NFL

The Philadelphia Eagles Remain The NFC’s Darkhorse Contender

At least at the start of the second weekend of November of 2018, the Washington Redskins sit atop the NFC East standings, but the seemingly annual injury bug has found its way back into the team’s midst, ravaging the team’s offensive line and skill position group.

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The Dallas Cowboys remain the biggest pretenders in the NFL, with an owner who is filled with delusions of grandeur and a head coach whose best (and only) coaching attribute remains his ability to clap. And until the New York Giants exorcise themselves of the situation they have at quarterback, they’re not even worth mentioning in general.

And that leaves the Philadelphia Eagles. You know, that team that just so happened to win the Super Bowl last year, thanks in large part to the play of a 2nd-year quarterback who would’ve won the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award had he not gone down with a season-ending knee injury in December.

Through nine weeks this year, Philadelphia might be sitting quietly with a 4-4 record, flying under the radar while we’re all busy shouting about New Orleans and the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC. But it feels like it’s just a matter of time before they’re, once again, going to be right in the mix of contenders for a postseason spot, if not a conference crown.

Being completely frank, with this coming from a diehard fan of the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia cruising past Washington to take the lead in the NFC East just feels inevitable.

 

It’s not hyperbole to say that Washington’s hopes of winning the division crown were put on life support this week, especially if they have to start four new offensive linemen on Sunday (for a team whose entire offense involves opening up holes for Adrian Peterson). In the two games the Eagles played the Redskins last year, Philadelphia thoroughly outplayed Washington, and the Redskins simply had no answer for quarterback Carson Wentz.

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Speaking of Wentz: how many people realize that, since his return in Week 3 of this season, Wentz has thrown 12 touchdown passes and only one interception in five games? Project that out over the course of the season, and you’re looking at over 36 touchdown passes. Wentz is throwing for 306+ yards per game right now, bolstered by an increasingly spry Alshon Jeffrey and a prime contender for the “best tight end in the NFL” spot in Zach Ertz.

A lot of Philadelphia’s early-season struggles can be attributed to Nick Foles suddenly turning back into Nick Foles, the offense acclimating to the coaching staff, and the defense overcoming a few key injuries as they round into form. The latter isn’t quite there yet (the Eagles are 12th in the NFL in FootballOutsiders.com’s overall defensive DVOA metric, and 23rd in run defense), but they’re not far off, either.

Simply put, Philadelphia is one of those teams that nobody should be looking forward to playing in the second half of this season. And with five divisional games left on their schedule, the Eagles are in perfect position to book a return ticket to the playoffs by the end of this season.

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