The Eagles got back in the win column this week. But it wasn’t exactly pretty. That is now 3 somewhat ugly games in a row by them. But they are still 9-1, the only 1 loss team in the NFL. Only 1 loss, going into week 12. That should be a pretty big deal. But do they stay at the top because of the full season? Or did NFL Writers with short attention spans overreact to their recent play, ignoring the fact that every team has had these ugly games, and everyone else has lost them? Let’s take a look around the NFL to see where writers are ranking the Eagles going into week 12.
What/who is underachieving? Special teams
Entering Week 11, the Eagles ranked third on offense, fourth on defense and fourth overall, according to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metrics. Everything is top-notch — with the exception of special teams, which is ranked 22nd. There have been mishaps in almost every game, ranging from roughing the kicker infractions to getting beat on fake punts. It’s been a bit of a high-wire act that seems destined to hurt Philadelphia in one of these games.
The special teams outside of Jake Elliott are horrible. Siposs can barely punt. The coverage on both punts and kicks is terrible, and they get nothing from Covery in the return game. If you are going to be bad in any area, it would be Special Teams. But still, it is an issue. Siposs is putting the defense in bad spots too often. Not only do his punts lack power, but they lack air time too. Often giving returners a chance to get extra yards, giving the other team a shorter field.
The Eagles saw their dreams of an undefeated season go up in smoke against the Commanders in Week 10. On Sunday, they were staring down a two-game losing streak — but the offense came to life just in time. Jalen Hurts led Philly to two fourth-quarter touchdowns, the final score coming on a QB draw with 80 seconds to play to seal a 17-16 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Eagles have won seven straight regular-season road games dating back to last year and now sit a game ahead of the Vikings in the race for the top seed in the NFC. “Lots to clean up, for sure,” center Jason Kelce said, acknowledging Philly’s sleepy first three quarters. “We played a bad game on offense.”
The offense played their worst game of the season and still won. Sometimes you just have to take the win. This team has a knack for fixing problems. The defense sucked vs the COmmanders, and they fixed that vs the Colts. Dont be surprised if you see a big bounce-back game from the Eagles offense on Sunday night vs the Packers in week 12.
Thankful for: The moves they didn’t make
At different points this offseason, the Eagles made pitches for Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson to replace Jalen Hurts as their quarterback. Before trading for A.J. Brown, they looked into Calvin Ridley, Allen Robinson and Christian Kirk. Some combination of luck and discipline led them to where they are now, with the best record in the league after their narrow, uneven win in Indianapolis. And with impressive debuts by Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh, the Eagles’ string of successful Plan Bs continues.
A lot of us, myself included, have egg on our face for the offseason Qb takes. I did not want Watson because I didn’t want to sell my soul for a good QB, but I was 100% in on trading for Wilson. And I was wrong, so very wrong. Hurts has been incredible, and they wouldn’t be 9-1 if they made any of those moves for a QB.
AJ Brown had more than 60 yards in six of the Eagles’ first seven games. In his last three games, Brown has 59, 7 and 60 yards. The Eagles had a big win on Sunday, coming back in the final minute to win, but they struggled against the Colts. The key to recapturing their form from a few weeks ago is figuring out how to get Brown involved again.
I can’t be too worried about AJ Brown. Yea he has been a bit quiet the past few games. But we see the talent he has. Don’t be surprised if he has a big night vs the Packers. The only thing on offense I am worried about is getting by without Dallas Goedert.
The Eagles are going through their difficult period right now. They are regressing to the mean in terms of turnover margin, which narrows the ability of Jalen Hurts to make mistakes and correct them over the course of a game. I placed them fourth at the moment as I wait to see how their new run-stopping pieces will blend in, and whether they can run an effective RPO-based offense when their lead backs are plodding at 3.5 yards per carry.
Putting them at 4 is ridiculous enough. Putting them behind the Cowboys is worse. Last week this writer had the Vikings at 1, and the Cowboys at 8. What this is a writer who has no confidence in their own takes so they flip flop every week. 1 game this deep into the season should not be enough to shake things up this much. Last week the Cowboys looked “vulnerable” according to him. But now after one good game, they are the second-best team in the league? Have some consistency please.
The Eagles simply can’t turn the ball over like they have over the last two weeks if they want to stay atop the NFC and secure the first-round bye. In weeks 1-9, Philadelphia led the league in turnover differential with 18 turnovers forced while committing just three turnovers of their own. In their last two games, they’ve turned the ball over six times and rank 31st in turnover differential (-3). Philly’s early-season turnover luck was ridiculous and bound for regression, but the Eagles will lose more games than they should to close out the season if they let it regress rapidly all at once.
Weird how all season these writers scream how lucky the Eagles are when it comes to turnovers. But now that they had a couple of bad games it can’t just be bad luck. No, now it is a major problem that is going to hurt them. I don’t know, I think I put more stock into 9 weeks of great ball control than two weeks of poor ball control. But apparently, that is “ridiculous”.
Yes, the offense has struggled the past two weeks. But a defense that now ranks second in the league got a nice boost from the recent additions of DTs Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh. The veterans combined to share a sack Sunday in their Philly debuts while helping to hold Indianapolis’ reputable ground game in check.
It blows me away how quickly Suh and Joseph became contributors. They hadn’t played all year. But they seemingly fixed the Eagles’ issues instantly. After the first drive, Jonathan Taylor was pretty much a non-factor. And Suh and Joesph were a big reason for that. You saw far fewer wide-open holes in the middle of the line. The sack is one thing. But more important is how they helped defend the run. Them being in there helped open things up for everyone else. And it helped keep guys like Hargrave and Cox fresh.
Average Ranking- 2
Two places ranked them first, 4 had them 2nd, and 1 put them 4th. Most agree they are one of the best teams in the league. The nature of power rankings is to overreact to each week because you need to have fresh takes every week. So if the Eagles go out and look great vs the Packers, many of these same writers saying the Eagles have issues this week, will be singing their praises and putting them back at 1. The only outlets that have reasonable takes are ones like ESPN, who have Tim McManus write up the Eagles part, or The Atheltic, who have Zach Berman or Bo Wulf do it. Turns out that when you have someone who actually watches the team every week be the one to discuss the team in these power rankings, it results in a better product. Who would have thought?