LeSean McCoy is hands down one of the most electrifying running backs in the NFL today and in Philadelphia Eagles history. He has an instinctual knack at finding the open holes and a cunning ability to change his course in the blink of an eye, making him very dangerous in the open field.
Through nine regular season games this season McCoy has posted three games where he eclipsed the 100-yard mark. The season opener against the Washington Redskins where he posted 184 rushing yards which was one yard shy of his career best 185 versus the Dallas Cowboys in 2011. McCoy followed that with a 158-yard day against his former head coach, Andy Reid and the KC Chiefs, in week 3. McCoy’s third 100-yard day came in week six against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when he rushed the ball 25 times for 116 yards.
With the exception of the New York Giants game in week 5, a common theme in McCoy’s better days is when he touches the ball 20 or more times in each of those games. That has been the norm throughout his career, however, the fact that he continues to get better the more carries he gets in this up-tempo Chip Kelly offense is even more impressive.
But over the last three weeks McCoy hasn’t has been lacking that pep in his step that has him leading the league in rushing yards.
Since week 7 McCoy has posted 147 rushing yards — 55 vs. Dallas in week 7, 48 vs. NYG in week 8, and 44 last Sunday against the Raiders — which means LeSean is due to have a big day on the road this Sunday. But even on those days where he isn’t close to gaining 100 yards on the ground, those are times when he’s used as a receiver out of the backfield.
Throughout his pro career McCoy typically will have a solid game on the ground every two to four games. His longest stretch of games without breaking the 100-yard mark was in 2010 from week three through week eleven. But again, when he was ineffective on the ground McCoy contributed as a receiver, including a game posting 64 rushing yards and adding another 110 through the air.
McCoy is due, he’s struggled to get anything going over the past three weeks averaging just 3.2 YPC. He’s also failed to negate his rushing woes with receiving yards. He has a tough challenge ahead of him as the Packers have the fifth rated rush defense in the league who has given up 94.5 YPG.
So why am I so certain McCoy will produce 100 or more yards on the ground against a tough run defense?
The QB conundrum in Philadelphia has allowed teams to zero in on McCoy as the primary offensive weapon opposing defenses had to watch. With Foles now putting himself on the NFL map following his seven touchdown performance against the ninth rated Oakland defense, defenses must account for him as a threat which should open things up for McCoy.
But beyond Foles emergence as a threat, and despite Green Bay having a potent rushing attack, their secondary ranks 20th in the league in passing yards allowed (250.5 avg). As long as Foles can hit his targets on passing plays in will keep the Packers from stacking the box and making the Eagles one-dimensional.
The key to this game is the play not of Nick Foles or LeSean McCoy, or any skill player for that matter. For the Eagles to have success against the Packers it all starts with the front five. Last Sunday the Eagles offensive line gave Foles all the time he needed to find his open receiver and it paid off hugely. But if the line breaks down and starts putting pressure on Foles it will be a long day in Green Bay.