The Philadelphia Eagles dominated the NFC for the first three months of the season on their way to the league’s best 10-1 start. Besides the game against Washington a few weeks ago, Philly always finds a way to win. They defeated two of the top three teams that chased them in the game.
Sure, the Eagles are good, and hitting 10 wins against any other team is something to celebrate, but there’s something about Philly that just isn’t worth believing. Well, that could be many things, but on the field, these Eagles are reminiscent of the Pittsburgh Steelers of 2020. Those Steelers also had a great start, winning their first 11 games before losing three of four. Last game to end the season. They were also eliminated in the knockout stages by the Cleveland Browns of all teams.
This Eagles team feels like it’s about to be disappointed soon after the season. But it will all depend on the matches, and in the NFC, there aren’t many teams that seem like a good fit for Philadelphia right now. Strength of schedule aside, the Eagles have shown through 12 weeks of the season that they are strong contenders, but that doesn’t mean they’ll win it all. Teams that can run the ball efficiently for time, play tight defence, or have top 10 full-backs are best suited to take these birds down. In NFC, very few teams possess enough of these attributes to seriously challenge the Eagles.
Philly had his first meeting with the Cowboys this season, excluding Dak Prescott. Divisional competitors will play again on Christmas Eve in Dallas, and depending on how the next four weeks go, there could be a long way to go to decide the division. With Prescott on the field, Dallas has what it takes to keep up with the Eagles. They have a QB that plays like the Eagles, they can run the ball when focused on it and the Cowboys defense is pretty good at approaching QB.
One of the most important areas for Cowboys against Eagles is stopping the run. Philly is fourth in the javelin tournament, while Dallas is a lower third in the running. But as we saw this year, when Dallas decided to play ball control, they are at their best. But, of course, these are cowboys. Expecting them to make it through, especially in the knockout stages, is like expecting Daniel Snyder to do the right thing in Washington.
San Francisco 49ers
I said that a month ago, and I will keep it for the rest of the season. 49ers have formula Be the deadliest team in NFC and have the best chance to beat the Eagles in the knockout round. Since losing to the Chiefs last month, the Niners have had four wins and held the opponent at 14, 16, 10 and 0 points, respectively. This defense allows for the fewest points in the NFL with 15.7 per game. They are number 1 in terms of total yards and allowed yards.
On the other side of the ball, San Francisco attacked explosively with many weapons against the people in Philly. And unlike the Cowboys coaching staff, Kyle Shanahan will run the ball as much as he can to get the job done. All the Niners need to continue to do is limit the possibility of Jimmy Garoppolo making mistakes. If the 49ers can continue down this path, they’ll be in the NFC championship game again, possibly against Philly. If it comes to that, get the Niners.
The Vikings in Minnesota?
Ok, I know what you are talking about. The Eagles handled the Vikings in Week 2, 24-7, 333 yards after Jalen Hurts passed the ball. But it was Week 2, and Minnesota is a different team now. After that Philly loss, Minnesota went on a seven-game winning streak in which they beat the Dolphins and Bills en route.
By the time the Vikings face the Eagles again, if they do, they will be tested in battle. The Vikings weren’t statistically top of the league, but they found a way to play winning football. After seeing the Eagles once and learning from them mistake (hopefully), Kevin O’Connell’s staff will probably develop a much better game plan the second time around.
As for Minnesota, Kirk Cousins did not make a big mistake. He made three interceptions in the Week 2 loss to Philadelphia. The Eagles struggle to fend off the run, so a large dose early and often is key. Let the running game set up some downward effort for Cousins to Justin Jefferson. But you cannot force anything. The Vikings need to get ahead of the Eagles because it’s too hard to chase them when you’re more than seven.