Philadelphia Eagles News

Clayton: Here's The Stat To Watch Sunday


Welcome to Other View, a perspective from members of the media, celebrity Eagles fans and Eagles alumni on the state of the 2014 Eagles that runs here weekly during the season. Today: John Clayton, ESPN analyst. Follow John on Twitter at @ClaytonESPN ...*

Sunday's Seahawks-Eagles game is a great matchup from so many different perspectives. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll knows what to do against the read-option and the things that Eagles head coach Chip Kelly likes to do on offense, having played against him in college when Pete was at USC and Chip was at Oregon. Chip knows what Pete likes to do with his defense – basically Cover 1, Cover 3 and how to attack that.

You have two coaches who knew each other in college and who have carried their success over to the NFL and who have done it very well. This is a fantastic matchup, one that you would like to see in the NFC playoffs. Both of these teams are headed for the postseason.

Chip Kelly has been terrific in his time with the Eagles. I don't know if he has exceeded the expectations, because there was such a mystery about him when he was hired in Philadelphia. You knew the offense would have some success because it worked so well at Oregon and the up-tempo style is one that New England ran the year before Kelly went to Philadelphia and the Patriots averaged 74 plays per game that season.

Along the way, though, Kelly has made adjustments on a week-to-week basis, and that's what separates the coaches at this level. He has done some remarkable things based on what he's seen, what personnel he has available to him and what matchups he can exploit in favor of his offense. You can see the genius in Chip coming out more and more each week. It was there in Year 1, and it's even more prevalent in 2014 to the point where he's putting up big points with Michael Vick, Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez running the quarterback position. It doesn't matter. The quarterback is going to have his big plays, his 300 yards passing and, as we've seen, a lot of points scored.

In Sunday's game, the battle of the Eagles' offense and Seattle's defense is riveting. Seattle is a lot healthier on defense than a month ago and the Seahawks have the depth at cornerback to match up against the depth the Eagles will use in the game. Safety Kam Chancellor is moving around a lot better the last couple of weeks, which is key. Chip wants to find the weakness and exploit that part of the defense. Seattle matches up well against teams that aren't quite as physical running the football – a finesse running team, if you will.

I look at the number of plays as a key statistic. If the Eagles can get more than 65 snaps offensively, which means they have their tempo and they're getting first downs, then I look for a Philadelphia victory. If Seattle is successful in pushing the Eagles around and being physical and getting the offense into a lot of three-and-out series, the Seahawks have a good chance of coming away with a win at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

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