A Doug Pederson-coached team never has lost a Thursday night game. Then again, a Pederson-coached team never has been 1-4-1 before either.
The Eagles begin the next chapter of their season tonight when they face the 1-5 Giants in the first of three straight NFC East games.
Here are some numbers to help give you some clarity heading into the game:
The run defense
The Eagles have given up a league-high 10 rushing touchdowns, including 8 in the red zone. Six of those 8 have been 3 yards or less. The Eagles allowed 10 rushing TDs in the red zone the entire season last year.
They are 21st in run defense, allowing 125.5 yards per game on the ground. That’s the lowest ranking and most yards they’ve given up in Jim Schwartz’s 5 years as defensive coordinator. They were third last year (90.1), 7th in 2018 (96.9), 1st in 2017 (79.2) and 15th in 2016 (103.3).
The Eagles have held opposing running backs to 3.3 yards per carry. And the Ravens' Lamar Jackson, who rushed for 108 yards on 9 carries last week, is the only quarterback who has had any running success against the Eagles. But they’ve struggled with misdirection plays such as end-arounds, reverses and jet motion. Wide receivers and tight ends have rushed for 162 yards and 3 touchdowns on 14 runs. That’s 11.6 yards per carry.
The good news for the Eagles is the Giants are 30th in the league in rushing. Their leading rusher is quarterback Daniel Jones, who has 207 yards on 27 carries. They have just 13 runs of 10 or more yards, which is the fifth fewest in the NFL. Jones has 7 of those 13 runs.
The Giants' 3 rushing touchdowns are the fourth fewest in the league.
The Eagles have allowed 4.5 yards per carry on first down. The Giants are averaging 4.1.
The pass rush
The Eagles are fourth in sacks with 21. Only the Steelers (24), Bucs (22) and Ravens (also 22) have more. The Eagles' 21 sacks are very symmetrical. They’ve got 7 on first down, 7 on second down and 7 on third down.
At 32, Brandon Graham is off to the best start of his career. He has 5 sacks in the first 6 games. The 11-year veteran never has had a double-digit sack season, though his fourth-quarter strip of Tom Brady in the Super Bowl 3 years ago basically counts for 50.
Graham has a team-high 26 quarterback pressures. Malik Jackson is second with 19, including a league-high 9 hits. Fletcher Cox is third with 17. No one else has more than 9.
The Eagles blitzed Lamar Jackson just once on 30 pass plays last week. In their last 3 games, they’ve blitzed on just 12 of 115 pass plays (10.4%). For the season, they’ve blitzed on just 16.6% of their opponents' pass plays.
The Eagles faced Daniel Jones once last season, in Week 17 (Eli Manning started the Week 14 overtime win). They blitzed him on 11 of 51 pass plays (21.6%) in that game. Jones was 5 for 11 for 44 yards when the Eagles sent extra rushers. He was sacked 4 times, all with a 4-man rush.
The turnover problem
The Eagles have a minus-7 turnover differential. That’s the second worst in the league. The Cowboys are last at minus-12. The Eagles haven’t had a positive turnover differential since 2017, when they were plus-11. They were minus-3 last year and minus-6 in 2018.
They have just 5 takeaways in 6 games, which is the sixth fewest in the NFL. They have just 2 interceptions. The only 2 teams with fewer interceptions: Dallas and Houston, both with one.
The Eagles have just 5 interceptions in their last 15 games dating back to last season. Safety Rodney McLeod has 2 of those 5 picks. The other 3 were by linebacker Alex Singleton and cornerbacks Sidney Jones and Ronald Darby. Jones and Darby no longer are with the team.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has 4 fumbles this season, 3 of which he’s lost. He had an NFL-high 18 fumbles last season, including 11 that he lost. That also was the most in the league. Wentz was right behind him last year with 16 fumbles, 7 lost. Through the first 5 games this season, Wentz has 5 fumbles, just 2 of them lost.
Wentz’s 9 interceptions are the second most in the league (the Vikings' Kirk Cousins has 10). Seven of his 11 giveaways have resulted in opponents starting drives in Eagles territory. They’ve converted those 7 short fields into 31 points, including a 28-yard touchdown drive last week following Wentz’s first-quarter fumble.
Last season, Wentz threw just one interception in the Eagles' final 5 games. And that one was a Hail Mary on the last play of a disappointing 37-31 Week 13 loss to Miami. He entered this season with a streak of 173 pass attempts without an interception.
