Eagles offense vs. Commanders defense preview by the numbers

Another week, another stats article! I’ve been pretty happy so far with the accuracy of these, I highlighted how much 2-high shell the Vikings would play and they didn’t change their style against the Eagles! This one is an eye opener, my goodness the Washington defense has been bad. Let’s get into it. As always, all stats from Sports Info Solutions.

Let’s start as always with the Eagles tendencies through two games…

The Eagles remain a heavy 11 personnel team this year.

And the Eagles continue to run a lot of no-huddle, a lot of shotgun, a heavy dose of RPO’s but no motion!

Now let’s look at some very basic stats of the Washington defense. Spoiler: they are not good.

– Allowed 44 completions from 55 attempts for 536 yards (11th), 5TDs and 1INT.

– On the ground, they have allowed an absurd 314 yards (4th), on just 42 carries and 1TD

– 6.6 yards per play (2nd highest!).

– 7.5 yards per carry!! (1st) – the next highest is Eagles at 6.2! That is mental.

– 6.5 yards per pass attempt (19th) – so pretty good, despite allowing a lot of yards and touchdowns.

Now let’s get into some matchups

The Washington defense is not good against the pass which is kind of surprising because they play a very safe defense. I think the talent upfront is good so they put more players in coverage but they have been really, really bad in the secondary. They play a decent combination of man/zone coverage but play a lot and lot of 2-high shells, which the Eagles just took advantage of against the Vikings.

3rd down

Can Hurts continue to be this good on 3rd down? Hurts numbers on 3rd and medium are exceptional. Just look at this against the Vikings, this doesn’t even include his rushing!

However, despite Washington’s defense being bad, their 3rd down defense has been pretty strong. On 3rd and 5+ situations, they have allowed 6 completions on 14 attempts for only 65 yards. So although they aren’t a great early down defense, they have been pretty good on 3rd down.

1st down

Now, this is where Washington has been bad. The Eagles have been really, really good throwing on 1st down this year. Hurts is 19/24, for 228 yards (10th), and has only taken 1 sack on 28 drop backs. On the other hand, Washington has been really bad on 1st down in particular, allowing 21/32 for 265 (3rd) and 2 TDs.

Despite this, I would like the Eagles to run on early downs quite a lot. You will see why later…

Watch out for the blitz

The Eagles struggled week 1 against the blitz and last week they weren’t blitzed much. Expect this week to look a lot more like week 1.

Against the blitz this year, Hurts is 11/21 for 106 yards throwing the football. The Washington defense has 2 sacks and 19 pressures (the 2nd highest) when blitzing. However, they are a really hit or miss team when blitzing. Despite having a lot of pressure when blitzing, they have allowed 15 completions on 27 attempts for 185 yards (2nd highest) and 2 TDs. So the Eagles can use this to their advantage if they game plan well for the blitz.

In addition to blitzing, the Washington pass rush has been really strong all year. They have 44 pressures (2nd) and 5 sacks (11th) so the Eagles offensive line will need to have a good game.

Oh boy, this is where things get fun. The Washington defense has been TERRIBLE against the run so far. One reason for this is a basic refusal to get out of nickel as a defense, they are the league leaders in 4-2-5 personnel this year.

The Eagles love facing 4-2-5 this year. They have 23 carries for 141 yards (3rd highest) and 2 TDs.

Light box on early downs

As mentioned earlier, Washington had a light box 75% (!!) of the time despite not being able to stop the run at all. Get ready for this statistic.

This is Washington defense on 1st down this year: 24 carries, 223 yards allowed for 5 1st downs. That’s just the 9.2 yards per carry on 1st down then.

If the Lions keep playing a light box on early downs, the Eagles should run it consistently until they prove they can stop it. How good have the Eagles been against a light box this year? Extremely good. Against 6 man boxes, the Eagles have 39 carries for 236 yards (2nd) and 2 TDs.

12 Personnel

Despite the fact Washington cannot stop the run at all, when facing 12 personnel this year, they continue to largely remain on nickel.

That’s pretty absurd considering they can’t stop the run. How do you think this has gone?

On 12 carries from 12 personnel, Washington’s defense has allowed 4 1st downs, 60 yards and a touchdown. To be honest, considering some of their other numbers, this is actually pretty reasonable… The Eagles have run for 86 yards (7th highest) from 12 personnel this year, from 17 carries and have 3 TDs. They will fancy their chances.

Shotgun runs

This has to be the most worrying part for a Washington fan. The Eagles have been incredible on shotgun runs this year where they use Hurts as a huge part of the read option/RPO game. The Eagles have 59 carries for 329 yards from the shotgun, the next highest has 243 yards!! And they have an inside 20 first downs.

Putting all of this together, I expect to see a lot of early down runs that take advantage of Hurts mobility, and unless Washington significantly improves against the run or plays a lot more single-high, the Eagles could put up some big rushing numbers this week.

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