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October 28, 2015

The Eagles' offense is their defense, unfortunately

Eagles NFL
102815SamBradford Bob Leverone/AP

The Eagles defense has bailed out Sam Bradford and the Eagles offense to an extreme degree this season.

Last Sunday night in Carolina, the Eagles forced three turnovers. On one of those turnovers, the Eagles offense started at the Carolina 39-yard line. On another, it started deep inside the Panthers' end of the field, at the Carolina 18. However, the Eagles offense was only able to convert those three turnovers into six points.

That has not been the case so far this season, however, which is troubling. The unfortunate reality of this season has been that the Eagles offense is leaning heavily on the defense to generate points via turnovers. Let's view the Eagles' issues offensively in regard to turnovers from a few different angles:


On the season, the Eagles defense leads the league in takeaways, with 19, and yet, the team is 3-4. A look at the teams who have forced at least 12 turnovers this season:

 TeamTakeaways Wins Losses 

As you can see, the Eagles are the only team on the list above that has a losing record. The other teams on that list have a combined record of 34-11.


Meanwhile, the offense has turned the ball over 15 times, which is tied for second worst in the NFL. A look at the company they're keeping on that side of the coin:

 TeamTakeaways Wins Losses 

The combined record of the teams above: 17-37. Now that I've made the first ever discovery that turnovers are important in football, let's take a slightly deeper look.

Points off turnovers

As we noted above the Eagles lead the NFL in takeaways, with 19. While they did not turn takeaways into points against the Panthers Sunday, the Eagles are actually second in the NFL in points off turnovers, with 59 of them. Unfortunately, they only have 160 points overall, which means that 36.9 percent of their point production this season has come off of turnovers. That is the second highest percentage in the NFL:

 TeamTakeaway points Total points % of points off takeaways 
 Rams49 108 45.4 
 Eagles59 160 36.9 
 Broncos47 139 33.8 
 Titans37 119 31.1 
 Jets45 152 29.6 
 Buccaneers41 140 29.3 
 Cardinals66 229 28.8 
 Giants45 166 27.1 
 Chiefs40 150 26.7 
 Panthers42 162 25.9 
 Falcons46 193 23.8 
 Steelers36 158 22.8 
 Bears27 120 22.5 
 Bills35 176 19.9 
 Raiders26 144 18.1 
 Dolphins26 147 17.7 
 Vikings22 124 17.7 
 Seahawks27 154 17.5 
 Jaguars25 147 17.0 
 Saints26 161 16.1 
 Lions21 139 15.1 
 Colts22 147 15.0 
 Packers23 164 14.0 
 Bengals25 182 13.7 
 Ravens22 161 13.7 
 Browns20 147 13.6 
 49ers12 103 11.7 
 Redskins16 148 10.8 
 Texans15 154 9.7 
 Patriots20 213 9.4 
 Cowboys121 5.8 
 Chargers165 4.2 
 NFL AVERAGE30.5 152.9 19.9 

So what does that mean? I think a pretty easy conclusion to draw, and one that has been backed up by exactly what we've seen on the field this season, is that the Eagles have been unable to sustain long drives off of punts or kickoffs to score points. They have been far too reliant on the defense putting them in excellent positions to score.

Points allowed off turnovers

Conversely, when the offense has turned the ball over, the defense has been able to bail them out. As we noted above, the Eagles offense has turned the ball over 15 times. Somehow they are in the top 10 in points allowed off of turnovers.

Team Giveaways Giveaway points 
 Falcons10 17 
 Eagles15 21 

The Eagles are only giving up 1.4 points off of turnovers, which is outstanding from a defensive perspective.

Overall 'points off turnovers differential'

Putting the data above together, the Eagles have 59 points off turnovers. They have given up just 21 points off of turnovers. That gives them a "points off turnovers differential" of +38, which is actually the best in the NFL:

 TeamTakeaway points Giveaway points Points off turnovers differential 
 Eagles59 21 +38 
 Panthers42 12 +30 
 Cardinals66 36 +30 
 Falcons46 17 +29 
 Rams49 21 +28 
 Steelers36 10 +26 
 Giants45 20 +25 
 Jets45 23 +22 
 Packers23 +20 
 Broncos47 34 +13 

The combined records of the teams other than the Eagles on that list: 44-14.

When the turnovers dry up, and they will, how exactly are the Eagles going to win games with an offense that can't score without a ton of help from the defense?

Fire emoji
My hot take conclusions:

1) There is no way in hell the Eagles should be 3-4 when they lead the league in "points off turnovers differential."

2) The Eagles defense is good.

3) The Eagles offense stinks.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski