As the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare to face the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles, the season may be on the line. Sitting at 2-5 and anxiously awaiting the post-bye week return of linebacker T.J. Watt, a win for the Steelers may just save their season. Sitting at 6-0, the Eagles are having an excellent season with quality play on both sides of the ball and are coming off a bye week. As such, here are five statistics to look for this coming Sunday.
75.2. According to Pro Football Focus’ premium stats, Jalen Hurts is blitzed on 33.5% of his drop backs, where he has a 75.2 passer rating, 57.8% completion rate, and a 59.9 passing grade. For perspective, when he is not blitzed, he has a 110.8 passer rating, a 71.7% completion rate, and a 90.1 passing grade. Needless to say, the Steelers, who blitz 24% of the time, need to send a few extra rushers early and often.
3.5. The Pittsburgh Steelers have averaged 3.5 yards after catch (YAC) per reception, which ranks last in the NFL in 2022. The team also ranked second to last in the NFL in 2021 with an abysmal 3 yards of YAC per reception. This is an underrated component of the team’s offensive struggles in recent seasons, as the Steelers went from 6.1 YAC per reception in 2018 to 5.6 in 2019, and 4.8 in 2020. Coincidentally, the Eagles have allowed the least YAC in the NFL with 597, so this may not be the game where this team turns it around in that department.
8. Simply put, the Eagles have one of the most all-around offensive lines in the NFL. According to PFF’s rankings, they have the best pass blocking line and the 8th best run blocking line. According to ESPN’s rankings on win rate, their line has the 6th best win-rate for pass blocking and 5th best in run blocking. Against a Steelers pass rush who has not matched their Week 1 sack total in the following six games, this will be a challenge, and it only reiterates the importance of blitzing.
4. Eagles’ receiver A.J. Brown has the fourth most yards against man coverage on the 23rd most targets, according to Pro Football Focus. Meanwhile, the Steelers play man coverage with the fifth highest frequency in the NFL. With starting corner Levi Wallace out for the Steelers, look for Brown to have more than a few targets when matched up man to man.
44. The Eagles defense does not have a glaring weakness, as they rank well in pass and run defense. That is, outside of their tackling. The Eagles have a 37.4 PFF tackling grade, the third worst in the NFL. The Eagles player with the highest missed tackle percentage will is linebacker Haason Reddick, who plays on the left and will match up against Steelers’ Dan Moore. He leads the team with a 42.9% missed tackle rate, which likely drives up the team’s poor tackling given that no other player has a rate over 26%. If the Steelers can get their run game going, maybe running back Najee Harris can exploit Reddick’s poor tackling.