State of the Birds

We have reached the quarter poll of the NFL season. The Eagles sit a top the NFC East and the NFC at 3-1.  The Redskins and Cowboys are tied for second in the divison at 2-2 and the Giants are in the basement at 0-4. There is not too much to complain about the Eagles season thus far, but there is still much to improve on. Here’s a look at what the Eagles have shown us and what they have approaching in the coming weeks.
The Offense

Photo: NBC Philadelphia

   At 3-1, with a 2-0 record in the division, the Eagles are in pretty good shape, despite dealing with injuries to key players like Fletcher Cox, Ronald Darby, Darren Sproles and Rodney McLeod. The offense has looked great, they are 3rd in the NFL in Yards per game, 7th in points per game and 1st in time of possession, according to nfl.com . Ever since the week 2 loss to the Kansas City Cheifs, Doug Pederson has balanced the offense much better, running the ball 39 times against the Giants and 42 times against the Chargers. The running attack has taken loads of pressure off Carson Wentz. Wentz has completed 60.5% of his passes for 1,058 yards and 6 touchdowns. However, Wentz does have 2 interceptions but he has not thrown one since week 2 against the Cheifs. If Pederson keeps moving the ball on the ground and Wentz takes care of the rock, we can surely assume that the offense will continue to succeed.
 The Defense

Photo: Philly.com

  The defense, despite what the numbers say, has performed well. They are 24th in the league in Yards per game, which is most certainly not ideal. Like I mentioned earlier, Jim Schwartz has had to deal with multiple injuries to key players. Rodney McLeod suffered a hamstring injury against the Eagles only loss against the Chiefs which also caused him to miss the Giants game. Fletcher Cox injured his calf during the Giants matchup and would miss the following game against the Chargers. When Darby went down in week 1, rookie Rasul Douglas was forced into a starting role.  Douglas showed potential against New York when he shadowed Brandon Marshall down the sideline to make a play on a jump ball and come down with the interception. However, he struggled against the Chargers when he allowed Tyrell Williams to blow by him on double move for a 75-yard touchdown, among several other big plays. But Douglas’ starting opportunities are now numbered, as it is rumored that Ronald Darby and 2nd round pick Sidney Jones will both be returning for the Eagles’ week 7 matchup against the Washington Redskins. The Birds’ defense has looked solid so far, but getting Darby back and now adding Sidney Jones into the mix gives them the opportunity to be truly elite.
Special Teams

Photo: NBC Philadelphia

Jake Elliott is 6/6 ever since Jason Peters demanded that there be no more misses. Elliott has hit from 46, 61, 45, 40, 53 and 47. Build the statue.
Looking Ahead
  The Eagles have a game coming up against the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona is 2-2, but have not looked great. They lost one of, if not the best, running backs in the league in David Johnson which may be why they are 21st in the league in points per game. It also doesn’t help that Carson Palmer has already thrown 5 interceptions through 4 games. The bottom line is that they are playing bad football and the Eagles need to take advantage of it because the Cardinals are a much inferior team.
 Following the game against Arizona, the Eagles have a Thursday night game in Charlotte against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers look improved from 2016, coming off a big win against the Patriots. The Panthers are a good team to begin with, then you factor in that the game is away and it’s a short week. This will definitely be a tough one for the birds.
 The Eagles then come home for a Monday night game against the Washington Redskins. The Redskins are 2-2 and have looked better since they lost to the Eagles. They have beaten the Rams(3-1) and the Raiders(2-2) and just recently lost a close game to the Chiefs(4-0). The Eagles are still the better team, but this game is most likely going to be a lot tougher to win than the first.
  After Washington, the San Francisco 49ers come to Philly. The niners are an all around bad football team. After going 2-14 in 2016, they have started this season 0-4 and have not looked better. The Eagles should win this game comfortably.
Wrappin’ it up
Despite all the criticism the team receives, the Eagles have done a great job 4 games into the season. If Doug continues to run a balanced offense and Jim Schwartz’s defense keeps stalling opposing teams, then the Eagles will keep winning football games and remain on track for a division title.
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