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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.

Zach Ertz reveals secret origins of the dog mask

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USA Today Images

Zach Ertz reveals secret origins of the dog mask

Dog mask mania has swept through Philadelphia ever since Lane Johnson and Chris Long donned the creepy masks following the Eagles' divisional round win over the Falcons. We know why the duo wore them but where in the world did they get the idea?

Well, thanks to Zach Ertz — and his article on The Players' Tribune — we now have the answer.

The Friday before the game, Long, Johnson, Ertz, Jason Kelce and Brent Celek were having dinner when Johnson just couldn't contain his excitement for the idea.

“You know how everyone keeps saying we’re underdogs?" Johnson said. "Even though we’re the No. 1 seed? Well … we were on Amazon last night, and we ordered these dog masks.

“Yeah, and when we win, because we’re gonna freaking win, we’re going to do everything in the masks. Media. Postgame. Everything. Dogs.”

And the rest is history. The dog masks have become a must-own for Eagles fans — if you managed to buy one before they sell out that is. The Linc will surely be filled with tens of thousands of rabid German shepherds. But will Long and Johnson get to gloat in the masks postgame again? 

For the full origin story of the masks and a ridiculous Carson Wentz story, read Ertz's full article here.

Is there an NFL conspiracy against the Eagles?

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NFL/Facebook

Is there an NFL conspiracy against the Eagles?

Updated: 6:17 p.m.

Somebody jumped the gun this week in a promotion for Super Bowl LII. Or did they?

This year's Super Bowl will feature either the Patriots or Jaguars taking on either the Eagles or Vikings. Unless there is some conspiracy afoot!

You see, there is an image going around that the NFL posted a promo of Super Bowl LII featuring only the Patriots and Vikings along with some head-scratching text. Just another attempt to disrespect the Birds!

It included the following text:

Your team is headed to Super Bowl LII...and you could too! When you donate to United Way, you could score 2 club-level seats to watch the PATRIOTS vs. the VIKINGS battle it out for the coveted Super Bowl title! But...that's not all! You could also WIN pre-game sideline access + other cool perks! Don't pass up this touchdown experience - donate TODAY for your chance to WIN big

Offsides!

The NFL, rightfully so, apologized for the mistake.

"It was a regrettable mistake," an NFL spokesman told NJ Advance Media. "The ads were mocked up using all the [possible] combinations, but weren't supposed to go until Monday when the matchup is known. Obviously, someone jumped the gun." 

So are the conference championship games fixed?!? Unlikely. 

Via CBS/NJ.com