Wake-Up Call: An Eagles Slant To Week 7


NFL: St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia Eagles

The Birds did not play yesterday, but we still watched a lot of football. So here are five takeaways from the action, all with an Eagles slant.

1. That Thanksgiving Day matchup in Dallas is shaping up to be a monster showdown. The Cowboys extended their league-best winning streak to six games with a 31-21 victory over the Giants. The game was tied at 14 at halftime, but when Dallas needed big plays, it got them from Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant. Romo only threw six incompletions all game and totaled 279 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Murray ran for 100+ yards for the seventh straight game (28/128), and Bryant caught nine balls for 151 yards.

Eli Manning (21-for-33, 248, 3 TDs) had success against the Dallas defense, but it wasn’t enough. While the Cowboys improved to 6-1, the Giants fell to 3-4.

Dallas gets Washington and Arizona at home the next two weeks before traveling to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars.

2. OK, I probably got ahead of myself with that first note because before the Eagles face Dallas, they have to travel to the desert to take on the 5-1 Cardinals. Arizona notched a 24-13 win over Oakland. It wasn’t a dominant performance, but for the fifth time in six games, the Cardinals held their opponent to 20 points or fewer (the Broncos were the only exception). And Arizona had wins earlier this season against the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers.

The Cowboys, Eagles and Cardinals are the only remaining one-loss teams in the NFC.

3. The Eagles’ defense is looking a little better right now than it did at the beginning of the weekend. Not only did Eli Manning post a 116.7 passer rating against the Cowboys, but Dallas failed to sack him even once. Last week, the Eagles’ defense sacked Manning six times. In the Giants’ six other games, Manning’s been sacked a total of seven times.

And then there’s Andrew Luck. The Colts’ signal-caller has been on a tear. In a Week 2 matchup against the Eagles, he completed 58.8 percent of his passes and averaged just 5.06 YPA. In all of his other games combined, Luck has completed 66.8 percent of his passes and averaged 8.0 YPA.

It goes the other way too. Kirk Cousins lit up the Eagles and was benched yesterday vs. Tennessee. But still, the performance of Billy Davis’ defense against Luck and Manning looks a little more impressive today.

4. During draft time, the Eagles traded Bryce Brown to the Bills for a conditional third- or fourth-round pick.

But the Bills have had no use for Brown thus far. He’s been inactive in all seven of Buffalo’s games. That seems likely to change immediately. The Bills lost Fred Jackson (groin) and C.J. Spiller (collarbone) to injuries Sunday afternoon. That means Brown will likely finally see some action.

5. At the beginning of the season, it looked like the Eagles’ toughest game would be at home against the Seattle Seahawks. Now? I’d go with the Week 11 matchup in Lambeau.

The Packers have won four in a row and have a +52 point differential, tops in the NFC. Green Bay took it to the Panthers Sunday as Aaron Rodgers completed 19 of 22 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns. Rodgers is on an absolute tear, having thrown 17 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last six games.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, no longer look like the clear-cut favorites in the NFC. Seattle lost at home to the Cowboys a week ago and fell to the Rams on the road Sunday.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Zach Ertz discusses the differences between Chip Kelly and Jim Harbaugh.

Audio of a fired-up Nick Foles sticking up for Darren Sproles during last week’s game.

Grading the Eagles’ defense at the bye.

“I wouldn’t want to play the Eagles,” says ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Zach Berman of the Inquirer says Foles has been his biggest disappointment on offense so far:

It’s too much to ask for Foles to come close to the 27-touchdown, two-interception performance of 2013, but it’s reasonable to expect him to take better care of the ball. Foles’ 10 turnovers in six games are the most of any quarterback in the NFL. He is completing 59.5 percent of his passes, well below last year’s 64.0 mark. Foles has appeared capable of stardom this season and the Eagles are 5-1, but Foles must be more consistent.

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz draws a Percy Harvin/DeSean Jackson comparison:

You can’t help but think of the DeSean Jackson situation when you hear about this move. Both Harvin and Jackson were big stars in college, but both fell in the draft due to bad reputations with NFL teams. Both Harvin and Jackson have looked dominant at times in the NFL, but each guy has left his team wanting more. For Harvin, it was all about staying healthy. He has played in 60 of 86 career games. With Jackson, it was about going from dynamic deep threat to being a complete WR.

Both the Eagles and Seahawks thought their star players were worth getting rid of. Pete Carroll has developed a strong culture in Seattle. Chip Kelly is trying to develop one in Philadelphia. Both organizations decided the fit wasn’t right and made dramatic moves. You can argue whether the moves were good or bad. I think there are so many variables that is tough to truly judge the moves. I just find it fascinating that the teams were willing to move on from stars. That shows real confidence from each organization.

COMING UP

Bye week is over. Let’s start getting ready for Sunday’s matchup against the Cardinals.