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 we’ll start by revisiting mine.
1 - Don’t tell me the Eagles don’t deserve to be No. 1 because Carson Wentz is out for the season. Philly earned this spot by beating Los Angeles. Plus the Pats lost. How long the Eagles stay at the top moving forward with Nick Foles remains to be seen. For now, I’m giving it to the Birds. The Eagles can still very much clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC playoff picture. (LW: 3)
5 - It wasn’t the greatest week for the teams at the top of the power rankings. Three of the teams in the top five a week ago — the Patriots, Vikings, and Rams — all lost in Week 14. But the Eagles, despite locking up the NFC East on Sunday, may have suffered an even more devastating blow with the loss of Carson Wentz to an ACL tear. (LW: 4)
3 - Carson Wentz's season came to an abrupt end when he tore his left ACL in Sunday's win over the Rams, but what he accomplished this year was stellar. Wentz currently leads the NFL in passing touchdowns and set a franchise record for touchdown passes in a single season (33). (LW: 2)
4 - There will be those who think the Eagles should move down further, with Nick Foles taking over at quarterback in the wake of Carson Wentz's season-ending injury. Those same folks should consider that Foles has enjoyed success -- darn-near historic success -- as a starter before. Teams have gone all the way with their backup before, too. Everyone knows about Tom Brady and the 2001 Patriots, but that's certainly not the only example. The '71 Cowboys started the season with Craig Morton ... and ended it with Roger Staubach and a Lombardi Trophy. The next year, the perfect Dolphins went most of the regular season with Earl Morrall at quarterback. He started in the Divisional Round, as well, but not the Super Bowl. In 1980, the Raiders turned to journeyman Jim Plunkett after starter Dan Pastorini got hurt. They won it all -- vanquishing Philadelphia on Super Bowl Sunday, as a matter of fact. Doug Williams became the Super Bowl XXII MVP in January of 1988, despite starting just two regular-season games during the '87 campaign. Then there were the 1990 Giants, who hoisted the hardware with Jeff Hostetler filling in for Phil Simms. How about Kurt Warner, who only got the opportunity to start on what would become "The Greatest Show on Turf" because Trent Green went down in the 1999 preseason? Not to mention Trent Dilfer, who won the Super Bowl the next year by riding the Ravens' defense. While the Eagles might no longer be favorites, they're far from out of it. This was a really long blurb. Free football. (LW: 2)
3 - I will keep them here, even with the news of Carson Wentz going down for the season. But can they win with Nick Foles? (LW: 4)
3 - One of the NFL’s big stories this offseason will be if Carson Wentz can make it back for the 2018 season opener. In comments to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Dr. James Andrews warned that players need 9-12 months to return from ACL surgery. And the Eagles won’t want to ruin Wentz by rushing him back, and everyone will cite Robert Griffin III rushing back from a torn ACL. It will be a tricky situation for the Eagles. (I had no idea where to rank the Eagles. You could have them No. 1 based on what they’ve done or move them way down because now you’re dealing with a team that doesn’t have its best player anymore. We’ll have to see what they look like with Nick Foles. Nobody knows for sure.) (LW: 2)
8 - It remains a very good team around the fill-in QB, Nick Foles. But you can’t believe on one hand that Carson Wentz was the NFL’s MVP and then believe on the other hand that his absence due to a torn ACL doesn’t threaten to undo the Eagles’ season. He was the MVP for a reason. (LW: 4)
6 - It was disappointing to see the Eagles get run on the way they did. The Rams had their way on the ground, and that's something we haven't seen all year. Yet, Philadelphia was able to pull out a win because Carson Wentz was once again phenomenal. It's a shame Wentz's fabulous season has come to an end. The Eagles aren't the same team without him. Even without Wentz, though, this is a team with a strong enough ground attack and a good enough defense to make a run in the postseason—provided the offense can get a few big pass plays from Nick Foles. I have a harder time believing the Eagles can win the Super Bowl without Wentz because he turns an average passing attack into a great one with his elite play. As I mentioned in the opening, though, this isn't a team I'd ever count out. (LW: 2)
4 - The Eagles' Super Bowl dreams were torn to shreds in much the same way Carson Wentz' ACL was on Sunday. All eyes now focus on Nick Foles and whether he can conjure up the same magic that drove the successful NFC East campaign of 2013. With the playoffs already a lock and an easy schedule (plus the Raiders) down the stretch, there is still hope in Philadelphia that Foles emerges as the new Jeff Hostetler and leads a victory parade down Broad St. (LW: 2)
3 - The Eagles showed their resolve after Carson Wentz went down, rallying around Nick Foles to knock off the Rams. It's not all gloom and doom for what still is the NFC's best team. (LW: 4)
3 - It’s up to Nick Foles and/or Nate Sudfeld to keep them in the top three. (LW: 4)
3 - I’m not saying it will happen again but Nick Foles did produce the third-highest quarterback rating in NFL history during his last stint as the Eagles’ starter, so maybe he has a few more tricks up his sleeve. In the two games Zach Ertz has missed this year, Trey Burton has caught seven-of-10 targets for 111 yards and three touchdowns including a 71-yard, two-touchdown gem against the Rams in Week 14. (LW: 2)
6 - Eagles won but lost Carson Wentz for the season. (LW: 4)
3 - As our colleague Sam Monson wrote earlier this week, the Eagles have positioned themselves better than most to deal with an injury to the quarterback position. Sunday provided a microcosm of how they can continue to win with Nick Foles behind center. A suffocating pass-rush of Chris Long (one sack, four hurries), Brandon Graham (six total pressures) and Fletcher Cox (five total pressures) forced a key turnover and put their depleted offense (without left tackle Jason Peters as well) in an advantageous spot to take the lead in a game where their starting quarterback left the field while trailing. With a relatively easy schedule upcoming, it will be important for the Eagles to secure home field and the best possible platform from which to move forward. (LW: 3)
2 - This week, the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams played the best and closest of the recent DVOA Bowl games. The Eagles pulled out a 43-35 win (that was really a 37-35 win plus a meaningless touchdown returning the Rams' fumble on an end-game "zillions of laterals" attempt). So the team that wins the DVOA Bowl should be No. 1 in DVOA now, right? Nope. (LW: 2)
1 - No explanation (LW: 2)
The rankings range from as high as 1 to as low as 8. The most common ranking is 3. The average ranking is 3.63, which is down from last week’s average of 3.0.
The Eagles likely would’ve been the unanimous No. 1 if it weren’t for the Carson Wentz injury. But here we are.
I understand dropping the Eagles a little bit because of the injury. Their Super Bowl chances are obviously worse with Wentz out. Writing them off entirely, though, is dramatic. Winning the No. 1 seed is very much in reach for this team. From there, the Eagles are 12-2 at home in the Doug Pederson era. They’ve also had Wentz for all of those games, yes, but you still have to feel like they at least have a fighting chance at home. Right?
In other words: EFF YOU, WE’RE WINNING ANYWAY!