5 Reasons Why the Philadelphia Eagles Will Win Super Bowl LII

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse the slideshow

Manipulating the Manipulators

The Eagles have to create mismatches for their offensive skill players to exploit. There simply is no way to outscheme New England coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, chessmasters of NFL defense. What the Eagles can do is make sure that while the Patriots are playing with a standard set of chess pieces, they pull out the gizmos from Mouse Trap.

How do they do this? The RPO, or the run-pass option. The Ringer’s Robert Mays break down the mechanics of the RPO extremely well, if you want to know more about how it works.

In the playoffs – per For The Win’s Steven Ruiz – the Eagles have used 25 RPO’s (on 132 snaps; 18.94 percent), with runners averaging 4.5 yards per carry (versus 3.6 yards on traditional runs). Quarterback Nick Foles has also benefited, completing all 10 of his RPO passes for an average gain of 7.7 yards.

The likely result of the Eagles’ reliance on RPO’s in this game is that slower New England linebackers Elandon Roberts and Kyle Van Noy (4.60 and 4.71 forty-yard dash times, respectively) should cheat down on potential run plays – leaving windows for Foles to zing the ball the tight end Zach Ertz or slot receiver Nelson Agholor. If the Pats drop back in coverage (also a bad idea), Foles will hand it off and allow running back Jay Ajayi to go to work on a Patriots run defense that ranked 27th over the last half of the season, per our schedule-adjusted metrics.