Having a better pass-run ratio...

by Marc Narducci | Dec 27, 2016
Having a better pass-run ratio... Having a better pass-run ratio critical for Eagles

With the proliferation of the passing game, the successful teams in the NFL can still run the ball effectively.

This proved correct in the Eagles 24-19 win over the New York Giants. That snapped a five-game losing streak that sent the Eagles season south.

In those five losses, Carson Wentz averaged 45.8 passing attempts per game, which is way too many for a seasoned veteran, let alone a rookie.

In the win over the Giants, Wentz was more like a game manager. He completed 13 of 24 passes for 151 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Chase Daniel also completed his only pass for 16 yards when Wentz left the game briefly after taking a hit.

The Eagles rushed for 118 yards in the game on 30 carries.

On the other side of the ball, the Eagles had one of their better defensive efforts, with three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown by Malcolm Jenkins. Even though Eli Manning wasn't sacked once despite attempting 63 passes, the Eagles did push serious pressure on him, forcing him into several bad throws.

In the game, the running game took a hit when Ryan Mathews, who rushed for 46 yards, suffered a season-ending herniated disc in his neck.

Mathews had a solid season, but his problem remains his durability. That is why it's tough to pencil him in for the future.

This season he rushed for 661 yards (4.3 avg.) and eight touchdowns. Since he won't play in the season finale against the Dallas Cowboys, it will mark the second year in row that he will miss three games a year.

In his first season with the Eagles, Mathews rushed for 539 yards (5.1 avg.) and six touchdowns.

So he has given decent production, but just hasn't been dependable due to various injuries.

Now as the Eagles (6-9) close out their season on New Year's Day against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field, it will be interesting how both teams view the game.

The Eagles will undoubtedly play to win and it would be surprising if any regulars who aren't suffering from injuries, don't play.

Dallas (13-2) meanwhile has an interesting dilemma. The Cowboys (13-2) have already clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC and home field advantage for the playoffs.

There will be speculation all week as to whether the Cowboys will get backup Tony Romo some time, or keep rookie Dak Prescott to get the reps.

It's likely that running back Ezekiel Elliott won't get a ton of carries, but it wouldn't be surprising if he plays.

Since Dallas will have a first-round bye, coach Jason Garrett may want his regulars to get some time.

The Eagles will likely play this game like it's the Super Bowl and want a win to set the tone for next year. Dallas wants to just get out of the game healthy.

Still, the Eagles want to end on a high note. For that to happen, Wentz shouldn't have to attempt 45 passes.

Expect the Eagles to play hard. To their credit, they have done that all season and have been in many games. Coach Doug Pederson has to like the fight in his team. Working on getting better execution will be something that will be worked on during the offseason.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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