NFL power rankings roundup: Eagles continue to lead the pack

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NFL power rankings roundup: Eagles continue to lead the pack

The Eagles were back at the Linc last Sunday afternoon for a matchup against the Chicago Bears, whose defense has been quite underrated this season. 

That didn’t prevent tight end Zach Ertz from turning in a 10-catch performance to help the Birds handily defeat the Bears, 31-3.

The Eagles still hold the best record in the NFL and have a chance to clinch the NFC East this week with a win or a Dallas loss or tie to the Redskins on Thursday night.

Now the Eagles shift their attention to the Seattle Seahawks for a Sunday night matchup in the Pacific Northwest. 

Here’s a roundup of where the Eagles landed in this week's national power rankings after Week 12:

ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio: Stayed at No. 1
Florio wrote, “They’re making it look too easy. At some point, it won’t be.”

The Eagles have been on cruise control since losing to former coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs in Week 2. They have now reeled off nine straight victories and it doesn’t seem like they are ready to slow down. Florio might be hinting that the Eagles’ West Coast trip coming up against Seattle and Los Angeles to play the Seahawks and the Rams might be the real test for them at this point (see story).

NFL.com's Elliot Harrison: Stayed at No. 1
Harrison wrote, “The Eagles are rolling through the league right now — or electric sliding, if you happened to catch the late stages of their declawing of the Bears. Carson Wentz continues to be the talk of the league, but as my colleague Steve Mariucci pointed out this weekend, general manager Howie Roseman must be given credit for the depth he's acquired to bolster Doug Pederson's roster.”

The Eagles have been one of the most fun teams in the NFL this season (see story). The Birds have celebrated in many ways, whether it was hitting a home run or getting hit by a pitch. However, the choreographed Electric Slide after an interception by Corey Graham has to top the list. 

USA TODAY: Stayed at No. 1
USA TODAY wrote, “Peaking too soon? They've won past three games by 28 points apiece, which is why NFC East may be wrapped before three-game road trip starts Sunday.”

The Eagles could clinch the NFC East before even stepping on the field in Seattle. Something to consider here: In Week 17 last season, the Cowboys rested their key skill players in an effort to keep them fresh and healthy for the divisional round of the playoffs, a game they would lose to Green Bay. The Eagles might be in a similar situation coming down the stretch, which could be concerning. But with the Vikings, Saints, Panthers and Rams all within striking distance for a top-two seed and home-field advantage, the Eagles can't afford to step off the gas now.

Yahoo! Sports' Frank Schwab: Stayed at No. 1
Schwab wrote, “The Jay Ajayi trade looks peculiar three weeks into it. Ajayi has just 22 total touches in three games. He had just six touches on Sunday. It seems that rookie Corey Clement could have handled the role Ajayi has and it wouldn’t have cost the Eagles a draft pick.”

Ajayi seemed frustrated after the game against the Bears and you would be too if you fumbled at the goal line after breaking a long run (see story). He ended up with six total touches in Week 12 for a total of 33 yards. Ajayi has been the game-breaker for the Eagles in the run game, while LeGarrette Blount has been bulldozing defenses for short gains. Expect this running back by committee with Ajayi, Blount and Clement to continue.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco: Stayed at No. 1
Prisco wrote, “They just keep right on rolling and Carson Wentz is getting better. They are the class of the NFC — by far.”

They are the class of the NFC without a doubt and the Patriots and Steelers are the same in the AFC. The Patriots and Steelers play in Week 15, so one of those teams will cement itself as the head of the conference after that matchup. There is a lot of football left, but the Eagles should be the class of the NFL right now, not just the NFC.

The Washington Post's Mark Maske: Stayed at No. 1
Maske wrote, “The Eagles’ last three wins have come by 28 points each. They haven’t had a single-digit margin of victory since a five-point triumph at Carolina on Oct. 12.”

The Eagles have been destroying every team in their path over the last 2½ months. They are the top-scoring offense in the league with an average of 32 points per game, two points better than any other team in the NFL. 

ESPN: Stayed at No. 1
ESPN wrote, “The Eagles have the best record in the NFL and are the most efficient team, according to FPI — and that's all thanks to balance. They've thrown for the most touchdowns, rushed for the most yards after contact, allowed the fewest rushing yards per game and allowed the second-fewest yards per pass attempt.”

This balance has been terrific for this offense and especially to take the pressure off of Wentz. Wentz’s ability to spread the football around only enhances the offensive prowess of this team. It also helps when the defense continues to dominate opponents (see story).

