NFL power rankings roundup: Eagles alone at the top

ap-brock-osweiler-hit-near-endzone-eagles-broncos.jpg
AP Images

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

ap-eagles-brandon-graham.jpg
AP Images

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.

NFL power rankings roundup: Eagles soar to the top

ap-carson-wentz-drops-back-redskins-eagles.jpg
AP Images

NFL power rankings roundup: Eagles soar to the top

The Eagles used the energy of a packed Lincoln Financial Field and a four-touchdown performance from Carson Wentz to defeat the Washington Redskins, 34-24, on Monday Night Football.

Wentz finished with 268 passing yards to go with his four scores — yet another tremendous effort from the sophomore quarterback.

A victory over the Redskins put the Birds at 6-1. They now hold the best record in the NFL after the Chiefs lost to the Raiders on Thursday night and a 2.5-game lead in the NFC East over the Cowboys, who sit at 3-3.

Now the Eagles shift their attention to the San Francisco 49ers, who are coming off of an embarrassing 40-10 loss to the Cowboys.

Before the Birds host the winless 49ers on Sunday afternoon, here's a roundup of where the Eagles landed in this week's national power rankings:

ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio: Up one spot to No. 1
Florio wrote, “Before they can be a Team of Density, they need to be sure that it’s not Carson Wentz‘s destiny to get injured while being reckless with his body.”

Last week, Florio expressed similar sentiments with Wentz and honestly, it is true. Yes, backup quarterback Nick Foles has had past success with the Eagles including a seven-touchdown game against the Raiders in 2013. But the fact of the matter is he isn’t Carson Wentz and there aren’t many like him in the entire NFL. As Wentz proved with his Houdini escape from what seemed to be a sure sack on Monday.

NFL.com's Elliot Harrison: Up one spot to No. 1
Harrison wrote, “There's a new No. 1, and it's not a familiar one. When was the last time the Eagles were the best team in pro football? Maybe in the first two months of the 2004 campaign.”

It is definitely an unfamiliar position for the Eagles because they are clearly the best team for the first time in a long time. The team owns the best record in the NFL, it has a commanding NFC East lead and hosts a winless 49ers team Sunday and then a reeling Broncos team. There is definitely a good chance for the Birds to enter their Week 10 bye at 8-1.

USA TODAY: Up one spot to No. 1
USA TODAY wrote, “Is Carson Wentz ready to follow Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson as second-year starters to lead the franchise on Super Bowl magic carpet ride?”

The last time the Eagles reached the Super Bowl was in the 2004 season, a 24-21 defeat to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. That team included the likes of Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Terrell Owens, Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan, Jeremiah Trotter and Brian Dawkins. The team finished 13-3 and made the big game for the first time since the 1980 season. This team sure has the potential to get back to Super Sunday.

Yahoo! Sports' Frank Schwab: Up one spot to No. 1
Schwab wrote, “There should be as much excitement as possible about Carson Wentz, but the loss of left tackle Jason Peters is really tough. He’s going to be very hard to replace. Still, as the lone one-loss team remaining in the NFL, they deserve the top spot.”

Losing a future Hall of Famer in Peters for the season is a huge blow to the offensive line, but Wentz’s mobility helps in some senses. If he starts taking more hits and more sacks, there will definitely be a cause for concern.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco: Up one spot to No. 1
Prisco wrote, “Carson Wentz has three straight games with at least three touchdown passes. The loss of left tackle Jason Peters with a leg injury will hurt in a big way.”

Wentz leads the NFL in touchdown passes with 17. His ability to deliver the ball down the field was evident on against the 'Skins with his 64-yard touchdown to Mack Hollins. No one on this team maybe other than Malcolm Jenkins is more valuable to the Birds than Wentz.

The Washington Post's Mark Maske: Down one spot to No. 2
Maske wrote, “QB Carson Wentz was terrific Monday night against the Redskins and is becoming very prominent in the race for the NFL’s MVP award. It wasn’t only his passing, it was his ability to escape the Washington pass rush and make something out of nothing.”

Last week, Maske had the guts to put the Birds at the top. This week, he moves them down a spot to No. 2 and I don’t understand it at all. The Eagles have the best record in the NFL and have won five consecutive games. He bumped them for a 5-2 Patriots team that beat up on a struggling Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Maybe Maske got cold feet but there isn’t any reason the Birds shouldn’t be No. 1.

ESPN: Stayed at No. 2
ESPN wrote, “Carson Wentz leads the NFL in passing touchdowns (17) and already has surpassed his TD total from last season (16). He also has led the Eagles to their best start since 2004 and has given them the best chance of winning the NFC East.”

Another interesting choice here. Just like Maske, ESPN places the Patriots ahead of the Eagles in its power rankings although the Birds have a better record. I think it is simple. The Patriots have proven they can get it done in the big moments and the Eagles haven’t.