The Philadelphia Eagles had the day off on Sunday after defeating the Carolina Panthers and advancing to 5-1 on Thursday night. But just because they didn’t play doesn’t mean they weren’t impacted by the outcome of Sunday’s games (triple negative alert). Here’s an Eagles slant to NFL Week 6.
1 - The Eagles are tied for the best record in the NFL
Obviously had to start with this one. Isn’t it hard to believe?
I mean, it’s not unimaginable given how well the Eagles have played. It’s just that no one really expected the Birds to be here at this point in the season.
The Chiefs, who lost to the Steelers at home, are the only other team in the NFL with five wins. They beat the Eagles in Week 2, yes, but in the “what have you done for me lately” culture of the league you could make the argument Philly is the best team in the NFL right now. I bet you the Eagles are going to be No. 1 in a lot of NFL Power Rankings this week (spoiler alert). Their four-game winning streak is the longest one in the NFL right now. The Eagles are the league’s hottest team.
And given that their upcoming stretch is relatively favorable (three home games in a row), the Eagles might be able to keep it rolling.
Here’s an overview of the NFC standings.
2 - The Aaron Rodgers injury opens the door for the Eagles
With a healthy Aaron Rodgers, the Packers were clearly the biggest threat to the Eagles in the NFC. Now he might be done for the season. While that certainly sucks for Green Bay and their fans, there’s no denying the injury has a big impact on the Eagles.
The Eagles are serious contenders for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. There’s still 10 games to be played, of course, but Philly is on a good track. They currently have a 34% chance of clinching home field advantage in the 2018 NFL playoffs. Pretty crazy.
The No. 1 seed would obviously be great. But it doesn’t mean everything — just look at what happened to the Dallas Cowboys last year. They got bounced in their first playoff game ... at the hand of Rodgers.
It’s possible Rodgers might be able to return later this season. But if the Packers struggle with Brett Hundley under center, they might not be able to qualify for the post-season by the time Rodgers is able to return.
3 - The Falcons are not the juggernaut of 2016
Atlanta was really, really good last year. The Falcons were averaging nearly 34 points per game. They could’ve won the Super Bowl if they didn’t infamously blow a 28-3 lead.
This year’s Falcons team hasn’t looked as good as 2016’s group. The Falcons are now only averaging 24.2 points per game. They’ve lost back-to-back games at their new stadium to the Bills and the Dolphins. The Dolphins! Atlanta was favored by 13.5 points on Sunday and they blew a 17-0 lead to lose the game.
I’m not going to say the Falcons are suddenly horrible, but again, they’re simply not the threat they were last year. The Packers and the Falcons were easily believed to be the Eagles’ biggest threats in the NFC. Both teams are less threatening than previously thought.
4 - The Browns are 1-21 since passing on Carson Wentz
The Browns benched DeShone Kizer in favor of Kevin Hogan. Take a look at Hogan’s stat-line against the Texans: 20/37 (54.1%), 140 yards (3.78 avg), 1 TD, 3 INT, 38.1 passer rating.
Meanwhile, Carson Wentz is in the discussion for NFL MVP.
Definitely not a top-20 quarterback, though.
5 - Four of the five teams the Eagles already beat won on Sunday
The Eagles have five wins this season. Four of those five teams played on Sunday. (The Panthers obviously did not since the Eagles just beat them on Thursday.)
All four of those teams won.
It’s just one week, and I’m not saying all of these teams are suddenly great or anything. But the narrative that the Eagles “haven’t beaten anyone yet” is silly and needs to stop. The Eagles are legitimately good.
6 - Washington got banged up and barely squeaked by the 49ers
Speaking of that narrative I just mentioned, I’ve seen a number of Washington fans suggest they’re the true threat in the NFC East. Not the Eagles.
If that’s what they want to believe, fine. But they can’t say the Eagles haven’t beaten anyone and then only beat the 49ers by two points and act like they’re the greatest thing ever.
Another thing of note from this game is that Washington suffered some significant injuries. Starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland and defensive lineman Jonathan Allen are undergoing MRIs on Monday. Washington might already be without No. 1 corner Josh Norman (rib fracture) in Week 7. If Breeland can’t play, they’d be without both of their starting cornerbacks against the Eagles in Philly.
7 - The Giants hurt their odds at the No. 1 overall pick
The Giants saved their season by defeating the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.
Credit where it’s due: New York played well against the Broncos. But this game had the feel of the Giants doing some gimmicky stuff to get a win. They adjusted their offensive line around. Ben McAdoo handed his play-calling duties over to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. This reminds me of how a team usually plays well right away for a new interim head coach after the original one is fired (example: the Dan Campbell Dolphins). Then the league adjusts to the new, unexpected changes and catches up to what’s going on.
A win over an AFC opponent was the least valuable win the G-Men could possibly get. They’re still 1-5 with an 0-4 record in the conference and an 0-2 record in the division.
8 - Some of the Eagles’ upcoming opponents don’t look as tough as they once did
I guess I’m mainly talking about the Broncos here. Denver looked pretty awful in their loss to the Giants. Rotoworld’s Evan Silva went as far to call it: “the most pathetic performance by any team in any game all season, all six Browns losses included.” He’s not wrong.
The Eagles’ Week 9 game against the Broncos has had the makings of a tough matchup ever since the schedule was released. I’m still not ready to say it’ll be a walk in the park for Philly. But the Broncos do look beatable. Trevor Siemian has his limitations and now he’s undergoing an MRI on his shoulder so his injury situation will be worth monitoring. Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders also got banged up on Sunday night.
Elsewhere on the Eagles’ schedule, the Raiders are not looking great. They’ve fallen to 2-4 after being defeated by the Chargers. That Christmas game in Philly is looking more winnable.
On the flip side, some of the Eagles’ opponents are looking a little tougher than expected. Take the Rams, for example, who have advanced to 4-2. The Bears probably still aren’t good or anything but they got a win in Baltimore. The 49ers are still winless but they’ve been playing opponents tough and maybe their change at quarterback (from Brian Hoyer to C.J. Beathard) will pay off.
9 - The Cowboys had an awful bye week
Every team in the NFC East won while the Cowboys were on their bye. Making matters worse for Dallas is that Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension might potentially be back on. Oh, and I forgot to mention how Jerry Jones’ national anthem comments caused tension in the locker room.
The Cowboys have a relatively challenging slate over their next five games: at 49ers, at Washington, home against the Chiefs, at the Falcons, and home against the Eagles. There’s a lot of pressure on Dallas to step up. And they might have to do it without their best player.