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NFL Power Rankings Roundup: Not everyone has the Eagles on top to start the season

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What are the experts saying about the reigning Super Bowl champions?

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

As a new NFL season begins, it’s time look at how various media outlets have ranked the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in their NFL power rankings. It’s always interesting to see how the Eagles stack up from an outside perspective. But first, let’s start by revisiting my rankings.

Bleeding Green Nation

1) Philadelphia Eagles - THE REIGNING SUPER BOWL CHAMPION EAGLES begin the season on top. This team has some injury issues they’re still dealing with (most notably Carson Wentz) but hey, they’re still starting the Super Bowl MVP in Week 1. So it could be worse.

SB Nation

1) Heading into the season, the Eagles remain at top of the power rankings and their Super Bowl opponent, the New England Patriots aren’t far behind. But we’re not giving the Patriots the No. 2 spot.

ESPN

1) The Eagles believe they have the elixir to prevent a Super Bowl hangover: motivation from within. QB Carson Wentz, LT Jason Peters, RB Darren Sproles and LB Jordan Hicks are among the big-name players who were sidelined during the team’s postseason run because of injury. Leaders all, their determination to return to the big show should permeate through the team. Success in the quest to repeat will depend on the health of Wentz, who continues to work his way back from a knee injury. Can he recapture his MVP form? Luckily, the Eagles are blessed with a loaded 53-man roster and arguably have the best backup in the league in Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.

NFL.com

1) So the man who stunned us all last February will be under center for the Kickoff Game. The new/old-car smell on Nick Foles has felt more like what you’d find on an ‘89 Topaz this preseason, as the QB’s play fluttered back to Earth like one of his August tosses. All of which would mean very little if Carson Wentz were ready to go. Alas, he still hasn’t been cleared as he makes his way back from a torn ACL. Even so, with all -- er, almost all -- of the starters returning from the team that won Super Bowl LII, no other squad feels more contender-ish than this group. I can poke holes in all of ‘em, in fact.

Rotoworld

1) How do you order your cheesesteak? I’m a wiz wit guy myself. Well the Eagles order theirs with a special ingredient—adversity. Not much fazes the Eagles these days and I’m sure they won’t be sweating it with Carson Wentz (ACL) sidelined in Week 1. With Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) also out of commission, look for Philadelphia to employ more two tight-end sets. That means you’ll be seeing a lot of rookie Dallas Goedert, who impressed with nine catches for 149 yards and a touchdown during last month’s preseason slate.

USA Today

1) Nope, Carson Wentz isn’t ready. Yup, preseason a mess for Nick Foles and depleted offense. But champs retain our top spot until first L.

Reddit

1) The defending Super Bowl champions will start the season with Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles at QB. While the preseason raised more questions than it answered, if the Eagles intend to repeat, then Foles will need to shine until Carson Wentz is cleared to take back the reins.

PennLive

1) It’s hard to argue against the reigning Super Bowl winners. The Eagles have some injuries to overcome — Carson Wentz isn’t starting in Week 1 — so it might be a while before they kick it into gear. But Doug Pederson showed he’s fearless last season. The Eagles deserve to start here.

Washington Post

1) Nick Foles is the pick to start the opener at quarterback after the defending champs spent all of training camp and the preseason wondering if Carson Wentz would be available while watching Foles, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, struggle with nagging injuries and less-than-promising on-field results. No matter. The Eagles are the league’s top team until someone proves otherwise. They have a still-shiny Lombardi Trophy to prove it.

numberFire

1) No explanation

Mile High Report

2) No explanation

Yahoo Sports

4) Maybe Doug Pederson’s testy news conference in which he said he wouldn’t announce his Week 1 quarterback was some reverse psychology before the season opener. I wouldn’t put it past him. He’s a sharp guy and he knows what he’s doing. However, here’s what it looked like on the surface: A coach frustrated by things other than someone reporting that Nick Foles would start Week 1. Everyone assumed Foles would start. It wasn’t a big deal. Between Peterson’s brief standoff with the local media, and the news item that the Eagles would remove a Super Bowl champions sign in their locker room, it seems possible there are signs of a Super Bowl hangover already.

CBS Sports

5) The roster is full of talent, but there is still some concern about Carson Wentz and his knee. It doesn’t look like it will be a problem for the long term, but it’s still worrisome.

Sporting News

5) The Eagles were able to soar above the injury bug last season with some supersubs, led by Nick Foles. Doing it again against an even more stacked NFC will be difficult, especially with little clarity on Carson Wentz’s clearance.

Bleacher Report

5) This ranking will likely anger fans of the defending champions—especially given that at one point in the preseason the Eagles held down the No. 1 spot in the B/R power rankings. To be fair, there was a three-way tie between New England, Philly and New Orleans. But since the best individual ranking the Eagles received was No. 3 (Davenport), they bring up the back end of the trio. The Eagles have some issues. Carson Wentz still hasn’t been cleared for contact, much less to play in a game. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery remains sidelined by a shoulder injury. And Nick Foles banged up his shoulder in the preseason and hasn’t looked right since. Still, despite this relatively low ranking and the problems facing the team, Sobleski cautioned that no one needs to be hitting any big red buttons just yet. ”The NFC is absolutely loaded, yet the Eagles remain among the league’s best due to the team’s overall depth, especially at quarterback. Even with the uncertainty surrounding Carson Wentz’s recovery and Nick Foles’ inconsistent preseason play, the champs still have more than enough talent to be considered elite.” A home tilt with the Falcons to open the season will give the Eagles an opportunity to show they deserve to be ranked higher—or that the concerns regarding the team are valid.


ANALYSIS

The rankings range from as high as 1 to as low as 5. The average ranking is 2.1. The most common ranking is 1. (For perspective, the Eagles’ rankings ranged from 9 to 22 at this time last year. Their average ranking was 16.3.)

No one thinks the Eagles are lower than a top five team but not everyone is willing to accept that the reigning Super Bowl champs are still the best team in the league heading into the season. It’s not unfair to raise some concerns about Philadelphia’s current status given their injury situation, but I think putting them all the way down at five is a little much. Have some respect.

The Eagles can continue to prove their doubters wrong with a big win over the Falcons in front of a national audience on Thursday evening. A loss would justify them falling to around five.