Going into week 7, the Philadelphia Eagles find themselves firmly in control of not only the NFC East but the entire NFC. They are the only team in the NFC with only one loss and one of only three teams in the league with only one loss. They are wildly outperforming expectations, and at this point, have to be considered serious contenders. Thus, there are a lot more positive takeaways than there are negative takeaways. Still, even on teams playing this well, there a couple things they could work on. I already talked about a couple things in my instant observations article after their Thursday Night win over the Panthers. I talked about how dominant their run defense has been, about how they are about to get some reinforcements back from injuries, about the run game, and more.
+ Dominance on the road
Eagles have played four of their six games on the road so far. They are 3-1 in those games, with the one loss being a close game in Kansas City. They beat Washington, San Diego, and Carolina, on the road, though to be fair, that San Diego game was sort of an Eagles home game. Their next three games are at home. Not only that, but the schedule gets easier.
They have some tough games, like Broncos at home in 3 weeks, at Seattle, and the Cowboys games will still be tough of course. But even that Broncos game, finds the Broncos at the end of a three-game road trip, and in the middle of a game with the Chiefs, and a game with the Patriots. There is a decent chance, that Ezekial Elliot will be suspended during one of those games with the Cowboys. And the Seahawks are not the Seahawks of a couple years ago.
+Wentz MVP candidate
I am not saying he is top 10, or in the mix. He is legitimately a top 3 candidate for the award. Aaron Rodgers is out, because of his unfortunate injury. Watching Alex Smith play against the Steelers, it was clear he was never a real contender for the award. Matt Ryan is not playing like an MVP this year. Tom Brady is in the mix, like always, but the Patriots have struggled so far this year. Who else could it be? Kareem Hunt or Todd Gurley? Maybe, but the award has favored QBs most years. Wentz in his second year has made huge strides and still has room to improve.
17 tackles, 12 of which were solo tackles, in week 6. Kendricks was all over the field on Thursday night and is a big reason they held the Panthers running backs to under 8 yards. Kendricks has had a true bounce-back year, after looking so out of place last year.
Fletcher Cox’s great performance will not show up on the stat sheet. However, he was a dominant factor in their win. You can credit him for a couple of those interceptions Cam threw, as he was consistently in Cam’s face, hitting him while he threw, and giving him no time to get set. Getting Cox back was huge for the Eagles.
Eagles committed 10 penalties for 126 yards. Now granted, there were some very soft penalties there. The officiating crew was so one-sided, that there is literally an online petition to get the head referee banned from working Eagles games. Still, some of the penalties were rightly called, and a few of them almost cost the Eagles big. The Jalen Mills pass interference specifically, not only took away an interception, it not only let the Panthers get into the red zone, but it was completely unnecessary. Even if he didn’t interfere, it still would have been an interception. Mills is young and plays the game very tough, he is going to make mistakes like this. Still, hopefully, these will be few and far between going forward.
+Other teams falling apart
Sadly, Aaron Rodgers may be lost for the season after breaking his collarbone. It sucks for the NFL. However, like it or not, it benefits the Eagles. You do not have to be joyous about it happening, but it means one less team to compete with. With the way the Packers offense operated with Brett Hundley under center, the Packers are in trouble. Not only that, but the Falcons lost at home to the struggling Dolphins, and have a tough schedule ahead of them. Dallas may be without Zeke Elliot for the next 6 games. The Lions seem to be crumbling after an embarrassing game against the Saints. While the Eagles soar, other top teams around the league fall. Things seem to be coming together for the Eagles.
Bradham was all over the place in coverage, generally in a good way. He was targeted seven times in coverage, and while he did allow one 20-yard first down, only two other passes were completed against him for a combined 10 yards. He broke up two other passes, including one on third-and-one on the Panthers’ final drive that otherwise would have been an easy catch on a slant for a first down. In addition to the two pass breakups, he also had a game-high six defensive stops.
Bradham played great in Carolina. Him stepping up was key, especially considering the fact Jordan Hicks left the game.
You can’t do any better than allowing 0 pressures on the QB. Peters has played some of the best football of his career this year. At his age, he can’t have much time left, but like an old rock band having one last farewell tour where they perform better than ever, Peters is trying to go out with a bang. It would be great if the Eagles could win one for him. Peters is sure fire hall of fame player and deserves to win a Superbowl before he retires. He is earning that contract extension they gave him in offseason.
This is nitpicking, but Jeffrey hasn’t quite lived up to expectations this season. He has played fine, but he is not winning the 50/50 balls Eagles fans were promised he would win, and he has yet to have a 100-yard game. He isn’t making the best case for himself to get a mega-contract in the offseason, as he is playing for like a number two WR than a number one. Will it hurt the Eagles if he doesn’t play to his potential? No, but it would certainly benefit them if he got going.
Agholor is dynamic with the ball in his hands. No one on this team has improved more than him, and his confidence is key. A lot was expected out of him his last two years. This year, no expectations, and he is in the slot. All he has to do is go out there and play. He was getting open in his first two years, but he didn’t have the hands, or the instincts, to get the ball. This year, he does. He may be the most dangerous weapon on this team, and Eagles need to target him more.
No one gets more hate than Dougie P. But his playcalling has mostly been spectacular this year. Ever since he started balancing the run/pass ratio, he has mostly been flawless. The entire coaching staff has been great. Jim Schwatrz’s playcalling on defense has been superb. Fipp’s coaching on special teams is great as always, the position coaches have the players well prepared. It’s like an antique clock with all the parts working perfectly in sync.