They did it again.
On Sunday, against Ron Rivera’s inferior Washington Commanders squad, the Philadelphia Eagles allowed Sam Howell and his pedestrian comrades to run roughshod all over the field and pile up 31 points. The offense lost two fumbles inside the three-yard line, wiping an almost certain 14 points off the board, and either lost the turnover battle or finished even for the 6th week in a row.
And yet, the Eagles led by two touchdowns with under two minutes to go in the game and ran their record to 7-1 with a 38-31 victory in the nation’s capitol.
Once gain, it didn’t matter in the end that they played far from their best game. They did what they almost always do under Jalen Hurts and Nick Sirianni.
Outside of their meltdown against the New York Jets a few weeks ago, the Eagles have piled up victories in the soft part of their schedule, with solid victories over the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Rams mixed in their, too.
But now comes the crucible, the six-game portion of their schedule that would melt the faces of most NFL teams.
- Week 9: Cowboys (5-2)
- Week 10: BYE
- Week 11: @ Chiefs (6-2)
- Week 12: Bills (5-3)
- Week 13: 49ers (5-3)
- Week 14: @ Cowboys (5-2)
- Week 15: @ Seahawks (5-2)
That’s a combined record of 26-12 and a .684 winning percentage from those five opponents. Daunting, to be sure, but how much is there for Eagles fans to fear?
The Cowboys have flashed dominance this season, and the Eagles will play their fiercest division rivals twice over the next seven weeks. Dallas has some pretty notable home/road splits through their first seven games.
Cowboys have outscored teams 111-33 at home and been outscored 87-86 on road, as Eagles visit in Philadelphia looms. Micah Parsons: "We just can’t do it one week and not the next. It has to be consistent. This will be a great opportunity to show that.” https://t.co/3Mq7SA9Tw6— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) October 29, 2023
The likeliest scenario is the Eagles split with the Cowboys, and given the fact Philadelphia hasn’t won in Dallas since 2017, it’s likely they win this week and lose in Dallas in Week 14.
San Francisco, meanwhile, is driving the struggle bus, hindered by a suddenly shaky defense and QB Brock Purdy, who has been lousy for three weeks in a row.
- @ Cleveland: 12-for-27, 125 yards, 1 TD/1 INT, 55.3 rating
- @ Minnesota: 21-for-30, 272 yards, 1 TD/2 INT, 81.5 rating
- vs. Cincinnati: 22-for-31, 365 yards, 1 TD/2 INT, 94.2 rating
That rating against Cincy looks alright, but those two interceptions were killer picks late in the game that sealed their third straight loss, dropping them into 2nd place in the NFC West.
There is also real concern Purdy could be dealing with concussion issues after taking his head slammed to the ground on Sunday. After their bye this weekend, the Niners have another tough match-up in Jacksonville against the Jags, too. Perhaps that Week 13 home game won’t look quite as scary as it did a few weeks ago. Maybe it will. We’ll see!
Going into Kansas City to play the Swifts... er... the Chiefs... is going to be a monumental task, but K.C. and Patrick Mahomes are not invulnerable. They’ve lost twice this season, including a shocking 15-point upset at the hands of the Denver Broncos this week.
THE BRONCOS BEAT THE CHIEFS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2015 pic.twitter.com/EgT10JwQIq— PFF (@PFF) October 29, 2023
Divisional games are sometimes very weird, but while the Chiefs were losing their match-up to their divisional upstarts, the Eagles were able to fend the Commanders off and win theirs. The Chiefs, will, and should, be favored, but this Super Bowl rematch will be a close one.
The Eagles will get the up-and-down Bills at Lincoln Financial Field, which should give them a decided edge. Buffalo, as well as Josh Allen, have been all over the place this season, with losses in New York against the Jets in OT, against Jacksonville at home, and in New England, a place the Eagles won earlier this year. They’ve also blown out the Raiders, Commanders and Dolphins, but barely squeaked out close wins against the awful Giants and mediocre Bucs (of course, so did Philly).
The Bills are not a juggernaut, but they have the capability of beating anyone on any given Sunday. Nevertheless, the Eagles are better and will be favored.
Finally, Seattle. They’ve lost to the Rams at home on opening day, and at the Bengals in Week 6. The opponents they’ve beaten: Detroit in OT (solid!), Carolina at home, in New York against the Giants, at home vs. Arizona and against Cleveland in Seattle. That’ll certainly be a tough match-up for the Eagles, traveling to the pacific northwest where they’ll likely be underdogs. I don’t really know what to make of the Seahawks yet, a lot can happen between now and Week 15.
This portion of the schedule will certainly be a challenge for the Eagles, but the other top teams in their conference will have similar gauntlets.
- Week 13: vs. Seattle
- Week 14: vs. Eagles
- Week 15: @ Buffalo
- Week 16: @ Miami
- Week 17: vs. Detroit
- Week 10: @ Jacksonville
- Week 11: vs. Tampa
- Week 12: @ Seattle
- Week 13: @ Eagles
- Week 14: vs. Seattle
- Week 16: vs. Baltimore
- Week 18: vs. Rams
The bottom line is the Eagles are, right now, the best the league has to offer, are remarkably consistent, are able to come back from big deficits and overcome adversity like no other in the NFL. There is no reason to fear their upcoming schedule. In fact, most teams should fear seeing “Philadelphia” on their schedules more than the Birds should fear seeing anyone listed on theirs.
That doesn’t mean Sirianni’s group is going to roll through these next seven weeks unscathed, but it also shouldn’t worry anyone. This is a good football team, perhaps the best in the league, and even going 3-3 during this stretch puts them at 10-4 heading into the soft underbelly of the season’s final month.
The Eagles are gonna be fine. Sit back and enjoy what should be some incredible football over the next two months.