The loss of an NFL quarterback is enough to derail an entire season. The Packers slipped from 4-1 to 7-6 when Aaron Rodgers went out with a broken collarbone. The Colts are a cool 3-11 without Andrew Luck this season. The Philadelphia Eagles will try to defy the odds and save an 11-2 record from going to waste without Carson Wentz.
It’s pertinent to see what the Eagles lost in their MVP-hopeful quarterback as they try to remain undefeated in the NFC East against the Giants on Sunday. Carson Wentz provided a unique safety net to the offense that has been largely responsible for their success this season.
The Eagles are third best in the NFL on third down conversions (45.31%). The makeup of those conversions is attributed to Wentz’s ability to move within and out of the pocket. Wentz has completed 66.4% of his passes on third down coupled with a 121.1 passer rating, both well above the totals for first and second down. But it’s his ability to scramble that has kept drives alive that were destined to end in a punt.
The Eagles have achieved 24 first downs this season off of the run; Carson Wentz is responsible for 13 of those first downs. Add in Wentz accounting for seven of the team’s nine first downs via the rush on fourth down due to his sneaking ability and the Eagles no longer have the safety net of Wentz’s legs.
As for what the Eagles will be with Nick Foles, who really knows? The record-setting 27 TD to 2 INT season Foles put up with Chip Kelly was something of an overachievement with many interceptable balls and the benefit of an offense that wore defenses down and ratcheted up the opportunities. At the same time, his down year in St. Louis has to be taken with a grain of salt given that Jeff Fisher was his coach, the same Jeff Fisher who put Jared Goff on track to be a phenomenal bust when he’s actually a very capable pro.
Doug Pederson will have to adjust the offense to account for the now missing running threat from the quarterback. Foles is a very accurate passer, but he’ll still benefit mightily from a healthy running attack from any combination of the four backs.
There are few teams in the NFL better suited for the Eagles and their situation than the New York Giants. The Giants enter Sunday second to last in defensive rushing and passing yards allowed and last in total yards allowed. The Eagles have an opportunity to adjust with Foles while trying to increase their chances at a first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
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