What We're Watching in Eagles-Falcons Game

LeSean McCoy could have success against the Falcons' 28th-ranked run defense. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)

Run, Shady, Run: Yeah, yeah, I know. Andy likes to throw the ball and the Eagles haven’t been all that effective running it lately. And the re-insertion of King Dunlap at left tackle probably won’t help that. McCoy has averaged just 2.5 yards per carry the last two games. But the thing is, the Falcons are really, really bad against the run. They’re 28th in rushing yards allowed (143.8 per game) and 31st in yards allowed per attempt (5.1).

Oh Those Turnovers: The numbers don’t bode well for the Eagles. The Falcons are third in the league in turnover differential (plus-10) and the Birds are tied for 30th (minus-9). The Falcons already have forced 17 turnovers in their first six games, which is the same number of times the Eagles have coughed it up (8 interceptions, 9 lost fumbles). The Eagles have won just one turnover battle this season and their defense has just two takeaways in the last four games.

Shorten The Field: Thanks to an unproductive return game and a defense that isn’t forcing turnovers, the Eagles’ offense has spent most of the season playing on a long field. Their average starting field position is the 24.7 yard line. They’ve started at their own 40 or better just twice in the last 43 possessions. They haven’t started a drive in their opponent’s territory since Week 2. Of their 10 touchdown drives, just two have covered less than 70 yards.

What Happens In The Red Zone Stays In the Red Zone: A strength v. strength matchup. The Falcons are fourth in the league in red zone offense, converting 16 of 25 trips inside the 20 into touchdowns (64.0 percent). The Eagles’ defense is ranked third in red zone proficiency, allowing 7 TDs in 20 inside-the-20 challenges (35.0). The Eagles, meanwhile, are tied for 26th in red zone offense (42.1) and have converted just 8 of their last 19 red-zone opps. But the Falcons are ranked 27th in red zone defense (64.3), so there is hope.

Melting Matty Ice: The Eagles haven’t sacked a quarterback since Week 3. Opponents have been keeping in extra blockers and quarterbacks have been getting the ball out lickety split. No doubt, new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has some ideas on how to end the sack log jam get some bodies on Matt Ryan. More blitzing? Overloads? Lining up a linebacker or two in the ``A’’ gap to take the focus off the defensive ends? Stay tuned.