Eagles Rushing Attack Will Provide Great Test for Giants DL

 

Amongst the mixed reviews for first year head coach Chip Kelly is a very successful rushing attack, one that has graded out as the league's best according to PFF. The group comes in near the top of every list no matter how you sort the data. The group also passes the eye test. The OL is providing LeSean McCoy with some of the biggest holes that I personally have ever seen. Most NFL quality backs would find success with this offense, let alone an all-pro caliber one like McCoy.

They also lead the league in nearly every traditional rushing category from YPC (a whopping 6.1) to explosive plays (7).  For anyone who has caught a glimpse of the 2013 Eagles this should come as no surprise. The book is out on whether Kelly's offense has given new life to a stagnant NFL run game or if teams are still adjusting to the new approach. 

Through 4 games the offense has produced a run grade of 11.8, ahead of Indianapolis who is in a distant 2nd with a 5.0 grade.

Run blocking?

The Eagles grade out at 29.8 which is nearly TRIPLE the next best graded unit (San Diego with 11.3). McCoy also has been outstanding and is rated as the NFL's top RB with a "run" grade of 10.2 far ahead of the next finisher, Reggie Bush with 4.2

Center Jason Kelce (9.3) and LG Evan Mathis (13.5) have graded out as the league's best run blockers while top-five pick RT Lane Johnson (1.9), LT Jason Peters (1.0) and RG Todd Herrmans (1.5) all grade out near the top of their position as well. 

One would think the Giants will relish a second chance against a zone read rushing attack after failing against the Panthers. The game was the sole blemish for what has been a strong point of not only the Giants defense but the team as a whole. The defense currently ranks 2nd on PFF for run defense with a cumulative total of 20.0. Leading the surprising effort (recall that the Giants were brutal against the run in 2012) is one of the team's most surprising contributors, DT Mike Patterson.

Patterson, who was one of the final players to make the Giants roster, leads all defensive tackles with a 14.8% run stop rate (the rate is simply gathered by generating the ratio between run snaps/run stops for the player). Also in the top 10 is a more familiar name, DT Linval Joseph, with an 8.2 % run stop rate. 

The health of both Shaun Rogers and Cullen Jenkins is in question for this one so it is safe to assume we may get our first glimpse of 2nd round pick Jonathan Hankins in the middle. Talk about being thrown into the fire. Even if he only sees a few snaps in this one, he will certainly have his hands full with the Eagles' talented trio in the middle.

Make no mistake about it, Week 5 will be the toughest test yet this year for the Giants' run defense. The task is two fold. The Giatns are they faced with matching up against arguably the best group of interior run blockers in the NFL. As if that wasn't enough, they also will try to slow down Kelly's zone read running attack. If the Giants are able to win this battle, the Eagles will be forced to test a rapidly improving Giants secondary with a QB in Michael Vick who has completed just 55.1% of his passes this season and 56.2% for his career.

 

(As usual big thanks to PFF for letting us use a small amount of their expansive "Premium Stats" page in our analysis. The product is a must have for any of our readers and anyone who wants a better idea of what exactly happened in a game. It's a great way to look behind arbitrary numbers like interceptions or sacks.)

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