The 2017 NFL season has been hard to watch. Week five had two teams win with their quarterback throwing for fewer than 100 yards. The Bears’ longest pass play this season is by their punter. Big names like Andrew Luck and Teddy Bridgewater have yet to see the field, while Brock Osweiler and Ryan Fitzpatrick are out there slinging it. One of the saving graces in Aaron Rodgers is now out for an extended period of time, and ESPN is trying desperately to hype Colts vs Titans for a Monday night “clash.” The Patriots defense is a sieve, and 15 teams are scoring fewer than 21 points per game.
What does this all mean? It’s a good year to be above mediocre. For the Philadelphia Eagles, they’ve far surpassed mediocre to the point of setting the pace for the league.
The expectations for the 2017 Eagles were somewhere around 8-8 with a back-loaded schedule full of teams with double-digit wins in 2016. After a third of 2017, most of those teams are floundering in a sea of season-ending injuries, suspensions, or over confidence with the added bonus of having to face a 5-1 Eagles team that is trending in the “elite” category.
Obvious stats on things like passing yards, touch down ratio, and points allowed show that the Eagles are top in the league, but there are other stats that show how they’re atop the league.
The Eagles are converting 50.6% of their third downs. The next best team in the league is Atlanta at 45.5%. The Eagles are fourth in the league in red zone conversion, ending 63.16% of their trips in touchdowns. The Eagles are allowing a staggering 65.7 rushing yards per game, while allowing opponents to convert just 32.88% of their third down attempts.
Philadelphia is getting off the field on defense while extending drives on offense. It’s such a simple formula that it’s working. Carson Wentz is cutting down on the turnovers from last season and drives that don’t make the end zone are falling onto the foot of Jake Elliott who is on pace to break some of Cody Parkey’s rookie scoring records.
A schedule can inflate numbers, but some of the Eagles’ stats are no mistake and are hard to post regardless of opponent. The scariest part of the Eagles’ current run is that they lead the league in penalty yardage, meaning these stats are all coming with a weight on their backs.
With a majority of the league in a big boat of mediocrity, injuries appear to be the leader in factors that could derail the Eagles’ season. If they can stay healthy, their current play will carry them deep into January.
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