Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- The Eagles should be able to run their game plan here with the Steelers highly unlikely to push them in any way.
- Philadelphia ranks second in total DVOA while Pittsburgh ranks 25th.
- Philadelphia ranks second in net points per drive while Pittsburgh ranks dead last.
- Philadelphia ranks first in turnover differential while Pittsburgh ranks 24th.
- The Philadelphia side of this game is likely going to be one of the major decision points for the field on this slate.
How Pittsburgh Will Try To Win ::
The Steelers run a below average pace of play in both situation neutral pace of play and first-half pace of play but jump all the way up to seventh in the league in second-half pace of play. Their ninth-ranked pass rate over expectation (PROE) feigns aerial aggression, but the fact of the matter is the team would prefer to utilize a more run-balanced offense. The problem is twofold thus far – their offensive line has performed much better while pass blocking compared to run blocking, and they have found themselves in routinely negative game scripts. This has led to the team attempting 52 and 44 passes in rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett’s two full games. The likeliest scenario yields a similar setup against the undefeated Eagles, who should control the game from both sides of the ball early, likely leading to increased pass attempts from Pickett as the game moves on.
Najee Harris has two games this season with a snap rate below 69% (59% in Week 1 and 49% in a Week 5 trouncing at the hands of the Bills (38-3). His 78.2% backfield opportunity share ranks sixth at the position. The problem is his true yards per carry value ranks 65th, his yards per touch value ranks 56th, and his breakaway run rate ranks 44th at the position. Efficiency has never been the name of the game for Najee, but he’s pushing it to new levels in his second year in the league. Now consider the routine negative game script and only 22 targets on the season, and we’re left with a back averaging just 10.8 fantasy points per game (27th). Things will not get any easier for Najee against the stout 4-3 front of the Eagles. The pure rushing matchup yields a non-terrible 4.48 net-adjusted line yards metric behind an offensive line blocking to only 3.5 running back yards per carry this season. Expect undrafted free agent Jaylen Warren to continue serving as the change of pace back behind Najee, typically only good for a handful of running back opportunities in a standard week.
Diontae Johnson is very much still the WR1 on this team, despite what any hype train would have you believe. The problem is that Mitchell Trubisky’s 9.9 (third in the league) average intended air yards did not mesh well with the areas of the field Johnson has been utilized in. Pickett has a more natural 7.1 average intended air yards, but the problem with him is he has had very few repetitions with Johnson as the team prepared for a complete season with Trubisky as their starting quarterback. Overall, Diontae has seen the fourth most targets at the position this season (67), is in a route on virtually every passing play (99.6%), and has seen an “okay” 10.5 aDOT this season. Again, the biggest problem is with efficiency, as he sports a ghastly 0.5 average yards after the catch per target, poor 8.9 yards per reception (90th), and horrendous 1.33 yards per route run (70th). Interestingly enough, fullback Derek Watt was re-signed to a three-year deal to remain with the team and the team has elected to forgo 21-personnel almost entirely this season, instead electing to run 11-personnel at an above average rate. That has meant that rookie George Pickens is on the field about 80% of the time, while perimeter-turned-slot wide receiver Chase Claypool has seen snap rates typically landing in the 85-95% range. Second-year tight end Pat Freiermuth is the unquestioned pass-catching tight end, while Zach Gentry typically sees 30-40% of the offensive snaps as the blocking tight end. The Eagles mix and match coverage concepts, playing about league average man coverages via their elite cornerback trio of Darius Slay, James Bradberry, and Avonte Maddox. Safeties Marcus Epps and C.J. Gardner-Johnson are athletic safeties that are capable performers in every defensive alignment they are asked to play. Expect moderate blitz rates to start that are likely to get more aggressive as the game goes on, likely making life extremely difficult for Pickett on the Steelers offensive line.
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