The Eagles are 5-1. Their only loss came to a team that is widely considered to be the class of the AFC. Fans are optimistic and the team is getting national recognition as a legitimate contender. Everyone is excited.
But—and there’s always a ‘but’ when you’re a Philadelphia sports fan—are the Eagles in the same class as the perennial Super Bowl contenders around the league? You know, the teams that are always in the playoffs: Seattle, New England, Atlanta, Kansas City, Green Bay. When it’s January, the weather’s freezing, and teams are clicking on all cylinders; does this Eagles team have what it takes?
Early on this season, a lot of doubt surrounds the usual playoff teams. Seattle’s offense is sputtering as they have struggled to find a run game. New England’s barely managed a victory over a severely overmatched Jets team. Atlanta’s offense is not nearly as efficient as it was under Kyle Shanahan. Kansas City looked lifeless in a home loss to the Steelers. Green Bay may have lost Aaron Rodgers for the season.
#Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) will have tests to determine the next course of action. Chance he returns late, but just a chance.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 16, 2017
If there was ever a year for a team to rise up and establish themselves as the new team to beat, 2017 seems like the perfect time. The Eagles’ offense has found its balance, leaning more heavily on the running game and allowing Carson Wentz to make plays with his feet. Jim Schwartz’s defense looks impenetrable, with a disruptive pass rush and sure tackling secondary. They are playing well in all three facets of the game.
There will always be reasons to doubt: a still developing second-year quarterback, a thin secondary, questionable decision-making, etc. All teams have areas they can improve upon, even the great ones. Some would argue that the Eagles haven’t even reached their peak yet. It is time to get excited about this team.