The Eagles’ effectiveness on offense relies on the Vikings’ gullibility
20 January 2018 Eagles News
It is safe to say the Minnesota Vikings have one of the better defenses in the whole league. This year, they had the second-best passing and rushing defense. They are also ranked first in points allowed per game and third-down conversion rate. There is a small margin when you play a defense like the Vikings’.
However, the Eagles offense offers them something different. Especially with Nick Foles under center, the Eagles run what is called a run-pass option or RPO, which means Foles plays off of what he sees from the defense, he either hands it off or fires a quick throw. Against the Falcons, the Eagles ran 67 plays which include 46 from the shotgun. Of those shotgun plays, 23 of them were RPOs in which Foles either handed it off or faked it. This type of play was mainly introduced to the NFL by Chip Kelly and Foles was at his best when he ran that offense for the Eagles in 2013.
In the second half, Foles threw the ball five times out of an RPO play call, which resulted in five completions for 53 yards. The Falcons bit on the run and Foles made the easy read and completed the pass. The main goal of these plays is to get the run, but Foles looked pretty comfortable taking the available pass.
So, with all that being said, the Eagles could have a lot of success with calling these plays. It really relies on how the Vikings defense reacts. If they are going to be run heavy, Foles should have no problem keeping the ball and making a play. If the Vikings do overreact and bite on these play calls, the Eagles should have a good day offensively. It is not easy to defend against if you are the Vikings, it is very hard on the linebackers. The Eagles offense looked great in the second half versus the Falcons and expect them to try and resemble that magic against the Vikings.
The Eagles and head coach Doug Pederson will have a better gameplan built around Foles this week, not to mention Foles has been growing in confidence every day. They will likely have more tricks up their sleeve than just the RPO but expect it to be a significant part of their gameplan.