After a merciless beat down of the winless 49ers, the Eagles have further entrenched themselves as the top team in the NFL. With each game that passes they look less and less like a flash in the pan and more like a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Not only has this notion been affirmed by their play on the field but it also seems that their front office is buying the hype; Howie’s ambitious trade this morning for Jay Ajayi proves that analysts and fans alike aren’t alone in their belief that this team has what it takes to win now. Here are my 4 takeaways regarding their dominance this past week and their new outlook moving forward.
The 33-10 dismantling of San Francisco doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone. As noted last week they’re a team searching for identity and talent – without those things it’s hard to come into Philly and compete with what has been the most dominant team in football. Although it should be noted that Carson Wentz had a relatively pedestrian day, fans should derive confidence from that considering he didn’t need to be on his ‘A game’ for this team to win, and win easy.
As each week passes the number of fans and experts who jump on the Birds’ bandwagon grows. A great deal of people would now tell you that they think the Eagles are hands down the best team in the league and their favorite to win the Super Bowl. I agree with the first claim but to the idea that the Eagles are now Super Bowl favorites I think we need to slow our roll. A big reason we can easily single out the Birds as the favorite is because there aren’t any clear cut teams as complete as them. History tells us that by year’s end another team will plug their weaknesses and head into the playoffs as the hottest team in the NFL. The Patriots and their defense or Seattle and their new O-line are just two possibilities. Additionally, we’ve seen teams start out hot in the first half only to, for whatever reason, regress to the mean (8-0 Cincy in 2015 comes to mind). I don’t expect that to happen with Wentz at the helm, but the reality is anything can happen with 9 weeks left in a season and we should enjoy this success while it lasts rather than get ahead of ourselves – a mistake many fans made last season.
As the trade deadline approached Howie was faced with a decision that would speak volumes about what he thinks this team can do in 2017. By trading for a thousand yard rusher Howie Roseman made it clear that he stands in lock-step with most of the fan base in wanting to go for it all and contend right now. With a path to home field advantage and Aaron Rodgers on the shelf for the season it’s hard to see a clear obstacle to them representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. Although we were expecting a trade for a tackle or linebacker, this move gives the Birds a legitimate every down rusher who should help relieve some pressure from Wentz. It won’t transform our offense in any significant way, but at the very least it proves that Howie, Doug, and company are serious about contending for a Super Bowl this season.
After a 3-1 start to the season Denver had the looks of a contender with their dominant defense and Trevor Siemian doing just enough to get by. Fast forward six weeks and we see that Siemian is wholly inept throwing the ball and the team’s offensive struggles have been enough to hold back an otherwise elite defense in three consecutive losses. Sitting at 3-4 Denver comes to town looking to turn around their season and keep from sliding two games under .500. I expect Philly to have trouble moving the ball against this team as they’re holding opponents to just 261 yards of offense per game, good for first in the NFL. With that being said the problems this defense creates for us will likely pale in comparison to the problems Siemian or Osweiler create for their own offense. Barring a down performance fans should expect them to come out with energy for a full 60 minutes and take care of a quarterback-less Bronco team.