NFL power rankings roundup: Eagles alone at the top

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NFL power rankings roundup: Eagles alone at the top

The Eagles were at home last Sunday afternoon for a matchup against a reeling Denver Broncos team that had lost three straight games coming into the week. The Birds used another four-touchdown performance from MVP frontrunner Carson Wentz to defeat the Broncos, 51-23.

The victory against the Broncos puts the Birds at 8-1 as they head into their Week 10 bye. They still hold the best record in the NFL and a 2.5-game lead in the NFC East over the Cowboys, who sit at 5-3.

Here’s a roundup of where the Eagles landed in this week's national power rankings:

ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio: Stayed at No. 1
Florio wrote, “Scoring 51 against the defense that won Super Bowl 50 may be the clearest sign yet that this team is headed for Super Bowl LII.”

The Eagles continue to show the NFL that no defense scares them in the slightest. Wentz completed 15 of 27 passes for 199 yards and four touchdowns — another solid performance from the sophomore quarterback. The addition of former Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi also gave the Eagles a great burst. Ajayi broke free on a 46-yard run for a touchdown behind great blocking. This team seems unstoppable right now.

NFL.com's Elliot Harrison: Stayed at No. 1
Harrison wrote, “The first quarter of Sunday's blowout of the Broncos told you all you needed to know about these Eagles. Carson Wentz led them on three scoring drives in three possessions.”

The Eagles imposed their will from the beginning on the Broncos and didn’t look back. This team is fearless and there is no team in the NFL better than the Eagles right now. For Philadelphia sports fans, it is a feeling they have been chasing for awhile.

USA TODAY: Stayed at No. 1
USA TODAY wrote, “Today's first history lesson — the previous four times Philly started a season 8-1, they advanced to the NFL title game/Super Bowl?”

The last time the Eagles made the Super Bowl was in 2005 and it ended in a heartbreaking 24-21 loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. This team might even be better than that 2004-05 team and is playing like it. Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, is some time from now, and the Eagles need to continue to keep the petal to the metal.

Yahoo! Sports' Frank Schwab: Stayed at No. 1
Schwab wrote, “They put up 51 points without Zach Ertz, who has been their most reliable receiver. Against a Broncos defense that is still among the best in the NFL.”

Ertz didn’t play in the game against Denver because of a hamstring injury, but he still leads all tight ends in the NFL with six touchdowns. He is third in the NFL in tight end receptions with 43 and is second to Travis Kelce with 528 receiving yards. The Eagles scored the most points in a game this season without Wentz’s favorite red zone target. This shows why Wentz’s ability to spread the football around is so valuable.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco: Stayed at No. 1
Prisco wrote, “The schedule is about to get a lot tougher the next month. We will know a lot more about them come December.”

Four of the Eagles’ next five games are on the road. They are at Dallas, home against an improved Chicago defense, at Seattle, at the Rams and at the Giants in Week 14. That is probably the toughest stretch of the season so far for the Eagles. The Cowboys, Seahawks and Rams are the closest contenders to the Eagles in the NFC and it will be interesting to see how they handle these teams on the road.

The Washington Post's Mark Maske: Up one spot to No. 1
Maske wrote, “There is no reason to doubt any longer that this is the NFL’s best team. It’s not an early-season illusion. It’s past the halfway point of their season, and the Eagles are the league’s most complete team.”

Maske finally came to his senses and placed the Eagles at No. 1. He continued to back the Patriots as the top team, when in reality the Eagles have shown more. I think it was all based on how the Eagles haven’t sealed the deal and the Patriots have done it five times in the Brady and Bill Belichick era. He has finally realized which team has been the best all season and his rankings now support it.

ESPN: Stayed at No. 1
ESPN wrote, “Carson Wentz leads the NFL in touchdown passes (23) and is the primary reason the Eagles jumped from 15th heading into the season to first in our midseason edition.”

The next closest quarterback is the Texans’ Deshaun Watson with 19 passing touchdowns. Watson is now out for the remainder of the season after sustaining a torn ACL. Wentz has been nothing short of spectacular, the reason why he is the MVP frontrunner at this point in the season.

NFL power rankings roundup: Eagles remain at the top ... for the most part

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NFL power rankings roundup: Eagles remain at the top ... for the most part

The Eagles continued their homestand at Lincoln Financial Field last Sunday in a matchup against the winless San Francisco 49ers.

The Birds used a four-sack performance from the defense in a downpour to defeat the Niners, 33-10.

