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Patriots and Eagles: Two Key Insights Into Their High Scoring Offenses

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The Patriots scored 458 points this past season while the Eagles were one point behind at 457, making them the second and third most prolific offenses in the NFL behind the LA Rams (478 points). Sports Info Solutions has been tracking in-depth situational information that provides some key insights into why they’ve been so effective.

Short Answer: Running Backs!

First the Eagles. The Eagles like to run the ball out of the spread formation and here’s why. No team ran the ball a higher percentage of the time with three or more wide receivers on the field than the Eagles, who did so on 302 of their 725 such plays (42 percent). They ran it often, and they ran it with great success—only one team had a higher average yards per carry than the Eagles’ 5.4 mark in such situations.

Highest Average Yards Per Carry
3 or more WR in Formation
Team Carries Yards Yards Per Carry
Bears 112 616 5.5
Eagles 302 1628 5.4
Saints 166 891 5.4
Buccaneers 161 836 5.2
Bills 188 973 5.2

What’s more, the Patriots defense was not very good in this situation. They allowed 5.5 yards per carry when the offense ran the ball with three or more receivers on the field, the second-highest rate in the league. The Pats will need to figure out a way to stop the Eagles’ running game in those situations if they want to avoid getting burned by the likes of LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement.

Now the Patriots. The Patriots’ high-powered offense looks to have its hands full against the Eagles’ fearsome defense. The Eagles don’t have many obvious weaknesses, but one area in which the Patriots may be able to find an edge is passing the ball to their running backs. Among quarterbacks with at least 50 attempts to their running backs, no quarterback had a higher passer rating on those throws than Tom Brady, who was 125-157 for 947 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Highest Passer Rating on Throws to RBs
Min 50 Att
Player Att Comp Yards TDs Rating
Tom Brady 157 125 947 9 110.9
Kirk Cousins 110 86 885 6 110.8
Jared Goff 93 69 834 6 109.3
Drew Brees 175 143 1254 6 107.9
Alex Smith 107 86 658 5 107.9

To their credit, the Eagles have largely contained opposing running backs. However, those running backs have still managed to catch five touchdowns against them, tied for the second most in the league. If you’re a fan of prop bets, putting some money on Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead or James White, all of whom caught three touchdowns this season, may not be the worst idea. 

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