More Sports:

September 06, 2023

Eagles power ranking roundup: Week 1

How does the NFL media landscape view the Eagles right now?

Eagles NFL
090623JalenHurts Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Eagles star QB Jalen Hurts

Are power rankings completely dumb and meaningless? Yes. Yes, they are. However, personally speaking, whenever I see them, I click. And now that I've sucked you in with promises of many power rankings, you'll read it and like it.

Here's where people around the country have the Eagles ranked to start the 2023 regular season. Oh, and here's our version of these sellout rankings, too. 2nd

The Eagles arguably have the deepest roster in the NFL, with few obvious concerns across the board. How loaded are they? Derek Barnett is perhaps their fifth-best pass rusher now. But if there’s a position higher on the importance ladder that looks a bit thin right now, it’s wide receiver. A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are All-Pro caliber. But they currently have only Quez Watkins and Olamide Zaccheaus behind them on the roster. Thus, losing either Brown or Smith for an extended period would fundamentally change the makeup of this unit. Right now, it’s not a worry. It’s the kind of thing normally not taken into massive consideration until it’s a problem. The Eagles have to hope it never becomes one.

#JimmySays: If I may quibble, Barnett is probably the Eagles' eighth best pass rusher, at best, behind Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham, Nolan Smith, Jalen Carter, Fletcher Cox, and Milton Williams. He may also be behind guys like Nakobe Dean and Moro Ojomo, but TBD there.

The Eagles' lack of depth on the outside at receiver is concerning, and yet, if Brown or Smith went down, a group consisting of Goedert, Watkins/Zaccheaus, D'Andre Swift, and whoever is left between Brown/Smith still isn't bad.

ESPN: 2nd

On the hot seat: ST coach Michael Clay

Special teams was the weakest of Philadelphia's three units last season. There were a number of notable miscues, none bigger than an errant punt during Super Bowl LVII against the Chiefs that led to a pivotal 65-yard Kadarius Toney return in the fourth quarter. Clay reportedly received a contract extension this offseason, but his group needs to perform to ensure his job security moving forward.

#JimmySays: This was from a few weeks ago. I don't know if ESPN is publishing a fresh one for Week 1, so this will have to do.

The Athletic: 2nd

Best-case scenario: For the third consecutive season, Jalen Hurts is better than he was the year before, and his fortune of getting to throw to arguably the best trio of pass catchers means the Eagles have the best offense in the NFL. The expected weakness of the NFC proves correct, and the team has an easy return path to the Super Bowl.

Worst-case scenario: Regression hits hard for a team that was exceedingly healthy and turnover-lucky in 2022, and a more difficult schedule drops Philadelphia to second place in the NFC East. The defense takes a big step back after so much offseason turnover, and Jalen Carter is more of a typical rookie defensive tackle than an immediate Javon Hargrave replacement. Playing on Christmas Day means hackneyed references to snowballs and Santa.

#JimmySays: Oh there will definitely be "snowballs and Santa" references in either scenario. I'm more inclined to lean toward Bo's "best case scenario" than his "worst case scenario." 

Also, my worst case scenario for The Athletic's power rankings will be that they are great as always Week 1 but will dip for some reason going forward.

USA Today: 2nd

Can QB Jalen Hurts win the MVP he almost snagged in 2022? Can Philadelphia get off to another hot start despite two new coordinators? Could the Iggles be the first back-to-back NFC East champs in 19 years? Do they have the roster to take one step further than last season? Yes … on all counts.

#JimmySays: On the "hot start" point, while the Eagles have a harder schedule than they did a year ago, the first five games don't look super daunting on paper:

  1. Week 1: At Patriots
  2. Week 2: Vikings
  3. Week 3: At Buccaneers
  4. Week 4: Commanders
  5. Week 5: At Rams

Yahoo: 2nd

We're all waiting to see what the Eagles' running back plan is, mostly for fantasy football purposes. D'Andre Swift appears to be the early leader over Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Gainwell. Swift couldn't earn the trust of the Lions' coaches, and he couldn't stay healthy either, but running behind Philadelphia's line could lead to a major breakout.

#JimmySays: Swift had that one really good run in the first preseason game and the coaching staff immediately got him the hell out of there thereafter, never to be seen in preseason game again. Gainwell got significantly more usage in camp, but it felt to me like the Eagles' staff was just saving Swift. Also — and maybe this should be the first point — Swift is more talented than Penny or Gainwell. So I guess I agree that Swift is the early leader for touches this season. We'll see.

CBS: 2nd

They are now the hunted, which will make getting back to the Super Bowl tough to do. They are still are loaded with talent, but the Super Bowl hangover is usually real.

#JimmySays: I knew it!

In the last 15 seasons, only four teams that lost the Super Bowl the previous year did not make the playoffs, and only two had losing records. Two of those four teams that did not make the playoffs would have gotten in as the 7 seed under the new playoff format. 

Five teams made it back to the conference championship game, and one won a Super Bowl.

The last time the Eagles lost in the Super Bowl their follow-up season had bad vibes from the start with all the Terrell Owens nonsense, and then it went completely sideways after they suffered a lot of injuries and had to play Mike McMahon at quarterback. I don't believe that the 2023 team has a T.O., and I like their chances of staying competitive for another Super Bowl trip even if there are significant injuries because the roster, for the most part, has good depth.

I've seen some say the Eagles could experience "Super Bowl hangover," and pass that off as legitimate analysis. It's not.

Average power ranking of the six media outlets above

  1. Week 1: 2.0

Follow Jimmy & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @JimmyKempski | thePhillyVoice

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports

Add Jimmy's RSS feed to your feed reader