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Eagles vs. Bengals: Can the Eagles avoid their first 0-3 start in more than two decades?

If they lose to the 0-2 Bengals, it will be the first time since 2013 that the Eagles have lost their first two home games. Here is a statistical look at how they got into this predicament.

The Eagles are expected to use a lot of 12-personnel again Sunday, which could mean plenty of pass-catching opportunities for tight ends Zach Ertz (left) and Dallas Goedert.
The Eagles are expected to use a lot of 12-personnel again Sunday, which could mean plenty of pass-catching opportunities for tight ends Zach Ertz (left) and Dallas Goedert.Read moreMICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer

The Eagles are 0-2 for the first time since 2015. If they lose to the Bengals Sunday, it will be their first 0-3 start since 1999, which was Andy Reid’s first year as head coach. They started 0-4 that year, then won five of their last 12 and finished 5-11.

If they lose to the Bengals, it will be the first time since 2013 that they’ve lost their first two home games of the season. That was Chip Kelly’s first year as head coach They had beaten Washington on the road in their season-opener, then lost to San Diego and Reid’s Chiefs at the Linc in Weeks 2 and 3. That Eagles team rebounded to finish 10-6 and win the NFC East.

Is there such a thing as homefield advantage this year given the fact that only six teams are allowing fans into their stadiums for games? Well, actually, home teams actually have a better record this year in the first two weeks than they did last year. Home teams are 19-13 in Weeks 1-2. Last year in the first two weeks, home teams were 14-17-1.

And now, this week’s stats package:

The offense

  1. The Eagles have scored just 36 points in their first two games. Only three have been in the second half. Carson Wentz has a 64.4 overall passer rating, which is the second worst in the league. His passer rating in the second half: 34.5. That includes a 47.9 completion percentage and a 4.4 yards-per-attempt average.

  2. After sitting out the season-opener with a hamstring injury, Miles Sanders rushed for 95 yards on 20 carries against the Rams. Twelve of his 20 carries and 54 of his 95 yards came on plays from under center. Seventeen of the Eagles' 26 total rushing attempts were from under center. They averaged 4.5 yards per carry from under center and 5.0 (9-45) from shotgun.

  3. The Eagles had 11 rushing first downs against the Rams last week. Sanders had eight of them.

  4. Ninety-six of the Eagles' 136 plays in their first two games (70.6%) have been out of shotgun. They’ve had 93 pass plays in the first two games. Seventy-nine of them have been out of shotgun. Wentz has a 58.1 completion percentage, a 5.4 yards-per-attempt average, and 3 TDs and 2 INTs out of shotgun.

  5. Ninety-nine of the Eagles' 136 plays (72.8%) have been run with multiple tight ends, including 92 with 12-personnel (1RB, 2TE, 2WR). Sixty-three of those 92 plays with 12-personnel have been pass plays. Carson Wentz has a 51.7 passer rating, a 53.3 completion percentage and is averaging 4.9 yards per attempt with 12-personnel. Last year, he had a 94.8 passer rating with 12-personnel. Wentz has completed 32 passes with 12-personnel. His two tight ends, Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, have just 13 of those 32 completions (40.6%). Last year, Wentz completed 204 passes with 12-personnel. Ninety-seven of those completions (47.5%) were to Ertz and Goedert.

  6. Wentz had 41 aimed passes against the Rams (plus two throwaways). Just two of those 41 passes traveled 20 yards or more in the air. A week earlier against Washington, he attempted seven passes of 20-plus yards (he completed two). Twenty-six of Wentz’s 41 aimed attempts against the Rams traveled five yards or less.

  7. Wentz is 29th in the league in completion percentage (58.8). He has completed just 66.7 percent of his 0-10-yard attempts in the first two games. Last year, he had a 74.3 completion percentage on 0-10-yard attempts. The year before that: 75.8%.

  8. Wentz has thrown multiple interceptions in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. The Rams game was just the second time since his rookie season that he failed to throw at least one touchdown pass.

The defense

  1. The Rams averaged 8.0 yards per play on first down, 9.6 in the first half, against the Eagles in Week 2. Two hundred seventy-two of the Rams' 449 total net yards (60.5%) came on first down. The Rams had 22 second-down plays against the Eagles. Twelve were for five yards or less. Only six were for eight or more. Four of the Rams’ five touchdowns came on second-down plays of five yards or less.

  2. The Eagles have turned the ball over six times in the first two games. Opponents have converted those giveaways into 24 points. Last year, the Eagles allowed just 57 points off turnovers the entire season.

  3. The 191 rushing yards by the Rams last week were the most allowed by the Eagles since 2016. Same with the Rams' 11 rushing first downs.

  4. The Eagles' first two opponents have run the ball a total of 75 times, which is the third-most opponent rushing attempts in the league. Last year, the Eagles had the third-fewest opponent rushing attempts (22.1 per game). The 75 rushing attempts are the most in back-to-back games against the Eagles since 2014, when Seattle and Dallas combined for 88.

  5. Rams tight end Tyler Higbee had three touchdown catches against the Eagles last weekend. That makes four TD receptions that the Eagles have given up to tight ends in the first two weeks (Washington’s Logan Thomas had one in Week 1). That’s just two fewer TD passes than the Eagles gave up to tight ends the previous two seasons combined.

  6. Jim Schwartz’s defense blitzed on just 12-of-62 pass plays (19.3%) in the first two games. Opposing QBs are 8-for-11 for 90 yards, 1 TD and 1 sack when the Eagles send extra rushers.

  7. The Eagles have just three interceptions in their last 11 games dating back to last season.

More good (or bad) stuff

  1. The Eagles' average drive start in their first two games was the 26.5 yard-line. Their opponents: the 36.6. Opponents have started on their own 40 or better on 9-of-25 possessions. The Eagles: 1-of-25.

  2. The Bengals' rookie quarterback Joe Burrow has attempted 97 passes in the first two games, the third-most in the NFL. He’s thrown just one interception but is averaging a league-worst 5.2 yards per attempt.

  1. The Bengals are 30th against the run (185.0 yards per game) and 27th in opponent rush average (5.0). Of their opponents' 75 rushing attempts, 15 have gained 8 yards or more.

  2. The Eagles' Cam Johnston is first in gross punt average (55.6) and second to the Lions' Jack Fox in net average (49.1). Four of his seven punts have been 59 yards or longer. Just one has been under 51 yards.