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Eagles try to slow down potent Broncos offense Sunday
By: Brian Graham - StatFox
Published: 9/29/2013  at  3:34:00 AM
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PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (1-2)
at DENVER BRONCOS (3-0)

Kickoff: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
Line: Denver -10.5, Total: 57

Two explosive offenses prepare for a shootout when the unbeaten Broncos host the Eagles on Sunday afternoon.

Philly’s offense has piled up an NFL-best 7.0 yards per play and 6.6 yards per rush thanks to RB LeSean McCoy’s 514 total yards. But the Eagles defense has allowed 438 total yards per game (3rd-worst in NFL) with a league-worst 35:35 defensive time of possession. Denver has assaulted its first three opponents with an NFL-leading 42.3 PPG and 487 YPG thanks to QB Peyton Manning throwing for 1,143 yards (381 YPG), 12 TD and 0 INT. Philly won the most recent meeting, 30-27 in 2009, but its past two trips to Denver have ended in lopsided losses of 49-21 and 41-16. The Eagles committed five turnovers and forced none in last week's home loss to the Chiefs, but they are 9-1 ATS after a game with a TO margin of minus-4 or worse since 1992. However, Philly has been a horrible wager in the past two seasons (4-14 ATS, 22%), including 2-10 ATS (17%) when coming off an ATS loss. On the other hand, the Broncos are 13-5 ATS (72%) in all games over the past two seasons, including 12-2 ATS (86%) as a favorite. But they also had turnover issues last week (minus-2 TO ratio), and head coach John Fox is just 6-16 ATS (27%) in his coaching career after a game in which his team had a TO margin of minus-2 or worse.

Can the Broncos win another blowout on Sunday? For the answer, connect to NFL Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 season and playoffs. During the 2012 campaign, the experts combined for a 52% ATS success rate in NFL Best Bets, highlighted by StatFox Brian's 60% ATS mark (36-24-2 ATS) and StatFox Dave's 53% ATS accuracy (44-41-4). StatFox Scott and StatFox Gary dominated NFL Totals, with Scott going 57% (38-29-1) and Gary cranking out a 56% clip (28-22-1) during the season, capped off by a perfect 4-0 run in the postseason.

Philadelphia's sped-up offense has snapped off 198 plays (66 per game) this season, but has allowed 227 plays (76 per game) to its opponents. QB Michael Vick has been electric this year with 9.1 yards per pass attempt and 10.4 yards per carry, but he's also had too many negative plays, absorbing 11 sacks and turning the ball over four times (2 INT, 2 fumbles), including three giveaways last week against the Chiefs. He has relied heavily on RB LeSean McCoy who not only has 6.4 yards per carry (3rd in NFL), but also boasts 19.8 yards per reception (7th in NFL). Top WR DeSean Jackson is also having an incredible season with 359 receiving yards (2nd in NFL) on 18.9 yards per catch, and is starting to get some help from teammate WR Jason Avant who caught five passes for 87 yards and a touchdown last week. Although the defense has given up a ton of yards by being on the field so often, it has limited opponents to 3.98 yards per carry which is right about the league average. Philadelphia was able to generate five takeaways in its first two games of the season, and although it had none in Week 3, it did post a hefty five sacks. The one key injury to the Eagles secondary is S Patrick Chung who is questionable with a left shoulder contusion.

Denver's offense has been able to score at least 37 points in all three games due to great decision making by QB Peyton Manning who has absorbed just four sacks and has turned the ball over only once, losing a fumble against the Raiders last week. He leads the NFL in both yards per attempt (9.4) and completion percentage (73%) because he has so many excellent receivers to throw the football to. Four players already have 14+ catches this season led by the trio of WRs Demaryius Thomas (20 catches, 307 yards, 2 TD), Eric Decker (19 catches, 252 yards, 1 TD) and Wes Welker (19 catches, 190 yards, 4 TD). Manning has kept all three of these guys happy with 27+ targets apiece. TE Julius Thomas has also been outstanding with 194 receiving yards and 4 TD on his 14 grabs. But the Broncos aren't just a one-dimensional passing team. They have averaged a solid 3.9 yards per carry with the committee of RBs Knowshon Moreno (160 yards on 4.7 YPC), Montee Ball (99 yards on 3.2 YPC) and Ronnie Hillman (84 yards on 6.0 YPC) to average 112 rushing YPG, good for 14th in the NFL. Denver's run defense has been top-notch with 43.3 rushing YPG allowed and 2.3 YPC allowed, leading the league in both categories. However, opponents have been quick to abandon the run and take to the air, throwing for 327 YPG (3rd-worst in NFL) and 6.9 YPA on this Broncos secondary. Star CB Champ Bailey has yet to play this season because of a foot injury, but it's possible he could make his season debut on Sunday. Top LB Von Miller is still serving a suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy and won't be eligible to return until Week 7.

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