Tale of the Tape
The Philadelphia Eagles enter at 5-7 and third place in the NFC East. The New York Jets are in fourth place in the AFC East at 3-8.
The Eagles have won all 11 matchups against the Jets in their history.
What to know about the New York Jets?
The New York Jets are currently, unsurprisingly, last in the AFC East. The fact they have 3 wins is pretty surprising. The offense has been turnover prone and the defense is happy to step aside while teams rack up points and yardage. Wins over the Bengals and Titans, each by a field goal, were shocking. Beating the Texans last week felt like a necessity.
Offensively, Zach Wilson needs to be better to be the franchise quarterback. He missed a couple of games, which forced the Jets to cycle between 3 different quarterbacks. Wilson has a solid deep ball, ranking 4th among QBs in deep-ball completion percentage. Everything else, well, a 31st ranked catchable pass rate, 32nd ranked QBR, and 4:10 TD:INT ratio sum it up nicely.
The Jets offense has the most turnovers and 5th lowest scoring percentage. It's been bad, really bad. There are very few categories where they rank outside of the bottom 10 in the league from a production and efficiency standpoint. The offensive line has also allowed the 5th most pressures and 2nd most hurries. So one can somewhat understand Wilson's struggles and the ineptitude to generate a run game.
Defensively, well let me look at my notes and see if there is something positive. I felt a little harsh about the offense. Yeah, not sure that's going to be possible. They rank #1 in opposing offensive drives ending in a score at 47.6%. This clearly puts them dead last in points allowed and 2nd last in yards allowed. Allowing 30.4 points per game versus the 18.1 points per game they are scoring.
What to know about the Philadelphia Eagles?
In an important divisional game, against the worst team in the division, the Eagles played their worst game of the year last week. The Giants, who are arguably in the bottom 6 of teams in the NFL, held the Eagles to 7 points and only put up 13.
The Eagles succeeded on the ground with over 30 attempts and 200 yards. Sadly, Miles Sanders left with an injury plus Boston Scott had a costly fumble. This week the Eagles will be without Jordan Howard and Scott is a game-time decision. Lucky for the Eagles the Jets are really bad at stopping anything on the ground or through the air.
Through the air, just hours after fans and the Eagles front office were warming up to Hurts as the Eagles' future at QB, Hurts dropped a major dud! Hurts threw 31 times, completing only 14 attempts for 129 yards and throwing 3 interceptions. Sure, Reagor had 2 back-breaking, game costing drops, but 3 picks and completing less than 50% against this Giants team felt like a regression for Hurts. Plus an inability to consistently leverage his two top weapons in Devonta Smith and Dallas Goedert is proving to be a major factor in how the offense succeeds.
At the time of writing, Jalen Hurts will test things out pre-game but may miss the Jets game. Minshew-Mania may run wild at the Meadowlands if Hurts ankle isn't ready to go.
Defensively the front four get a second chance. After generating very limited pressure against a bottom 10 Giants offensive line, concerns are prevalent in what felt like an Eagles strength. Josh Sweat got paid and has failed to live up to expectations. Derek Barnett and his penalties feel well on their way out the door. And due to a lack of support from the edge, Hargrave and Cox are struggling and facing increased attention. Their pedestrian 23.7% pressure rate ranks among the bottom 12. Plus Gannon doesn't help his front four, remaining among the bottom 3 teams in blitz rate.
The secondary has been vital for making up for the limited pass rush success. Avonte Maddox has been a revelation in the slot earning an extension. He's forced 2 fumbles, has 7 passes defended and is the leader among non-defensive linemen in quarterback hits with 3. Darius Slay is having a career year with 3 interceptions, 1 for a touchdown. Plus 2 fumble recoveries, both resulting in a touchdown.
As a whole, the defense is largely stuck in the middle of the pack among the NFL ranks. The amount of opponents' drives ending in turnovers ranks 10th worst. While the amount of opponents' drives ending in a score ranks 13th worst.
Players to Watch
I alluded to the above, Barnett and Sweat need to produce pressure and lots of it. Zach Wilson has struggled through his rookie campaign with decision-making and pressure allowed by his offensive line.
Sweat has 31 pressures on the season but has only managed 4 sacks across 3 games. He hasn't had a sack in 4 weeks straight now. Derek Barnett has 24 pressures to pair with only 2 total sacks. This paired with 6 costly penalties. Of 59 edge rushers who have played at least 50% of 729 snaps, Barnett ranks 45th in pressures and Sweat 31st.
This is simply not enough. Gannon may not bring a lot of pressure via the blitz, but that can't be the entire reason for Sweat and Barnett's ineptitude. Needless to say, they miss Brandon Graham a lot. But for a recent big-money guy and one looking to get paid, it isn't too much to ask.
As for the Jets, It looks like receiver Corey Davis won't be playing this week and the Jets are already without starting running back Michael Carter. While their tight end situation should actually be considered a win for the linebackers this week.
This leaves the key weapon and recently new favorite target Elijah Moore. He has played both in the slot and out wide producing over 360 of his 460 yards in the last 5 weeks. Also finding the end zone 4 times in that time frame. If Slay and Maddox can keep Moore contained and eliminate the big play, it'll be a long and lackluster night for the Jets offense.
Well after the showing of the offense last week I'm left concerned despite the very friendly date with the Jets. But the defense left reason to believe they can do similar, or better, this week against a horrid Jets offense.
Whether Minshew or Hurts, I got the Eagles winning this one. It's hard not to (I say with a worried voice). Eagles 27 over the Jets 13.