in this category and are now 30th in the NFL (Buffalo and Indy are behind them). The Jets, meanwhile are the top-ranked red-zone offense in the league, converting touchdowns 71.79 percent of the time. Sanchez has thrown 17 touchdowns and just one pick inside the opponents' 20. On the flip side, the Eagles' offense ranks 22nd (48.15 percent), and the Jets' defense ranks 15th (48.57 percent) in the red zone. Michael Vick is still tied with Josh Freeman for most red-zone interceptions (four).

2 - That's where the Eagles rank in terms of defending opposing tight ends, according to Football Outsiders. The Birds are allowing just 42.3 receiving yards per game to tight ends. This is one area Juan Castillo's group has improved this season. And that's important this week because tight end Dustin Keller is the Jets' leading receiver with 47 catches for 620 yards. Behind him are Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress. Holmes inked the big contract last offseason, but is averaging just 43.4 receiving yards per game, which ranks 55th in the NFL. Holmes and Burress have seven touchdowns apiece.

3.9 - The yards per carry allowed by the Titans' defense in 2010. Why is that important? Because Jason Babin was one of their primary defensive ends, and Jim Washburn was their defensive line coach. But by all accounts, Tennessee was still able to stop the run. Somewhere along the way, in this season of disappointment, Babin became a target of criticism for his ineffectiveness against the run. But the truth is, the linebackers and defensive backs are far more responsible for the Eagles' struggles. I wouldn't argue that Babin is good against the run, but he's come to the Eagles and given them exactly what they paid for: a complement to Trent Cole. Babin leads the team in sacks (15) and hurries (40). He goes all-out on every play, and you never have to question his effort. There have been a lot of problems on defense. Babin is not one of them.

42 - That's the number of sacks for the Eagles' defense this season. The Birds are second to only the Ravens in adjusted sack rate (which takes into account pass-rushing opportunities and other factors). Looking ahead to next year, this is a unit that should be the strength of the defense, returning Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson, Trent Cole and Darryl Tapp. Brandon Graham is expected to be healthy too. The Eagles will have to make decisions on Antonio Dixon, Derek Landri, Trevor Laws and whoever else they add in the draft/free agency. Landri should be someone they absolutely try to bring back. He has a team-high seven tackles for loss and is a great fit in the defensive tackle rotation. As for this week, the Jets' offense has allowed 29 sacks (tied for 14th-fewest) and 57 QB hits (tied for 10th-fewest).

25 - The number of sacks the Eagles have allowed this season (11th-fewest). The offensive line turned in perhaps its worst performance of the season against the Dolphins, but sacks are down considerably from last year, when the Eagles gave up 49. The Jets' defense is tied for 18th with 29 sacks and is 11th in sack rate. Former Bills first-round pick and Nittany Lion Aaron Maybin leads the Jets with six sacks. Calvin Pace has 4.5. And linebackers David Harris and Bart Scott have 4 and 3.5 respectively.

23.1 - Vick's completion percentage against the blitz last week. He completed 3 of 13 passes for 23 yards against extra pressure. Vick was also sacked four times against the blitz. Vick, Marty Mornhinweg and Howard Mudd need to have a better plan this week for attacking the blitz if they want to beat the Jets.

29 - The number of passes completed by opposing quarterbacks when throwing at Darrelle Revis, according to Pro Football Focus. Per PFF, QBs are 29-for-70 for 420 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions when throwing at Revis. That's a QB rating of 42.6. We'll see if Vick, DeSean Jackson and company decide to challenge Revis Sunday or just stay away from him. My guess is they'll take some shots.

17 - The Eagles' special teams rank, according to Football Outsiders. Their strongest unit has been kickoff coverage, where the Birds rank second. Their worst unit has been punt return, which ranks 29th. The Jets, meanwhile, rank fourth overall. They have the top kickoff coverage unit in the league and the second-best kickoff return unit. The Jets' punt coverage unit is fourth.

31 - The number of Eagles giveaways this season, tied for a league-high with Tampa. The Birds are -12 in turnover differential, second to only the Redskins. The Jets, meanwhile, have 24 takeaways (tied for seventh-most) and 24 giveaways (eight-most).

78.3 - Brent Celek's catch rate (receptions per targets) in the last seven games. In the first six games, that number was 43.3 percent. Celek is quietly having a pretty good season with 49 catches for 517 yards, including eight grabs of 20+ yards. He had some tough blocking assignments last week against the Dolphins, but overall, has really improved that aspect of his game. The Eagles should probably look to him more in the red zone; Celek has just two touchdown catches on the season.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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