Today we continue our weekly roundup of how various media outlets have ranked the Philadelphia Eagles in their NFL power rankings. It’s always interesting to see how the Birds stack up from an outside perspective. But first, let's start by revisiting mine.
Bleeding Green Nation
3) The Eagles are 4-1 and their only loss has come against the NFL’s sole remaining undefeated team. And that game was in Kansas City and the Chiefs had the benefit of extra rest. Philadelphia owns the best point differential in the NFC. Carson Wentz is playing well. The defensive line is preventing the secondary from being as bad as it could be. Dave Fipp’s special teams unit is still great. The Eagles are a legitimately good team. It’s just a matter of how good. Big test this week in Carolina. (LW: 8)
2) No explanation (LW: 7)
4) 86.0 percent chance. The Eagles have the best playoff chances in the NFC by a nose (one-tenth of a percent). What has the Eagles soaring? Ball control. They've converted a league-best 53 percent of third downs, and they've averaged a league-best 35 minutes, 32 seconds of possession this season. (LW: 8)
2) Even Eagles fans are a bit skeptical of Philly being this high. At least that's the feedback I received from last week's Power Rankings. After grounding the birds -- the other birds -- Carson Wentz and Co. remain alone atop the NFC East. About the only thing that didn't come to fruition in the Eagles' most impressive win of the season was the huge outing predicted by fantasy types for Corey Clement, who was mostly a non-factor. While Wentz's four touchdown passes led the highlights, the ground game very quietly racked up 122 yards. (LW: 3)
3) They've won three straight heading to a big NFC battle with the hot Panthers in Carolina Thursday night. They still need more consistency from Carson Wentz, despite his good start. (LW: 3)
4) I’m very impressed with this team. The Cardinals might be a shell of what they were a couple seasons ago, but the Eagles demolished them. They’re even getting big contributions from players like Nelson Agholor, who looked like a sure bust before this season. This is the best team in the NFC East. (LW: 6)
3) The toughest part of the Eagles’ schedule is still to come. That is undeniable, and it begins with Thursday night’s game at Carolina. But win or lose against the Panthers, the Eagles have shown enough to prove they should have staying power. Carson Wentz is legitimate, making the Eagles a factor in the division chase all season. (LW: 5)
6) We need to start putting Carson Wentz in the conversation of the top five or six quarterbacks in the NFL. His ability to improvise, make plays on the run and break arm tackles are all phenomenal. His ability to throw the ball and strike the big play are even better. The Eagles' running game has been much improved in recent weeks, and that's making Wentz and the Philadelphia offense even more dangerous. LeGarrette Blount is punishing defenses and opening space in the passing game. Defensively, the Eagles are best up front. Even without Fletcher Cox, the defensive line whipped the crap out of the Cardinals offense all four quarters—and I'd argue that Cox is one of the five best defensive players in the game. When the front four plays like it did Sunday, the Eagles can mask their deficiencies in the secondary. Philadelphia might not run away with the NFC East, but the Eagles are setting themselves up as playoff contenders. (LW: 8)
5) Carson Wentz deserves accolades coming his way. But credit offense that holds ball nearly 36 minutes per game, 2 minutes more than any other team. (LW: 8)
4) Interesting statistic of the week: on third down Sunday, Carson Wentz went 11/12 for 225 yards and 3 touchdowns with a perfect passer rating. Bonus statistic. (LW: 7)
4) Carson Wentz is fearless, tough, athletic and strong. Those are really not enough adjectives to describe the second-year QB's breakout play. Philadelphia is here also because it's so strong on both fronts, making up for its back-end defensive weaknesses. (LW: 10)
Pro Football Talk
5) Get used to the Eagles getting off to great starts to the season. (LW: 9)
Pro Football Focus
6) As we predicted, the Eagles handled business convincingly against the Cardinals on Sunday at home. Carson Wentz utilized play action to the tune of 7-for-7 passing, for 56 yards and a touchdown against Arizona’s defense. Clearly they leveraged a running game that is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and has gone over 100 yards in five consecutive games. They’ll be hurt if Lane Johnson (86.2) can’t go on Thursday because of a concussion, but it looks like they’ll be getting Fletcher Cox (calf) back in time to face a Carolina offensive line that’s middle-of-the-road in terms of pass-blocking efficiency and run-blocking grades so far this season. (LW: 8)
5) No explanation (LW: 8)
5) No explanation (LW: 12)
6) No explanation (LW: 10)
The rankings range from as high as 2 to as low as 6. The most common rankings are 4 and 5. The average ranking is 4.2, which is up more than three spots from last week’s average of 7.5.
This week’s game is a big one for the Eagles. A road win over the Panthers would have everyone admitting Philly is legit.
Beating Carolina won’t be easy. And losing to them would hardly mean the Eagles are some kind of fraud team. The Birds will be without Lane Johnson for Thursday’s matchup. Fletcher Cox is questionable to play as well.
I can’t stress enough how great an Eagles win would be in this spot. 5-1 with 10 days to prepare for a home game against a Washington team missing Josh Norman ... that’d be great.