It is a foregone conclusion at this point the Eagles will be number 1 on all these rankings. Being the best team in the NFL feels a little less satisfying now though after we got the Jalen Hurts news. Thankfully it is just a sprain, and he will be back soon. But while it is not a death blow, it still feels like a bit of a gut punch. Still, it is good to see what the National media has to say about our team. Even if we know where the Eagles are ranked, and we have more on our minds at the moment. So here is the Eagles’ power rankings round-up, heading into week 16.
ESPN- 1 – (Last Week- 1)
Pleasant surprise: RB Miles Sanders
There was no doubt Sanders was gifted and capable of a big season, but the production — north of 1,000 rushing yards already with double-digit touchdowns — has been a big bonus for this offense, especially after he was kept out of the end zone for the entire 2022 season. He’s matured as a runner and has run more physical through contact. That, plus good health, has allowed him to thrive behind one of the best offensive lines in football and alongside Jalen Hurts.
We all knew Miles Sanders was capable of this. The flashes were there. But he never put it fully together, whether because of injuries, on-field mistakes, or at times trying to do too much. But Sanders really figured it all this season. He is hitting the holes hard. We don’t get as many big breakout touchdowns as we used to. But the tradeoff is we get far more production overall. He has been among the best backs in the NFL this year. And after failing to find the endzone all of last year, he has found it 11 times so far this year.
NFL.com- 1 – (Last Week- 1)
Sometimes it’s just about taking care of business. The Bears put up more of a fight than expected but were still no match for a Philadelphia team that made the big plays when necessary in a 25-20 win at Soldier Field. Jalen Hurts threw two interceptions in a game for the first time this season, but otherwise kept his MVP credentials legitimate with three rushing touchdowns — moving within one ground score of Cam Newton’s single-season NFL record for QBs. On Monday, it was learned that Hurts suffered a shoulder sprain that could keep him out of the lineup for the Week 16 showdown with the Cowboys. Philly is now tasked with managing Hurts’ health while attempting to lock up the top seed in the NFC. A delicate dance, for sure.
The Hurts injury is a bummer. Not just because it will keep him out most likely vs the Cowboys. But because it could derail a very real MVP campaign for him. Obviously winning it all is the most important thing. But it would have been cool to see all of Hurts’ hard work this past offseason pay off by being named the best player in the NFL.
Yahoo Sports- 1 – (Last Week- 1)
We’ll assume for now Jalen Hurts will be back for the playoffs from a shoulder injury. Philadelphia isn’t in real danger of losing the No. 1 seed, considering they have a three-game lead over the Cowboys and a two-game lead over Minnesota with the head-to-head tiebreaker in hand. That would give Hurts four weeks off before the Eagles’ first playoff game, if it’s needed. Even if we assume Hurts will be healthy, going nearly five full weeks between games and then being thrown into the playoffs isn’t ideal. We’ll see where it goes, but it’s not good news for Philadelphia’s Super Bowl hopes.
Yea the Eagles should still get the top seed. But it is also true how any interruption to this team that has been playing so well is a reason to be concerned. The Eagles were playing their best football at the right time. Now we have to worry about rust setting in on Hurts. It is not the end of the world. But it is something to keep in mind.
The Ringer- 1 – (Last Week- 1)
The Eagles won their 13th game of the season Sunday, but it may have come at a cost. Jalen Hurts’s upcoming availability is in doubt after he reportedly suffered a sprained right shoulder against the Bears. Initial reporting described this as a short-term injury, but as of this writing, it is unclear whether he’ll be able to play against Dallas this week. The home Cowboys opened as a 1.5-point favorite but the line shifted on Monday to -6 after news of Hurts’s injury. The Eagles are still the favorites to win the NFC (+160) and need only one more win in the next three weeks to secure the top seed in the conference and a first-round bye. As long as Hurts is healthy enough to start when the postseason comes, the Eagles will remain atop this list.
The good news is the Eagles need just one more win, or losses by the Cowboys and Vikings. Even if Hurts does not play again until the postseason, they should still be the top seed. Gardener Minshew can handle winning one game. And even if they don’t, the Cowboys and Vikings have been shaky enough that they may lose another anyway.
The Athletic- 1 – (Last Week- 1)
Well, well, well. Just as it seemed the Eagles were about to waltz to the No. 1 seed in the NFC and a potential three-week mini-vacation ahead of the divisional round, all of a sudden the season has some drama. Which, underneath the anxiety over Jalen Hurts’ shoulder sprain, is probably what makes Eagles fans more comfortable anyway. We’re talking about an injury to the quarterback’s throwing shoulder, so nothing is guaranteed, even if Hurts completed 6 of 9 passes for 102 yards, including a 68-yarder to A.J. Brown, in the fourth quarter of the win over the Bears after he suffered the injury. But with just one win needed (or one loss by each of the Cowboys, Vikings and Niners) for the top seed, Gardner Minshew has a chance to play hero while also auditioning for a role elsewhere as a pending free agent.
Nothing can ever be easy for us. Like I just said, and like all of these authors of these power rankings said, they should still get the one seed. But there just had to be some drama in what was before now the most drama-free season in Eagles’ history.
Sports Illustrated- 1 – (Last Week- 1)
There is something quite beautiful about the fact that the Eagles have not played the Chiefs, Bengals, Bills or 49ers this season. While I am not saying they have had a soft schedule by any means, how they stack up against any potential Super Bowl or conference title-game opponent is still a bit of a mystery, which makes the second round of the postseason awfully fun. I’m assuming they will play it smart with Jalen Hurts and preserve his injured upper body for the postseason.
Yea I am not worried about the Eagles stacking up against any of those teams. The only reason you would need to see them actually play them to know if they are as good is if you haven’t actually watched them play. They have more than proven themselves in the regular season. Only Hurts throwing shoulder not being at 100% could derail them.
Average Ranking- 1
Even with the Hurts injury, the Eagles are still the best team. And if they can pull off a win over the Cowboys, they can really go into cruise mode over the final two games. The only concern is the Hurts injury. Hopefully, he fully recovers, and is ready to go for the playoffs. But there is little doubt at this point that they are good enough to win it all as long as they are healthy.