The victory over the 49ers puts the Eagles at 7-1. They still hold the best record in the NFL and a 2.5-game lead in the NFC East over the Cowboys, who sit at 4-3.

Now the Eagles shift their attention to the Denver Broncos, who are coming off of an embarrassing 29-19 loss to the Chiefs on Monday night.

Before the Birds host a reeling Broncos team on Sunday afternoon, here's a roundup of where the Eagles landed in this week's national power rankings:

ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio: Stayed at No. 1
Florio wrote, “If the Dolphins were trying to send a message to Jay Ajayi by trading him to the best team in football, he’s probably not upset about receiving it.”

As the trade deadline ticked down on Tuesday, the Eagles were one of a couple of teams who made some big moves. The Eagles traded a fourth-round pick to the Dolphins for running back Ajayi (see story). Although he has struggled this season behind a horrid offensive line, Ajayi is a solid tailback to add to the Birds' backfield. A big concern through this process has been Ajayi’s attitude and his knees. Only time will tell if he can be a valuable asset in Philadelphia.

NFL.com's Elliot Harrison: Stayed at No. 1
Harrison wrote, “The Eagles are playing solid ball on offense, defense and even made some hay on special teams Sunday. Perhaps most importantly, Philadelphia did what good teams are supposed to do against weak opponents, especially at home: win decisively.”

The Eagles started slowly against the 49ers on Sunday but found their footing in the rain and mud to win by 23 points at the Linc. The Birds sacked 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard four times and he spent a good amount of time on the ground. The Eagles possess the best rushing defense in the NFL, allowing just 70.4 yards per game. That puts a tremendous amount of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, leading to a healthy amount of turnovers.

USA TODAY: Stayed at No. 1
USA TODAY wrote, “Lost amid Carson Wentz hoopla is the defense coming off its best performance of the season and run game that features four players with 130-plus yards … and, now, Jay Ajayi?”

This season, Ajayi has rushed for 465 yards on 138 carries, a 3.4-yard average. Miami’s offensive line has not been good and the team has been playing from behind in most games. Ajayi was a bell cow back for the Dolphins, averaging 19.7 carries per game and a total of 152 touches thus far. Ajayi doesn’t need to be the main guy for the Eagles. He just needs to make the most of his opportunities. I think 12 to 15 touches a game is realistic for Ajayi. He is also good in pass protection.

Yahoo! Sports' Frank Schwab: Stayed at No. 1
Schwab wrote, “With how well Carson Wentz has played, it’s surprising Alshon Jeffery has been so quiet. If Jeffery plays like the true difference maker he has been in the past, the Eagles get a lot better. And they’re already pretty good.”

Jeffery has been relatively quiet this season. Catching 28 balls for 416 yards isn’t the end of the world but it wasn’t what Eagles fans expected after he signed in the offseason. Wentz loves to spread it around and he likes to target Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor in the red zone. Better days are ahead for Jeffery but don’t expect huge games moving forward.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco: Stayed at No. 1
Prisco wrote, “They have a quarterback and pass rushers. That's usually a good combination. They are rolling.”

Wentz probably had his worst game of the season against the 49ers, completing only 56 percent of his passes for 211 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The conditions were horrible so he was able to get away with it but he was missing receivers long quite a bit. He should be able to rebound next week.

The Washington Post's Mark Maske: Stayed at No. 2
Maske wrote, “Prevailing at home against the winless Niners was not exactly a major accomplishment. But beating the teams you should beat is part of the equation for being good in the NFL. The Eagles are the NFC’s Super Bowl front-runner.”

Maske still feels the Eagles ride second fiddle to the Patriots and I still don’t get it. The Patriots struggled to move the ball against the Chargers and Los Angeles had a chance to tie on the last play. I don’t see how you can continue to put the Patriots above the Eagles outside of the fact that they have won multiple Super Bowls. At this point, there is no reason to say the Eagles aren’t the best team in the NFL right now.

ESPN: Up one spot to No. 1
ESPN wrote, “The Eagles own the NFL's best record right now, but will that last once the schedule toughens up? The Eagles have played the third-easiest schedule and have big tests against the Broncos, Cowboys, Seahawks and Rams coming up.”

Unlike Maske, ESPN finally came to its senses. The Eagles do have a tough upcoming schedule as they play Denver, Dallas, Seattle and the Rams. The Broncos shouldn’t scare the Birds at all. They have lost their last three and can’t score. They also don’t have a competent starting quarterback right now.