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NFL Power Rankings Week 16 Roundup: Everyone’s worried about the Eagles’ defense

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A look at what the experts are saying about the Birds.

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Bleeding Green Nation

1 - The team with the sole best record in the NFL. The good news for the Eagles is that their offense didn’t stall despite losing Carson Wentz. Nick Foles did a real nice job of filling in. The bad news is Philly’s defense has struggled for the past three weeks now. Maybe getting back to the Linc will be good for Jim Schwartz’s unit. The Eagles can potentially clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture with a win (or a Minnesota loss) this week. (LW: 1)

SB Nation

5 - No explanation (LW: 5)

ESPN

3 - Jason Peters (9): Before Carson Wentz went down, Peters was the Eagles' big loss of the season. The nine-time Pro Bowler was injured in Week 7 and missed the second-most games in a season of his career after missing all of 2012. (LW: 3)

NFL.com

4 - So, uh, Nick Foles is not a problem ... or the problem. Couldn't have agreed more with what Chris Spielman was driving home during the broadcast Sunday: In a nutshell, while the football world focuses on Carson Wentz's caddy, the defense was out there allowing the Giants to move up and down the field. Had it not been for Foles and a special teams unit that blocked everything, Philadelphia would have gone down to one of the worst offenses in football. Giving up 35 points to the Rams' high-octane offense is one thing, but surrendering 29 to a team that felt compelled to turn to Geno Smith a couple of weeks ago is quite another. (LW: 4)

CBS Sports

3 - Nick Foles did a nice job against the Giants, but Eli Manning shredded that defense. That's two weeks in a row that unit has struggled. (LW: 3)

Yahoo! Sports

2 - Let’s give them a pass for that defensive performance at the Giants. I don’t know what happened, but it was out of the norm. Then look at the positive: Nick Foles looked very good. If he’ll play at that level the rest of the way, the Eagles are still in good shape to make a Super Bowl (as we talked about here last week). (LW: 3)

Washington Post

7 - What happened to the defense against the Giants? The secondary was carved up by Eli Manning, and the pass rush was nonexistent. The good news was the play of fill-in QB Nick Foles, who took over for the injured Carson Wentz and threw four TD passes. But the Eagles did not look like a Super Bowl team Sunday, and it had nothing to do with Foles. (LW: 8)

Bleacher Report

8 - This is the third week in a row the Eagles defense has allowed a lot of big plays. That's what's concerning to me. Nick Foles played well, and he took care of the ball. He also made some tremendous throws once Philadelphia got down in the red area. Is he on the same level as Carson Wentz? No, but the Eagles can win with Foles. The Eagles have to be better in the run game. They need to be more patient with the run, and they need to do more downhill running. This shotgun, side-to-side running has to stop. More importantly, these defensive breakdowns have to stop. Right now, I'm less concerned with Foles and the Eagles offense and more concerned about this defense breaking down in recent weeks. (LW: 6)

Reddit

5 - Nick Foles looked like his well-endowed 2012 self, throwing for 4 TDs and bringing the Eagles back from a 14-point hole in the second half. Yet somehow losing Carson Wentz regressed the Eagles' defense back to Buchholz High School prep league. Copies of "Slant Passes For Dummies" are being distributed with the playoffs looming a few short weeks away. (LW: 4)

Sporting News

2 - Nick Foles kept the offense rolling, but some of the old concerns about the Eagles' pass defense popped up against the Giants. Philly will look to finish strong with two straight at home. (LW: 3)

Pro Football Talk

2 - Barely beating the Giants hardly means that all is well with Wentz gone. (LW: 3)

Rotoworld

2 - What rust? Making his first start for the Eagles since 2014 and his first start anywhere in over a year, Nick Foles was unstoppable in Week 15, torching the Giants for 237 yards and four touchdowns. Alshon Jeffery couldn’t buy a touchdown last year. This year he has nine including seven in his last seven games. The Eagles have kept Nelson Agholor busy. He’s drawn 32 targets over his last three games including nine Sunday at MetLife Stadium. (LW: 3)

Sports Illustrated

7 - No explanation (LW: 6)

Pro Football Focus

2 - A second-straight road comeback win finished by Nick Foles has the Eagles in the driver’s seat for the top seed in the NFC. Foles was fantastic through the intermediate part of the field Sunday in New York, completing 9-of-17 passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns on passes between 10-19 yards downfield. Running back Jay Ajayi had his second-most carries since joining Philadelphia, generating 46 yards after contact and adding another 41 yards after the catch. It will probably be playoff time before we know definitively whether Foles and Ajayi can help lead the Eagles to their first Super Bowl appearance since 2004, but initial signs are encouraging. (LW: 3)

Football Outsiders

3 - No explanation (LW: 3)

numberFire

2 - No explanation (LW: 1)

ANALYSIS

The rankings range from as high as 1 to as low as 8. The most common ranking is 2. The average ranking is 3.625, which is ever so slightly up from last week’s average of 3.63.

The big area of focus is Philadelphia’s defense. Shocking, right?

The Eagles can calm some concerns with a nice defensive performance this week as they try to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture.