December 27, 2022
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 have the Birds ranked after Week 16. Oh, and here's our version of these sellout rankings, too. Also-also, NFL.com hasn't published their power rankings yet, I don't feel like waiting any longer, so we'll add them in later.
Defining moment: A 35-10 win over the Titans in Week 13.
The talk heading into Week 13 was that Philadelphia would have to match Tennessee's physicality and that the Titans, also boasting a strong run game, might be the type of team that could give the Eagles a problem. But it was no problem at all. Tennessee's Derrick Henry was limited to 30 yards on 11 carries, Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts ascended to another level as a passer with 380 yards and three touchdowns through the air and Eagles wideout A.J. Brown (119 receiving yards, two scores) solidified his case for why the Titans made a mistake by trading him away. The Eagles bullied the bullies to improve to 11-1 and showed the rest of the league that they're for real.
#JimmySays: That win is looking less impressive more recently, as the Titans have since gone into a free fall. My vote for "defining moment" was when they obliterated the Vikings Week 2. I think that was when it was clear this team was really good.
The Eagles turned the ball over four times, allowed Dak Prescott to complete all 24 passes he attempted against zone defense and surrendered a key conversion on third-and-30. And yet they still had a chance to overcome all that and clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC until Gardner Minshew’s heave from the 19-yard line fell incomplete. That says as much about the Eagles’ depth as anything, and they should be able to wrap things up this week against a Saints team whose misfortune only improves Philadelphia’s draft capital. But the Eagles drop below the upper tier of the AFC because of mounting injuries. We don’t know how Jalen Hurts will look once he returns, Avonte Maddox is an integral part of the secondary against good quarterbacks, and Lane Johnson, who is out for at least the remainder of the regular season with an abdominal injury, might be as important to the offense as anyone other than Hurts.
#JimmySays: I think Bo makes a somewhat overlooked point here on Hurts. In 2019, Dak Prescott sprained his shoulder during a Week 15 game against the Los Angeles Rams. He played the next week against the Eagles in a game that was essentially for the division, but his throwing ability was very clearly affected by the injury (he stunk in that game), and the Eagles won fairly easily, 17-9.
Just because Hurts returns to the lineup, whenever that is, doesn't mean that he will immediately be the MVP player we saw all season long. Obviously, the longer he has to heal, the better.
Gardner Minshew gave the Eagles a legitimate chance against the Cowboys on Saturday, but the Eagles’ second-half turnovers squandered any hope they had of clinching the NFC East title in Week 16. Whether it will be Minshew or Jalen Hurts quarterbacking the Eagles for the next two weeks, they simply can’t turn the ball over at the rate they did against Dallas if Philly hopes to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
#JimmySays: Turnovers are indeed bad. #Analysis.
Since sacks became an official statistic in 1982, no team had had at least six in four consecutive games... until now. If Philadelphia can extend its streak to six weeks, it will overtake the 1984 Bears (72) for the most sacks by one team in a season. And if DE Brandon Graham adds one to his personal total, four Iggles will be in double digits. Makes getting by in the short term without injured QB Jalen Hurts a bit easier.
#JimmySays: It should probably be noted that there have been plenty of otherwise flawed teams that have won Super Bowls because they could sack the quarterback. (See: Both recent Giants Super Bowl teams, the 2015 Broncos, etc.)
The Eagles have more dimensions than that, of course, but being able to affect the quarterback is kind of a biggie.
I'm not knocking the Eagles for a road loss at a good Cowboys team, with their backup quarterback, in which they were 19 yards at the end away from winning it. If anything, I'm more impressed with the Eagles than I was before the game.
#JimmySays: This is the optimist's view. I would also add that Prescott probably played his best game of the season, and it still almost wasn't enough.
Gardner Minshew made some good plays in place of Jalen Hurts, but he also made some big mistakes. He is a backup for a reason.
#JimmySays: Did he really make "big mistakes," though, relative to other quarterbacks around the NFL? The first interception was on him, but the second was very clearly on Quez Watkins. I would also lean strongly toward the fumbled exchange being on Boston Scott. I'm not sure what other big mistakes one might find other than those things.
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