Eagles Under Scrutiny: Are They Genuine Contenders or Pretenders?

 

Is there any good reason to believe in the Philadelphia Eagles right now, other than the talent on the roster? Seriously, if you have a good answer, I'd love to see your work, because even though they lost to the Jets in the first game of the season, this team currently has Because there's nothing to show they deserve 5 wins and 1 loss.

We saw this a year ago with the Minnesota Vikings, another 5-1 team that consistently shrugged off its competition and won by one point. All season long, we listened to Vikings fans say it didn't matter, a win was a win, and we struggled to justify their inconsistent results. The Giants then defeated the team in the wild car round, 13-4, by a single score.

If you're plotting the best teams in the NFL after the first third of the season, it seems like the Eagles are simply going to be included by default. No one has stopped to seriously consider whether they are truly one of the best teams in the league or deny expectations that they will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl again.

While the loss to the Jets was embarrassing, it wasn't necessarily a huge failure. Robert Saleh's team has the best defensive unit in the NFL outside of San Francisco, and with a real quarterback, it would be a strong Super Bowl contender. Still, the math remains that this team fell apart against the Jets. This isn't the first time we've seen disappointing results from Hurts and the Eagles this season, largely based on Jalen Hurts' awful play on Sunday.

Let's take Sunday's game out of consideration for a moment and look at the rest of the games so far.


5-point win over Patriots (1-5)

6 points win over Vikings (2-4)

Victory over Buccaneers by 14 points (3-2)

3 points win over Commanders (3-3)

9 point win over Rams (3-3)


This is a team that has the most trouble playing against mid-major teams in the NFL. His 20.2 points per game ranks eighth in the NFL. They are scoring 21.08 points per game, which ranks 14th in the league. The latest stats also don't favor the Eagles, as Philadelphia is playing a team with a -7.9% total DVOA and has one of the easiest schedules in the NFL so far.

The risk of a Super Bowl hangover was always real, but what we're seeing more than anything is a team that is truly missing the offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator who took the head coaching job a year ago. Everything seems to be changing too much and too fast for the team to turn the corner and find direction, and as a result, Jalen Hurts is struggling. An inconsistent running game created so much pressure on Hurts to play heroics, and Sunday's loss was due to the QB feeling the need to do too much on offense and fumble the ball as a result.

A year ago, this team felt like a well-oiled machine that dominated easy games, won shots, and pushed the best teams in the NFL to their limits. In 2023, this Eagles team doesn't have a clear identity and is taking a major step backwards. It's not reflected in the wins or losses yet, but it wouldn't be surprising at all to see this team fall into a hole, considering they have six straight games against the Dolphins, 49ers, Chiefs, and Bills.

There must be a sense of urgency in Philadelphia starting now. Because this team has too much talent to rest on its laurels at 5-1 and view this loss to the Jets as a blip on the radar, falling into a deep hole. You won't be able to get out of it.

Winner: Cleveland Browns

Digging down to a granular level, the reason this team was able to win was Jake Moody's missed field goal and some beneficial injuries that kept two of the Niners' best weapons off the field. You can say that, but I'll rule it out. The Browns don't have Nick Chubb yet, so they have Phillip Walker at quarterback.

No one has shut down Brock Purdy's 49ers offense better, so you better believe this will be a game-changing touch to add to each team's preparation.

It wasn't so much an amazing individual play that skewed the game, but rather a complete defensive performance holding San Francisco to 215 yards and 3-of-12 on third downs. This is a huge accomplishment, and a defense like this could lead Cleveland to the playoffs.

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