It’s Dallas Week, ladies and gents.
Before you run through a brick wall (and use a helmet, please), here’s five random thoughts on the NFL-leading Philadelphia Eagles ...
- The Eagles are better than the Cowboys. Duh! We all read the standings. Somehow, I don’t think that applies here, because, well, there’s always going to be debate over the Birds and ‘Boys until the two actually face each other. And yet I am prepared to defend this — until, inevitably, I am proven wrong on Sunday. It took a semi-leap of faith to proclaim the Eagles as likely favorites over Dallas before the season, but it’s more obvious now: Philly is way more prepared to handle losses of depth, and Carson Wentz reigns supreme. That’s not a dig at a certain other quarterback (see the next point), but it is a dig at Dallas’ depth chart. It’s understandable that the Cowboys are struggling without their running back, left tackle, middle linebacker and kicker, but the Eagles have lost a running back, left tackle, middle linebacker and kicker, and they, my friends, are 8-1, fresh off a 50-point game, with no signs of slowing down.
- Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott are both good. I wonder if this sentiment will become as tired as the debates centered on which one is better. It should. Listen, QB talk is always fun, and there were plenty of Donovan McNabb vs. Tony Romo discussions had years ago. But just as many Eagles fans eventually gave props to Romo for being a competent, albeit annoying, signal-caller, it’d be in everyone’s best interest, I think, to enjoy Wentz’s magic rather than worry about simultaneously slamming Prescott. It doesn’t mean Philly shouldn’t get hype to root against Dak, but it’s OK to accept the Cowboys might have a good quarterback — and then let the Eagles’ own good quarterback beat him on the way to the playoffs.
- If the playoffs started today, the Eagles would probably be NFC Championship bound. Not going to lie — it wasn’t easy to write that and fully believe it, as much as Wentz and Co. have made things look easy in 2017. That’s because, in all honesty, we’ve yet to see what the Eagles look like against the not-to-be-overlooked Los Angeles Rams, and the Seattle Seahawks are no easy out in the postseason. (Oh yeah, and because the Eagles haven’t won a playoff game since 2008.) But Seattle is banged up in a bad way, Philly is right there with L.A. and has the edge at QB, and the Carolina Panthers, as we’ve seen, are far from immune. The point here isn’t to guarantee a Super Bowl run, but it is this: The Eagles are good. Very good. It’s OK to be excited.
- Howie Roseman is on some reverse “Dream Team” stuff. Everyone’s pouring the praise on the Eagles’ unofficial general manager and rightfully so. Has he overseen a playoff victory? No. Has he outdone himself in the worst of ways at times? Yes. But what he’s also done, in a remarkably short amount of time, is build the Eagles into a team that should be able to compete for it all right now and for years to come. It’s like the 2011 roster fully realized, without all the individualistic characters. Unlike that year, when Philly stockpiled veteran depth in hopes that the new pieces would catapult the Birds into contender status, 2017 has seen Roseman stockpile veteran depth to supplement an already promising foundation — one headlined by a homegrown commodity at quarterback and one that was chiefly responsible for the team’s meteoric rise.
- There hasn’t been a year so aligned in the Eagles’ favor in some time. Again, let’s take it easy with any championship talk. We know things change in a heartbeat in the NFL. But I can’t recall a season, outside of maybe 2004, that unfolded so beneficially for the Birds. That’s not a discredit to what Roseman and Co. have assembled. Doug Pederson is running a family, not just a team, right now, and it’s paying dividends on the field, where the team has overcome otherwise crushing losses of leadership in the form of injuries to Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, Jordan Hicks and Chris Maragos. The external help, however, has been abundant. From the Cowboys’ somewhat predictable tumble and the New York Giants’ inexplicable collapse to the utter unpredictability of the NFC North and a lack of truly scary teams in the AFC, the odds are in the Eagles’ favor. Now it comes down to staying on track.