How have the Eagles done against Vikings QB Kirk Cousins? How good have the Eagles been on third down? Why isn’t Carson Wentz able to throw the deep ball? Here are some numbers to help answer those questions and others:
--Sunday will be Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins’ ninth career start against the Eagles. Seven were with Washington and one with the Vikes. He’s 5-3 against the Eagles, but has lost two of his last three starts against them.
--Cousins has a 101.2 career passer rating against the Eagles with a 66.3 completion percentage, 17 touchdown passes and five interceptions.
--Five of Cousins’ eight starts against the Eagles have been against Jim Schwartz’s defense. He was 30-for-37 for 301 yards and one touchdown in the Vikings’ 23-21 Week 5 win over the Eagles last year.
--Cousins has a 98.3 passer rating in his five faceoffs with Schwartz’s defense. That includes a 66.9 completion percentage, 7.8 yards per attempt, nine TDs, 4 INTs and 11 sacks in 183 pass plays.
--In the Eagles’ five games against Cousins with Schwartz as the defensive coordinator, they’ve blitzed him on 53 of 183 pass plays (28.9 percent). The Eagles’ overall blitz frequency under Schwartz the last three years: 2018 (15.8 percent), 2017 (21.7), 2016 (21.2).
Sack drought ends
--After registering just three sacks in their first four games, the Eagles had 10 in last week’s 31-6 romp over the hapless Jets. It was their most sacks in a game since 2007 when they also put up 10 against Detroit.
--The Eagles blitzed on 16 of 36 pass plays (44.4) last week, which was the second highest blitz percentage in Jim Schwartz’s 53 games as the team’s defensive coordinator. But eight of the Eagles’ 10 sacks actually came with a four-man rush, including all three of Brandon Graham’s sacks.
--Ten of the Eagles’ 16 blitzes against the Jets were with five rushers, three with six, two with seven and one with eight. They also ran a half-dozen zone blitzes, dropping linemen into coverage and rushing a linebacker or safety. Jets quarterback Luke Falk was 7-for-14 for 67 yards, with two interceptions and two sacks when the Eagles blitzed him.
Five of the Eagles’ 10 sacks last week were on third down, three were on second down and two were on first down.
--The Eagles offense has the second best third-down success rate in the league through five weeks (52.9 percent). The Vikings are ninth in third-down defense (34.9).
--The Eagles’ 70 third-down opportunities are the third most in the league. Only Arizona (72) and the Giants (75) have more. And the Giants have played six games.
--Thirty-nine of the Eagles’ 70 third-down situations have been six yards or more. That’s the fifth most in the league. They’ve converted 12 of those 39 (30.8 percent), which is the eighth best third-and-six-plus success rate in the league.
--Wentz, whose 117.4 third-down passer rating is the fifth best in the league, has a 90.1 rating on third-and-six or more. He’s averaging 8.6 yards per attempt on third-and-six-plus with 10 first downs in 32 pass attempts.
--Cousins is 10th in third-down passing (94.2). He has a 79.1 rating on third-and-six or more. Nine of Cousin’s 11 sacks have come on third-and-six or more.
--The Eagles have converted 10 of 12 third-and-1 situations. The two unsuccessful attempts: a run by Darren Sproles in Week 1 that lost two yards, and a Wentz incompletion to Dallas Goedert last week. Last year, the Eagles converted just 13 of 21 third-and-ones.
--The Eagles are 12th in third-down defense (37.1 opponent success rate). They have a 78.7 opponent passer rating on third down. Opposing QBs have just a 53.1 third-down completion percentage against them. The Vikings defense has a 78.9 third-down opponent passer rating. They haven’t given up any touchdown passes on third down. The Eagles have allowed two.
This and that
--Alshon Jeffery is averaging a career-low 9.9 yards per catch. His career average is 14.4 with a high of 16.0 in 2013 with the Bears and a previous low of 13.0 last season when he caught 65 passes. Through the first five games, one of which he missed with a calf injury, he’s got 14 catches.
--The Eagles are first in the NFL against the run (63.0 yards per game) and second in opponent rush average (3.2 yards per carry). But just one team has run the ball more than 20 times against them (Lions in Week 3). Opponents have averaged just 19.4 rushing attempts against the Eagles, which is the fourth fewest in the league.
--The Eagles have held opponents to 3.2 yards per carry on first down. That’s the second best average in the league. They’ve given up just eight runs of 10 yards or more, which is the third fewest in the league.
Catching up with Carson
--Carson Wentz hasn’t thrown an interception in his last 126 attempts. He has just two interceptions in 174 total attempts this season. Both picks came in Week 2, in the first half of the Eagles’ loss to the Falcons.
--Wentz is 31st in completion percentage (60.3) and 26th in yards per attempt (6.6). In the Eagles’ four games without DeSean Jackson, he has a 57.0 completion percentage and has averaged just 6.2 yards per attempt.
--Wentz is averaging a touchdown pass every 17.4 attempts. That’s better than last year when he averaged one every 19.1, and not quite as good as 2017, when he averaged one every 13.3 attempts.
--Wentz has a 54.4 passer rating in the first quarter in the Eagles’ first five games. That includes a 48.3 completion rate and no touchdown passes. Last year, he had a 77.6 first-quarter passer rating with a 62.2 completion percentage and three TD passes. In 2017, when the Eagles were one of the fastest starting offenses in the NFL, Wentz had a 118.3 first-quarter passer rating with a 66.7 completion percentage, 8.7 yards per attempt, 10 touchdown passes and just two interceptions.
--Maybe it’s the DeSean Effect or maybe it’s not, but 59.2 percent of Wentz’s throws this season have only traveled zero to 10 yards. Last year, just 49.6 percent of his attempts were in the 0-to-10-yard range. He’s completed just 69 percent of his 0-to-10-yard throws, down from 75.8 a year ago.
--Wentz has completed just six of 20 deep-ball throws (20-plus yards). In four games without Jackson, he’s 4-for-15 on deep balls.
Drives and possessions
--The Eagles are second in the NFL in average drive start (31.8) through five games. The 49ers are first at 32.3. They’re ninth in opponent average drive start (26.4). Their plus-5.4-yard drive-start differential is the best of the Doug Pederson era. Last year, it was plus-0.6. In 2017, it was plus-1.8 and in 2016 it was plus-2.6.
--The Eagles are averaging 2.52 points per possession. That’s the fourth-best mark in the league.
--The Eagles have scored on their first possession in just two of their first five games. They had a field goal on their first possession in their Week 3 loss to the Lions, and had their first first-possession touchdown of the season last week against the Jets. The Eagles are averaging 5.0 yards per play on their first possession.
--Their opponents have scored on their first possession in four of five games. The only team that didn’t was the Jets, who went three-and-out last week on their first possession. Opponents are averaging 8.0 yards per play on their first possession.
--Jim Schwartz’s defense has given up 90 first downs in the first five games. Twenty-eight, or 31.1 percent, of them have come on their opponents’ first two possessions of the game.
--Opponents have scored 70 of their 111 points against the Eagles in the first half. That’s the seventh most first-half points allowed in the league. The six teams that have given up more first-half points – the Giants, Falcons, Dolphins, Redskins, Bengals and Cardinals – have a combined record of 4-25-1.