Now two games behind Washington in the NFC East, the sputtering Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) won’t get any reprieve in Week 11 as they head to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to meet the NFC-leading New Orleans Saints (8-1) on Sunday (November 18, 2018 at 4:25pm EST). The Saints opened as 9.0-point favorites over the defending Super Bowl champions.
The Eagles are having serious problems on offense this year compared to last, averaging a lackluster 22.0 points per game (21st). They let a very winnable game slip away in Week 10, falling 27-20 at home to the Cowboys as eight-point favorites.
Turnovers have been a huge part of the problem. The offense has commited 13 turnovers (10th-worst), while the defense has generated a paltry seven takeaways (3rd-worst). Red zone efficiency has also been an issue. Carson Wentz is averaging 307 passing yards per game (6th) and has a passer rating of 108.5 (7th), but the Eagles are only 16th in points/red zone trip.
If you’re an Eagles fan and can’t put a finger on what makes this team worse than last year, it’s a huge difference in their play in the first half of games. Their 3rd down % and red zone offense in 2017 was top 10. W/o that, defense suffers big time #eagles
— Richard Rodriguez (@rrodr307) November 13, 2018
One of the major differences compared to last year is the lack of production from the ground game. Philly is 22nd in the league in rushing yards, barely cracking 100 per game. They have no true bell cow in the backfield with Jay Ajayi out. Last season, they finished third in the league, averaging 132.2 rushing YPG.
The Eagles’ defense has been good when it comes to points against, but not good enough to make up for the lack of production on the other side of the ball. They currently sit 6th in scoring at 20.3 PPG, mostly due to their ability to stuff the run.
Fletcher Cox and company are giving up just 93.4 yards per game on the ground (7th), compared to 265.8 through the air (23rd).
Slowing down this New Orleans offense, however, is something no team has been able to do since Week 2.
Eagles vs Saints Statistical Comparison
|22.0 (21st)||PPG||36.7 (1st)|
|372.9 (13th)||YPG||413.9 (5th)|
|102.7 (22nd)||Rushing YPG||126.8 (8th)|
|270.2 (10th)||Passing YPG||287.1 (7th)|
|20.3 (6th)||PPG Allowed||25.8 (T23rd)|
|359.2 (16th)||YPG Allowed||376.2 (T23rd)|
|93.4 (6th)||Rushing YPG Allowed||80.1 (1st)|
|265.8 (23rd)||Passing YPG Allowed||296.1 (31st)|
|-6 (T24th)||Turnover Differential||+2 (T13th)|
New Orleans Saints
The Saints are scoring an NFL-best 36.7 points per game and have a supremely balanced attack. They rank seventh in passing (287.1 yards per game), eighth in rushing (126.8 yards per game), and are top-10 in DVOA in both categories. The Bengals were powerless to stop them in a 51-14 destruction in Week 10.
Just look at New Orleans’ drive chart from the game.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 11, 2018
Drew Brees has been outstanding for New Orleans this season, even by his lofty standards. The 18-year vet leads the NFL with a 123.8 passer rating passing while piling up 2,601 yards with a 21:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
His go-to receiver, Michael Thomas (950 receiving yards), has taken his game to a new level and become arguably the most reliable target in the league. The former Buckeye has reeled in 90% of his targets (78-87) and found the end zone seven times.
Running back Alvin Kamara has continued to be a huge force in both the ground game and passing game. He leads the team with 546 rushing yards and 11 TDs on 123 attempts (4.4 YPC) and sits second in receiving yards with 473 yards and 4 more touchdowns on 55 receptions.
The return of Mark Ingram (63 carries, 285 yards, 3 total TDs) as a between-the-tackles option has really taken the Saints offense to a new level. In five games since Ingram’s return, the team is 5-0 and averaging 38.6 PPG.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the Saints’ defense hasn’t really been keeping up its end of the bargain. After taking big strides in 2017 (10th overall at 20.4 PPG), the unit has regressed this year, giving up a concerning 25.8 PPG and 376.2 YPG.
That said, things are looking up. In Week 10, they held Cincinnati to just 14 points. That marked the fourth time in six games they’ve held their opponent to 20 points or fewer.
Saints defensive averages the first three games: 34.3 PPG, 421 YPG, 336.7 passing YPG, only 1 turnover forced
Saints D averages last six games: 21.5 PPG, 353.8 YPG, 275.8 PYPG, 9 turnovershttps://t.co/htgzIYpNE6
— Luke Johnson (@ByLukeJohnson) November 13, 2018
Even after giving up 110 rushing yards to the Bengals, they still sit first in rush defense (80.1 YPG).
Given how poor the Philly run game has been this year, we’re likely to see a very one-dimensional Eagles offense this week, which doesn’t bode well for keeping up with the torrid Saints on the Superdome turf.