It took some time for Nick Sirianni to change his mind regarding leaning on the ground game, but doing so has led to the Eagles becoming one of the best rushing teams in the league, as they are only one of three clubs to have posted 175+ rush yards in three straight games this season (per Stathead).
Offensive line coach/run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland, who is arguably the best positional coach in Eagles history, is one of the reasons Sirianni’s mindset change has worked, because when you have someone the caliber of Stoutland coaching up a group of talented offensive linemen, it means that you can do a ton of things in the ground game.
Sirianni took full advantage of this ability to vary his run play calls in the win over Detroit, but he has since gone to another level in this area. In the win over Denver, Sirianni largely stuck with variations of an inside zone blocking scheme, but he also called a counter, two counter type plays where the center did a kickout block (a variation of the standard counter where the backside guard does that block), an end around, two pin and pull sweeps, an option pitch by Jalen Hurts, a middle zone, power zone reads, and two power zone read plays where the ball carrier went opposite of the pulling linemen.
This type of rush play variation attacks the defense in so many ways that it is tough for defenders to fully commit to stopping a particular rush type. This is why the Eagles were able to give their ball carriers a 50 percent good blocking rate (GBR) in this contest. It’s the third straight game the Eagles have posted a 50+ percent GBR and portends for them being able to lead the league in GBR for a second straight season, both of which are just more feathers in the cap for the best offensive line coach in the NFL.
The Eagles will need every bit of this creativity to get a consistent rushing performance against a New Orleans defense that has only allowed 208 yards to opposing running backs since Week 7, but if they utilize all the play calling and personnel weapons they have in this area, the Eagles should be able to keep their wild-card hopes alive against the Saints.
Here is this week’s gambling 10-pack, a section that reviews some of the top gambling, fantasy, and DFS plays for NFL games in Week 11 (gambling odds per BetMGM).
1. The Patriots have been on a scoring tear of late, with six straight games with 24+ points and 27+ points in four of those contests. Atlanta’s defense has struggled of late as well, with 25+ points allowed in three of the past four. Add these two elements to the Falcons having scored 27+ points in four of the past six and it seems apt to take the over at 47.5 points in this Thursday night matchup.
2. Why aren’t the Lions getting a lot more respect? Yes, they were obliterated by the Eagles in Week 8, but that was largely because they had finally run out of gas after working in Dan Campbell’s high intensity system for two months. A week’s rest was all that Detroit needed to nearly pull off the upset against the Steelers, and now they are getting 10 points against a Cleveland team that has scored 17 or fewer points in five of the past seven games and 14 or fewer in four of those contests. The Browns could also be looking ahead to their divisional matchup at Baltimore in Week 12 and to a much needed bye in Week 13. That gives this contest all the makings of a trap game and makes Detroit a terrific play at +10.
3. How in the world is the over/under in the Miami-New York Jets game only 44.5 points? New York has allowed 175 points over the past four games and 31+ points in all those contests, but these woes go back even further than that, as New York has also allowed 24+ points in every game since Week 1. Miami has a far from dominant offense, but the Dolphins will get Tua Tagovailoa back this week and have scored 20+ points in three of their past five contests. The Dolphins defense is playing better of late but the Jets offense has also scored 27+ points in three of its last six games, so there are many paths to get above the 44.5-point mark.
4. Expect DeVonta Smith to continue his high scoring pace. He has tallied 22.6 PPR fantasy points in each of the past two games and has a 78 matchup points total for the Week 11 contest against the Saints (1-100 scale, with 100 being most favorable).
5. Dallas Goedert is one player whose production has taken a hit due to the Eagles run-heavy setup and that has led to his posting 12.1 PPR fantasy points over the past two weeks combined. Add the scoring decline to Goedert being in the concussion protocol and having the lowest matchup points total among Eagles wide receivers/tight ends this week (37) and it means fantasy managers may want to look elsewhere for a start candidate at this position.
6. Good stream start D/STs this week include Miami, Green Bay, Tennessee, San Francisco, and Carolina.
7. Jacksonville tight ends don’t exactly have a stellar history of producing quality point totals in fantasy football, but that is changing with Dan Arnold. Over the past three weeks, Arnold has tallied 17 receptions for 195 yards and racked up 38.5 points in PPR leagues. There is a very good chance he is still available in most fantasy leagues and if you are in one of those leagues, do yourself a favor and roster him, as Jacksonville has a very favorable rest of season schedule in terms of tight end coverage.
8. The world doesn’t seem to have caught up to just how bad the Baltimore defense has been over the past month and change. Since Week 5, this club has allowed 513 yards to the Colts, 520 yards and 41 points to the Bengals, 31 points to the Vikings, and just gave up 350 yards and 22 points to a Dolphins offense that started a backup quarterback in a short week matchup and had to switch quarterbacks midway through that contest. These aren’t anomalies, either, as many advanced metrics also indicate this platoon is faring terribly. Combine this with the Bears offense finding its groove of late and Chicago may make for a good upset candidate in a home contest at +6.
9. Josh Allen is the current future favorite for 2021 AP MVP at +200, but Dak Prescott sure seems like a better play at +700. Prescott’s passing numbers are nearly equal to Allen despite Prescott having missed a game and he also has a somewhat more favorable rest of season schedule. Allen tends to have hot and cold streaks and could end up getting into a cold streak with two matchups against New England and road contests against New Orleans and Tampa Bay coming up. Buffalo also has a very good chance to lose the AFC East title to the red-hot Patriots, while Dallas has the NFC East all but wrapped up. Merge these factors and it seems that Prescott has at least as good of a chance to win this award as Allen does, so Prescott makes for a stronger wager given that it would pay out 3.5 times as much as a bet on Allen.
10. Fantasy managers who want to try to upgrade their fantasy postseason rosters before the trading deadline should consider acquiring Melvin Gordon. The Broncos face the Raiders and Chargers in Weeks 16 and 17, two subpar rush defenses that should provide Gordon with a strong upside path during the semifinal and final rounds of the fantasy playoffs.