Before Dallas Goedert’s ankle injury in Week 3, the Eagles relied mainly on 12-personnel (1RB, 2TE, 2WR). They had used 11-personnel (1RB, 1TE, 3WR) on just 28% of their offensive plays. Since Goedert went down, the Eagles' use of 11-personnel has jumped to 68.9%. Against Baltimore on Sunday, the Eagles used 11-personnel on 73.4% of their snaps. With their other tight end, Zach Ertz, now also out, and DeSean Jackson finally expected back, 11-personnel usage figures to jump even higher tonight.
The Eagles are averaging an impressive 6.7 yards per carry with 11-personnel. That’s primarily because Miles Sanders' two 74-yard runs against the Steelers and Ravens both were with 11-personnel. The Eagles are averaging just 3.5 yards per carry with 12-personnel.
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Wentz has a 77.7 passer rating with 11-personnel, including a 57.4 completion percentage, 6.5 yards per attempt, 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He has a 49.8 rating with 12-personnel — 52.8 completion percentage, 5.0 yards per attempt, 2 TDs and 6 interceptions. Last season, Wentz had a 94.8 passer rating with 12-personnel, including 13 TDs and just 2 interceptions.
Down, but not out
The Eagles are 20th in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert 43.5% of their opportunities. Last year, they were fourth (34.2%). In the Eagles' last 3 games, opponents have converted 52.4% of their third-down chances, compared to 34.9% in the first 3 games.
Opponents have converted 30.2% of their third downs of 6 yards or more against the Eagles this season. In the last 2 games, the Steelers and Ravens converted 4 of 13 third downs of 10 yards or more. In the first 4 games, opponents were 1-for-16 on third downs of 10 yards or more.
The Eagles are 11th in third-down offense, converting 45.3% of their tries. They’ve converted an impressive 32.5% of their third downs of 8 yards or more (13 of 40).
The Eagles are 6 for 6 on third-and-1.
Nine of Wentz’s league-high 25 sacks have come on third down. He’s been sacked once every 7.6 pass plays on third down. That’s the highest rate of his career.
Greg Ward leads the Eagles in third down catches (9) and third down catches for first downs (7). Zach Ertz has 7 third-down receptions, 5 for first downs. All 6 of Travis Fulgham’s third-down catches have resulted in first downs.
Wentz is 19th in third down passing with an 81.2 rating. He’s completed 59.2% of his third-down passes and has 2 TDs and 2 interceptions on third down. Amazingly, his 59.2 third-down completion percentage is the second highest of his career. He completed 65.3% of his third-down passes during the Eagles' 2017 Super Bowl run. His third-down completion percentage his other 3 seasons: 57.3 in 2019, 57.0 in 2018 and 55.8 in 2016.
The Giants' Jones is 13th in third down passing (90.9). He has a 65.1 third-down completion percentage with 2 TDs and one interception.
The Eagles have converted just 3 of 9 fourth-down tries (33.3%). That’s the seventh lowest fourth-down success rate in the league.
More good (and bad) stuff
The Eagles have been outscored 45-20 in the third quarter this season. The Giants have scored just 9 points in the third quarter in their 6 games.
Wentz has 15 rushing first downs. That’s the third most in the league among quarterbacks. Only the Cardinals' Kyler Murray (23) and the Patriots' Cam Newton (20) have more.
Wentz already has 4 rushing touchdowns, which is one more than he had in his first 4 seasons in the league. The only quarterbacks with more rushing TDs than Wentz this season are Murray (6) and Newton (5).
Wentz attempted 7 passes of 20 yards or more against Baltimore, which equaled his season high. Four of those 7 deep balls targeted rookie John Hightower, including a 50-yard completion to him. Wentz has completed 10 of 29 passes of 20 yards or more. His 34.5 deep-ball completion percentage is slightly lower than last year (37.7). He has 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on 20-plus yard throws. He had 5 TDs and 4 interceptions last year in 16 games.
Hightower has been targeted by Wentz on 8 of his 29 deep-ball throws, all in the last 2 games. Fulgham and Jackson each have been targeted 5 times on 20-plus yard throws. Fulgham has 4 catches on his 5 deep-ball targets. Jackson has one. No other Eagles receiver has been targeted more than twice on deep balls.
Ertz, who is expected to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks with a high ankle injury, has a career-low 53.3 catch rate. In the last 2 games, he was targeted 16 times, but had just 5 catches.
Wentz has a 106.5 passer rating in his 4 Thursday night starts. He’s thrown 10 TD passes and just one interception in those 4 games.
No quarterback in the league has been under more duress this season than the Giants' Jones. According to Pro Football Focus, he’s been under pressure on 44.2% of his dropbacks.
Wentz was under pressure a season-high 51.1% of the time against the Ravens. In the Eagles' last 3 games, he’s been under pressure on 45.9% of his dropbacks. In the first 3 games: just 28%.