Eagles

Eagles

There are a lot of reasons the Eagles are 4-4 a year after winning the Super Bowl.

Tops on that list?

Points. Not enough of them.

Defensively, the Eagles have had their issues, especially late in the Titans and Panthers games, but the bottom line is, they've allowed the exact same number of points this year after eight games (149) as last year.

The offense, however, has dropped from 26 points per game a year ago to 22. That's a 15 percent decrease.

If the Eagles had scored 26 points in each game this year, they'd have one loss. Their losses have been by 6, 4, 3 and 2 points.

"The reality is we're not getting killed by these teams," Jason Kelce said. "It's three or four plays ultimately making the difference and the more we can stay disciplined and the more we can eliminate mistakes, we're going to win more of these close games. Hopefully, we can start to develop some momentum and make them not close at all. Our defense really isn't paying bad. I'm sure if you asked them they'd say there's things they need to improve on. At the end of the day, we need to put up more points to help them out."

What has to happen for the Eagles' offense to start rolling again?

1. Pass protection

The Eagles ranked 13th last year in the NFL in sacks allowed at 6.4 per 100 pass plays. They're down to 22nd this year at 8.4. Halfway through the season, the Eagles are on pace to allow 52 sacks, which would be their most in 20 years. They've got to sort out their O-line issues, which won't be easy with Lane Johnson out for a few weeks.

 

2. Running game

The Eagles are averaging just 4.1 yards per carry this year (22nd in NFL) after averaging 4.5 last year (fourth-best). There've been flashes, but they haven't been able to find any consistency with the ground game. No Eagle has had 40 rushing yards in back-to-back weeks all year.

3. Play-calling

Maybe it's the loss of Frank Reich, but Doug Pederson's play-calling magic has been missing, and too often the offense simply has been unable to find its rhythm early. The Eagles are 30th in the NFL with just 21 first-quarter points and 22nd with 77 in the first half. Not easy to recover from those slow starts.

4. Converting 3rd-and-Long 

The Eagles got themselves out of some tough spots last year by converting 29 percent on 3rd-and-10 or longer, third-best in the league. They've tumbled all the way to 12 percent on those plays this year, 28th-best in the league.

5. Scoring at home

The Eagles have failed to score more than 21 points in their first four home games for the first time since 1998, and they've lost two of those games despite allowing 21 and 23 points. They need to get back to dominating at the Linc.

6. Field position

The Eagles' average drive started at the 29.8-yard line last year — third-best in the NFL — but has started at the 25.9-yard line this year — third-worst. This has a lot to do with the lack of takeaways by the defense as well as the return game.

7. Carson on 3rd down

Wentz was best in the NFL on third down last year, with a 123.7 passer rating and 65.3 percent accuracy, and he converted 50 percent of the time. This year, he's down to 59 percent accuracy with a 99.1 rating and 44 percent conversions.

8. Red zone

Wentz last year completed 65 percent in the red zone and converted 60 percent on third down. This year, he's at 53 percent and 23 percent on third down. As a result, the Eagles have dropped from first in the NFL in red-zone scoring last year (66 percent) to 17th (55 percent).

9. Big plays

Last year the Eagles hit on 16 plays of 40 yards or more, including the postseason. This year, they have four. Just in the running game, they had 24 running plays of 20 or more yards last year, including the postseason. They have three this year, none over 21 yards.

10. Turnovers deep in opposing territory

The Eagles committed only three turnovers in 19 games inside the opposing 40 last year. They've already committed six in eight games this year and they probably cost the Eagles the Panthers and Vikings games.

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