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November 08, 2023

Eagles could ride these strengths to another NFC title

Here's a look at the three biggest sources of confidence for a potential Eagles Super Bowl run.

Enough with the negativity. The Eagles are 8-1.

For all their faults and frustrations throughout the first half of the NFL season, there is no team with a better record — and really no team with better stats, a better roster or a better outlook than the 2023 Philadelphia Eagles.

We spent some time lamenting over what weaknesses could be their undoing. But really, there is a lot more good than bad. Here's a look at a few of the reasons Birds fans should be beaming with confidence while they rest alongside their team during the bye week — with a Super Bowl rematch against the Chiefs ahead in a week and a half.

The offense is elite

The Eagles can do everything with the football and its the biggest reason why the team is 8-1. They have star-power across the board, with the best offensive line in football, one of the league's five best quarterbacks, one of the three best receivers and potentially one of the best No. 2 receivers in the game. Here are some of the stats that show why this offense is a reason for immense confidence moving forward:

CategoryStatNFL Rank
First downs2101st
Rush yards1,1674th
Third down %50%1st
Fourth down %76.5%1st
Time of possession33:183rd
Total plays6372nd

Those are some pretty impressive stats. No one in football is better on the important downs that the Eagles have been, and aside from the Dolphins they've been the most productive offense overall. It's really hard to beat an offense that is in such control, and Philly basically plays first and nine every possession thanks to their near automatic "tush push" QB sneak play. 

A good offense is the best defense, as the Eagles are able to keep their defenders well-rested on the sidelines as they run more plays than nearly every team in football.

The run defense is the best

If you have a fantasy running back facing the Eagles defense — don't start him. The Eagles have allowed 8.9 fantasy points per game to running backs this season. Every other NFL team allows double digits and seven of them allow 20 or more. 

Part of the success of the run defense has been the Eagles' ability to take early leads, forcing opponents to pass the ball. They've also loaded the roster up front with run stuffers like Jordan Davis, Fletcher Cox, Jalen Carter and a linebacking corps that is able to sniff out the run pretty darn well. A look at the run defense:

CategoryStatNFL Rank
YPG allowed66.31st
Yards per rush3.75th
Rush TD allowed32nd
Rush 1D's331st
Run play %29%1st

Teams really don't even try to move the ball on the ground. The next two opponents for Philly, the Chiefs and Bills, have mediocre run games (15th and 12th in rushing yards respectively) so the next big test for this unit will be against Christian McCaffrey and the 49ers in Week 13.

The roster is just loaded

The number of key players on the Eagles roster is extremely high. How important is Jason Kelce to this team? What about Lane Johnson? Haason Reddick looks like a defensive player of the year candidate. Jalen Hurts is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. A.J. Brown could set several team and NFL records this year

And the there's "big play" Slay, newly acquired All-Pro safety Kevin Byard and locker room leader Brandon Graham. Also, they boast one of the best kickers in football, Jake Elliott. 

The list goes on and on.

This is a team that is bursting with confidence and veteran leadership. The majority of this team walked off the field in Arizona last February as Super Bowl losers and they know what it takes. This roster has committed (and had accepted) the fourth fewest penalties in the NFL so far. 

And they've won a bunch of different ways. They have shown they can run it down their opponents throats (Weeks 2 and 3). They have outlasted teams in shootouts (Weeks 4, 8 and 9). They have won with pure domination (Weeks 5 and 7). They have come from behind, they have held onto leads — and their only loss came in a bizarre game without Johnson against a Jets defense that played its ass off and won a big turnover battle.

Nick Sirianni and company expect to win, and they keep doing so. 

Follow Evan on Twitter:@evan_macy

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