The Philadelphia Eagles have had a mercurial 2019 season so far. Their season has had its fair share of ups and downs before even reaching the halfway point. Despite the inconsistency, one statistic points towards the Eagles have a lot of success over the rest of the season. It may even indicate the team is on the way to the Super Bowl.
The Eagles 2019 season so far
Through week six, the Eagles are 3-3, good for a first-place tie in the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have cooled off considerably after a 3-0 start while the New York Giants (2-4) and the Washington Redskins (1-5) look woefully out of contention. It seems that despite their struggles this season, the Eagles have as good a chance to win the NFC East as anyone.
And struggled they have. Here’s how the team compares to some other teams in the league offensively:
- 227.4 passing yards per game (21st overall)
- 111.8 rushing yards per game (17th overall)
- 28.2 points per game (seventh overall)
The Eagles have had tough losses against fellow NFC contenders the Atlanta Falcons, the Minnesota Vikings, and the Detroit Lions. They’ve achieved victories over the Redskins, Jets, and Packers.
Strengths and weaknesses
As far as strengths so far, quarterback Carson Wentz has been fairly good for Philadelphia. He has 1,152 passing yards with 10 touchdowns. When receiver DeSean Jackson has been in the lineup, he’s been a difference-maker, but he’s been injured.
The Eagles’ weakest point is probably their defensive backfield. They’ve had issues containing passers this season. Another area where the Eagles have struggled? Their play in the first quarter. Check out this observation from ESPN following the team’s week six loss to Minnesota:
“The Eagles have been forced to dig themselves out of a hole way too often over the past two seasons because of slow starts. They were blanked in the first quarter for the fourth time in six games and have yet to register a first-quarter point on the road this season.”
The Eagles’ inability to start off effectively has hurt them this year. But as the game progresses, there is one area in which they’ve actually excelled.
One stat that proves the Eagles might win the Super Bowl
One of the most vital capabilities a football team must have is the ability to convert on third down. It’s a critical play — the last opportunity most teams get to pick up a first down before their faced with the tough choice of punting, attempting a field goal, or attempting a high-risk fourth-down conversion.
That is one area in which the Eagles excel. This season, they’re one of the top teams at converting on third down. They’ve picked up 50% of their third downs this season, which is second in the league overall through Week 6 behind Houston.
Wentz has been good at that in the past as well, according to USA Today:
“During the 2017 season in which Wentz was the front-runner for MVP before tearing his ACL, the Eagles star was the best in the NFL on third downs, going 81 of 124 for 1,178 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions on third down according to Sports Info Solutions.”
While the Eagles have plenty of lingering issues, third-down effectiveness does not seem to be one of them. That is a particularly important stat as the season goes on. When faced with late-season or playoff situations in which defenses buckle down, every play counts. That means that the ability to succeed on third down helps prolong drives and, ideally, get the team in a better position to win.
The Eagles have a long way to go to be considered Super Bowl contenders this season, but their-third down success points to it being a possibility.