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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.

Joel Embiid swatted Donovan Mitchell, drew a tech, and ignited a Philly explosion

Joel Embiid swatted Donovan Mitchell, drew a tech, and ignited a Philly explosion

We didn't even know if Joel Embiid was going to play just hours before tonight's contest as he was listed as a game-time decision with knee soreness.

Play he did. And he treated the Wells Fargo Center crowd to one of the more energetic moments of the evening. 

The Sixers beat the Jazz in South Philly on Monday night, 107-86, to bounce back from that tough loss on Saturday (see observations).

Embiid was a big part of that. He finished with 15 points, 11 boards, three assists and a couple of blocks.

It was one block on Donovan Mitchell in particular that had The Center going bonkers.

Watch:

The block, the stare down, the technical foul signal, the crowd pumping ... Embiid provided a perfect moment.

"It was some good theater and the two embraced afterwards. It was fun to watch," Marc Zumoff said after the game.

Mitchell wrote it off as a rookie mistake.

"Just gotta keep my head," Mitchell said. "It's a learning experience, especially in that situation when we're making a comeback."

Whether they were making a comeback or not is debatable. 

"I shouldn't have done it. I should have just let it go."

Brett Brown was OK with the play.

"I'm always mindful of how do we stay disciplined," Brown said. "Jo understands it's risky if you taunt. I want my guys playing with an edge. I want them to feel some level of swagger and feel good about themselves. That was a big play. It certainly got the crowd involved."

As for his part in the incident, Embiid admitted he may have embellished just a bit. The big guy is not that easy to move.

"I flopped and he got a technical for it," Embiid said. "That's basically how it happened. It's all fun. After the game, we shook hands."

Processing Sixers' tasty new concession food … the meat pie

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Christina Betz | NBC Sports Philadelphia

Processing Sixers' tasty new concession food … the meat pie

The Sixers on Wednesday sent over a box of Four’N Twenty Australian beef pies to promote The Center's newest concession food. The meat pies are in homage to future Hall of Famer, Ben Simmons, who hails from the Land Down Under and was the driving force for helping the team sign its first international sponsor.

These magnificent meat pies will be available at home games beginning Wednesday. 

Naturally, I was intrigued to try the foreign (and free) food. A little research on the brand gave me the advice to "tuck in to a classic," which I gladly agreed to.

The packaging recommended an oven, but without access to one at work, and hunger too great to wait for the toaster oven, I went straight for the four and a half minutes in the microwave.

Three and half minutes later (our microwave is one of the industrial super-strong ones), I had this waiting for me:

Armed with just a plastic fork and knife, I decided to dive in and give "THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN TASTE" a try.

First impression?

The pastry was way crispier than I thought was achievable from a microwave. Like this was some "bake in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes" crispiness. I was having some serious issues cutting through with my plastic knife.

Once I managed to split it open, I was rewarded with a steaming pastry filled with a dark brown meat stuffing.

After that initial cut, things took a little turn for the worse.

I was forced to use my hands to break and eat the rest of it following several unsuccessful attempts to cut bite-sized pieces with the tools I had.

The pie was … really tasty. The meat filling was just a delicious ground beef mixture, with no weird spices or flavors, and the pastry was perfectly flaky and crispy. I could definitely see myself wanting this again when I’m craving a comfort food or want to eat a classier hamburger.

My main issue with the meat pie lies within the actual feasibility of eating it during a game. I had some serious struggles while I was sitting at a desk, with a plate and at least semi-useful utensils. I can’t really imagine eating a pie in a stadium seat between two rabid Processors.

My top-5 Australian exports
1. Ben Simmons
2. Hugh Jackman
3. Nicole Kidman
4. Walkabouts
5. Boxed Wine
.
.
.
10. Brett Brown's accent
11. Meat pies

Final thought: This meat pie is a really solid, albeit, strange new food for a sporting event. I can only really see its success playing out in two ways: A lot of greasy, meaty high fives or a messier version of the Flyers' bracelet debacle if the Sixers drop another game in which they led by 24 points.