It appears the Eagles have lost running back Darren Sproles for a while.
Sproles, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, suffered a broken arm in Sunday's 27-24 victory over the Giants and is out indefinitely.
Sproles left the game early in the second quarter with what was announced as a wrist injury and did not return after running the ball three times for 11 yards.
Despite his loss, the Eagles' run game thrived. Wendell Smallwood, LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement combined for 160 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 30 carries.
Veteran Torrey Smith, for the time being at least, will take over as the Eagles' punt returner. Smith returned one punt Sunday for nine yards. He tweeted it was his first punt return since high school.
The 34-year-old Sproles seemed to be contemplating retirement after last season, his 11th in the NFL, but backed off this spring during OTAs.
"We're gonna see," Sproles said in June. "Right after we make the playoffs, then come back and ask me."
All of you who predicted before the season that the Eagles would open with five wins in six games, raise your hand.
Put your hands down, liars.
If you made that prediction and acted on it, you're likely not reading this. You're probably taping the next episode of Island Hunters.
The Eagles haven't finished the regular season as the No. 1 seed in the NFC since 2004. The landscape can change any one of thousands of ways over the next 11 weeks. While I'm confident the Birds will return to the postseason for the first time since 2013, they're gunning for that No. 1 spot. Here are the reasons why they will, and why they won't, be atop the NFC standings after Week 17.
1. Carson Wentz
A little more than 13 months ago, we had no idea what we had in the #2 pick in the 2016 draft. Since then, he's shown that not only can he lead an offense, but he has grown as an NFL passer by leaps and bounds. He's the best QB in the game on 3rd down this season (130.5 rating), and it's no coincidence he's the favorite to win NFL MVP.
2. Lane Johnson
Wentz's performance, both last year and this year, can be directly linked to whether or not Johnson is protecting him. During Johnson's 10-game suspension for a second PED violation in 2016, the Eagles went 2-8. With him, they were 5-1 last year, 4-1 this year. It's impossible to undersell his role in the offense's efficiency.
3. Doug Pederson
If there are 70,000 fans who signed a petition to ban NFL referee Pete Morelli from working Eagles games, there should be at least three times that many that should write apology letters to the Eagles head coach. So many wanted to run him out of town for going for it on 4th & 8 against the Giants, but did you applaud him for calling the PERFECT play -- a 19-yard out route to Alshon Jeffery with seven seconds left -- a play that took EXACTLY six seconds. Since then, how many times have you screamed at your big screen over a Pederson mistake? I'm guessing not many. Give the guy some props.
4. The NFC is garbage
Who is going to beat them out for the #1 seed? The Giants are done. The Packers are done. They're two games in front of nearly half of the conference with ten games left. The way I see it, there aren't many teams that can catch them. Who's gonna do it... Case Keenum? Jared Goff?
5. You guys
If Carson Wentz has been the most pleasant surprise of the 2017 season, Eagles fans are a close second. The team opened the season with four road games in the first six weeks, but thanks to #EaglesNation, the more recent two away from the Linc sounded like home games. I defy you to name a fanbase that travels better than this one.
WHY THEY WON'T
1. The Cornerbacks
For a position group held together by chewing gum and chicken wire, they've been alright. But for every big play the corners have made, it seems like they've allowed two. They had better hope Ronald Darby returns to 100 percent sooner rather than later and that Patrick Robinson continues to find his footing in this secondary, or they'll face an uphill climb.
2. Doug Pederson
Yes, I mentioned he's been impressive as a play-caller, as well as the glue that holds the team together. But am I the only one waiting for the other shoe to drop in a close game? He's starting to win me over, but I can't be alone among those not completely sold on Doug.
3. The New Receivers
Last year, Nelson Agholor couldn't catch. This year, Torrey Smith can't catch. And for all that Wentz has done this season, it doesn't seem like the chemistry is there with Alshon Jeffery quite yet. Jeffery and Smith have been thrown to 73 times through six games. They have 38 catches (52.1 percent). That percentage must go up.
4. The schedule
To get to 5-1, the Eagles fought through some tough games. But December awaits. (Insert Game of Thrones reference.) They'll play three straight road games, including back-to-back West Coast games against the Seahawks and Rams. Throw in a Christmas night tilt with the Raiders and a New Year's Eve against a Cowboys team that could really need a win, and the season's final month will be anything but a cakewalk.
5. Chaos theory
The same thing that got us here could be a big reason it ends here. No one predicted the Eagles' 5-1 start. No one predicted the Giants' 0-5 start, or the Cowboys' 2-3 start. One thing we know, is that there's quite a bit we don't know. What I do know, is that I'm here for all of it. Eleven weeks to go ... hold on to your butts.
Eagles linebacker Joe Walker, who missed all of last year with a serious knee injury, has been voted by his teammates this year's Eagles recipient of the prestigious 2017 Ed Block Courage Award.
Walker joins such hallowed names in Eagles history as Andre Waters, Kevin Turner, Correll Buckhalter, Chad Lewis and Jason Avant in receiving the award, given annually to a player on each team who shows a commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage on and off the field.
Walker, a seventh-round pick out of Oregon in 2016, suffered a knee injury the second week of training camp last summer but bounced back to make the 53-man roster this year and has played in all six games for the 5-1 Eagles.
With Jordan Hicks hurt in the second half Thursday night in Charlotte, Walker played a career-high 13 snaps on defense against the Panthers. He's played 53 special teams snaps this year.
Ed Block was the Colts’ trainer from 1954 through 1977 after earning a Purple Heart in the Army under General Patton in the tank corps in World War II.
The 32 Ed Block Courage Award winners will be honored at the annual Ed Block Courage banquet in Baltimore this spring.
For more information on the program, go to www.EdBlock.org.
Here is a list of all the Eagles’ Ed Block Courage Award winners since the inception of the program in 1984:
2017 Joe Walker
2016 Nolan Carroll
2015 Fletcher Cox
2014 Jeremy Maclin
2013 Jason Kelce
2012 Colt Anderson
2011 Mike Patterson
2010 Jason Avant
2009 Michael Vick
2008 Jon Dorenbos
2007 Montae Reagor
2006 Jerome McDougle
2005 Chad Lewis
2004 Derrick Burgess
2003 Correll Buckhalter
2002 Shawn Barber
2001 Duce Staley & Tommy Brasher
2000 Cecil Martin
1999 Mike Mamula
1998 Bobby Taylor
1997 Rhett Hall
1996 Kevin Turner
1995 Charlie Garner
1994 Fred Barnett
1993 Andre Waters
1992 Jerome Brown
1991 David Alexander
1990 Ron Solt
1989 Mike Quick
1988 Wes Hopkins
1987 Gerry Feehery
1986 Jody Schultz
1985 Ron Jaworski
1984 John Spagnola