There will be fans at the Linc Sunday for the first time this season. Will it matter? Well, it can’t hurt, right?
The Eagles will be the 15th NFL team to allow fans at their games. In the first 5 weeks, 27 games were played in front of varied numbers of fans. The home team won 16 of those 27 games.
While you ponder the potential impact of the E-A-G-L-E-S chant on the 4-1 Ravens, here is some more useful information to help get you geeked up for the game:
--Carson Wentz has a league-high 9 interceptions. That’s 2 more than he had the entire 2019 season. He’s averaging a pick every 23.8 dropbacks. In his previous four seasons, he averaged just one every 62.4 dropbacks.
--Wentz has thrown multiple interceptions in 4 of the first 5 games. He had 3 multiple-interception games in the previous 3 seasons.
--Wentz attempted 7 passes of 20 or more yards against the Steelers. That was the most deep balls he’s thrown since Week 1 when he also threw 7 against Washington. Wentz was 3-for-7 for 88 yards and an interception on 20-plus-yard throws Sunday. Two of his three deep-ball completions were to Travis Fulgham. The third was to JJ Arcega-Whiteside.
--He is 8-for-21 (38.1%) on 20-plus-yard throws this season. Wentz is 30th in the league in overall completion percentage (60.0). That’s the lowest completion rate of his career. Yet his completion percentage on deep balls, at least through 5 games, is the highest of his career. His completion percentage on deep balls the previous 4 years: 2019 (37.7), 2018 (37.0), 2017 (33.8) and 2016 (31.3).
--Wentz was 5-for-5 for 76 yards and a touchdown on throws of 11 to 19 yards against the Steelers. Three of those 5 completions were to Fulgham. In the first 4 games, Wentz had completed just 11 of 27 passes of 11 to 19 yards.
--Wentz has just one TD and 5 interceptions on throws of 0 to 10 yards. Last year from that distance, he had 18 TDs and just one interception.
--Lamar Jackson’s passing numbers have dropped a bit this season from his MVP performance of a year ago. He finished third in passing last year with a 113.3 rating. He’s currently 13th at 100.5. His yards per attempt average has dropped from 7.8 last year to 7.0 in the first 5 games this year.
--Jackson’s been getting sacked more frequently this season. He’s been taken down once every 12.2 dropbacks in the Ravens' first 5 games. Last year, he averaged a sack every 18.4 dropbacks. He’s not really holding on to the ball longer. His snap-to-release average this season, according to Pro Football Focus, is 2.81 seconds. It was 2.76 seconds last year. That’s much longer than the quarterback the Eagles faced last week, Ben Roethlisberger. Ben has the league’s third fastest snap-to-release average (2.24). The problem for the Eagles' pass rush is Jackson’s considerably more elusive than Roethlisberger.
--Jackson is as dangerous a runner as he is a thrower. He rushed for 1,206 yards last season. His 238 rushing yards this season represent nearly 30 percent of the Ravens' ground yards. Ten of his 41 runs have gained 10 yards or more. That’s the eighth most 10-plus yard runs in the NFL.
--Last year, Jackson had 71 rushing first downs on 176 carries. So far this year, he has just 10 rushing first downs, which is actually 3 fewer than Wentz.
--The Eagles are 17th in run defense (114.2 yards per game), but 10th in opponent rush average (3.9). Their biggest problem has been dealing with misdirection – end-arounds, reverses, jet sweeps. Wide receivers and tight ends have collected 161 of the 571 rushing yards against the Eagles. That’s an astounding 28.2%. Three of the 8 rushing touchdowns they’ve given up in the first 5 games have been scored by wide receivers. The Eagles have held opposing running backs and quarterbacks to 3.1 yards per carry.
--The Ravens figure to use rookie wide receiver Devin Duvernay a few times Sunday on misdirection plays. He had a 42-yard run on a second-3 against the Bengals last week.
--Opposing tight ends have 37 receptions and 5 touchdowns against the Eagles this season. Most of that damage was done by the Rams' Tyler Higbee, who had 3 of those TD catches, and the 49ers' George Kittle, who had 15 catches for 183 yards and a TD in Week 4.
--The Ravens' Mark Andrews is one of the league’s top tight ends. Jackson has thrown 9 touchdown passes this season. Five have been to Andrews, including 3 in the red zone.
--The defense hasn’t been very good in the red zone this season. They’re 27th in touchdown percentage in the red zone, allowing 14 TDs in 19 challenges (73.7%). Last year, they finished tied for 14th in red-zone defense (55.8%).
--The Steelers converted 11 of 15 third-down opportunities against the Eagles last week. Roethlisberger was 13-for-13 for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns on third down. Nine of his 13 third-down throws produced first downs. In the last 4 games, opponents have converted 26 of 51 third-down opportunities (51.0%) against the Eagles. In those 4 games, opposing quarterbacks have completed 32 of 39 third-down passes for 385 yards and 4 touchdowns. Twenty-one of those 39 passes (53.8%) produced first downs.
--The Eagles are third in sacks with 18. Only the Rams and Steelers, both with 20, have more. Thirteen of those 18 sacks came against the Bengals (8) and 49ers (5).
--Jim Schwartz hasn’t blitzed much this season. Last week, he blitzed Ben Roethlisberger on just 5 of 35 pass plays (14.3%). In the first 5 games, he’s sent extra rushers on just 37 of 199 pass plays (18.6%). Just 4 of the Eagles' 18 sacks have come on blitzes. Opposing QBs have a 118.2 passer rating when the Eagles have blitzed them, including a 75.7 completion rate, 7.8 yards per attempt and 2 TDs.
--The Eagles are 25th in opponent passer rating (105.1) and opponent completion percentage (70.2%). Their 2 interceptions are the fifth fewest in the league. They’ve given up the sixth most touchdown passes (10).
More good (and bad) stuff
--Ravens kicker Justin Tucker has the highest accuracy rate (90.8%) in NFL history. He missed just one field goal attempt last year and is 10-for-11 this year, with his only miss being a 61-yarder last week against the Bengals that was wide right.
--Don’t look for many kickoff returns Sunday. Twenty-eight of Tucker’s 32 kickoffs have resulted in touchbacks. The Eagles' Jake Elliott has had touchbacks on 21 of his 26 kickoffs.
--Cam Johnston has put 10 of 21 punts inside the 20. Fourteen of his punts have been returned. Just 5 of Raven Sam Koch’s 15 punts have been returned.
--Before Dallas Goedert’s ankle injury in Week 3, the Eagles had used 12-personnel on 66.9% of their offensive plays. Without him in the lineup, they’ve used 12-personnel just 30.6% of the time.
--In the last 2 games, backup running backs Boston Scott and Corey Clement have played a total of 23 combined snaps. Miles Sanders has played 98. In the 4 games Sanders has played this season, he has 62 of the 77 carries by running backs.
--Sanders had 30 rushing first downs on 179 carries last season. This year, he already has 18 on 62 carries.
--Five of Travis Fulgham’s 10 catches against the Steelers were on third down. All 5 of those catches resulted in first downs.
--Eighty-seven of the Eagles' 150 first-down plays (58.0%) have been pass plays. That’s the fifth highest first-down pass-play percentage in the league and the highest by an Eagles offense in the Doug Pederson era.
--The Eagles have been outscored 83-45 in the second half this season. Their minus-38 second-half scoring differential is the second worst in the league behind only Buffalo (minus-39).