Eagles

Eagles-Broncos: Roob's 10 Observations

Eagles-Broncos: Roob's 10 Observations

BOX SCORE

How good is this team?

Super Bowl good. Believe it.

The Eagles are just rolling now after a 51-23 demolition of the Broncos, and they go into the bye week at 8-1 with a seven-game winning streak (see breakdown).

They're destroying teams. They've outscored their seven victims during this winning streak by an average of 33-19.

Just a shame we have to wait two weeks to see them play again.

Here we go with this Week's 10 Observations.

1. This is what a Super Bowl team looks like (see report card). Seriously, I don't want to get ahead of myself, but the Eagles are just steamrolling through the NFL right now, and the level they're playing at is what you expect from a legit Super Bowl contender. Now, the opponents will get more difficult after the bye. That stretch against the Cowboys, Bears, Seahawks and Rams — all but the Bears on the road — will tell us a lot. But right now, the Eagles are just better than anybody else in the league. And they're making it look so easy. And they're doing it in all phases. This is a Broncos team that came to town with the No. 1 defense in the NFL and the Eagles just shredded it, scoring 31 points in a 20-minute stretch of the first half on their way to half a hundred and one. They're winning so routinely and so convincingly it's really astounding. And they're doing it despite a pretty significant rash of injuries to key guys. If they keep playing like this, I don't know how you beat them.

2. Carson Wentz. He's now beyond having one of the best seasons ever by an Eagles quarterback or a young quarterback. He's having an all-time season. He's at the point where when the Eagles go three-and-out or have an ugly series, you're just surprised. Wentz threw four more touchdowns Sunday without a turnover. He's now got 23 touchdowns and five interceptions through nine games, and that puts him on pace for 40 TDs and nine interceptions. The only QBs in NFL history to do that in a season are Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. That's the level Wentz is playing at. That's where he's at in his career. That's who Wentz is. He's 24. He's started 25 games in his life. He was backing up Chase Daniel 15 months ago. And he's literally having one of the greatest seasons in NFL history. Howie Roseman could have drafted 100 Danny Watkins and it wouldn't matter. Finding a way to get this kid into an Eagles uniform makes up for everything.

3. I absolutely love the way Doug Pederson has been calling games, and this one was a masterpiece of offensive balance. The Broncos had been unreal against the run, allowing just 3.0 yards per carry and 72 yards per game through seven games. And they hadn't allowed a rushing TD all year. But instead of just deciding to chuck it every snap, Pederson challenged his offensive line to dominate one of the NFL's best defensive fronts, and the OL did just that. It hammered the Broncos up front, and did it without Jason Peters and even without Lane Johnson for a spell. The Eagles ran 37 times for 197 yards and three TDs against a run defense allowing 73 yards per game and no TDs. Incredible.

4. And how about Jay Ajayi? The dude was a Dolphin on Monday, got traded Tuesday, arrived here Wednesday, practiced three times and went out and ran eight times for 77 yards against a team that had only allowed two guys to rush for more than 46 yards this year. What were the Dolphins thinking? Who knows? Who cares? They're idiots. All I know is the Eagles got another weapon on a team already loaded with them, and all it cost them was a fourth-round pick. #Howie.

5. OK, this defense. What a performance. What a season. Their level of consistency is remarkable. They're smart, fast, physical, athletic and tackle better than any Eagles team since Jim Johnson was here. So much fun to watch this group just make opposing offenses miserable. And it all starts with their insane ability against the run. The Broncos came in with the ninth-ranked running attack in the league at 123 yards per game and seventh at 4.4 yards per carry, and the Eagles just stuffed them early, then forced them to pass all the time by building that big second-quarter lead. The Broncos finished with 19 rushes for 35 yards, and that's seven straight teams that have failed to rush for 100 yards against the Eagles.

6. Being able to run the ball and stop the run is one heck of a formula to win a lot of football games, and the Eagles have now gone seven straight games rushing for over 100 yards and holding the opponent to fewer than 100 yards. That is tied for the fifth-longest such streak in NFL history.  

7. I continue to be dazzled by Corey Clement and just amazed that 253 players were taken in this year's draft and he wasn't one of them. Here's a kid who was productive at a major college, works his butt off, can run the ball (eight carries for 43 yards Sunday), catch the ball (15-yard TD), block and is also a quality locker room guy. Clement had three TDs Sunday and now has five in his first nine games (see Rookie Report). As an undrafted rookie! He just seems to help the offense every time he touches the ball. I'm not sure what NFL teams are looking for in a running back if it's not a kid like Clement.

8. Was great to see big contributions from both Brent Celek and Trey Burton in the absence of Zach Ertz, who was unable to play after experiencing hamstring tightness at practice Thursday. Celek and Burton combined for five catches for 80 yards and a touchdown, and you can't ask for anything more from your second and third tight ends. Great depth at that position.

9. It's so impressive how prepared this team always is. Never looks past an opponent. Always ready to play. That's just so rare. And so hard to do. Even great teams have a letdown here and there, that one game where they're just looking ahead or not quite on their game. Such a credit to Pederson and his staff. Since those three ugly games last year — losses to the Seahawks, Packers and Bengals by a combined 43 points — the Eagles have played 13 games, gone 10-3 and their worst result was a seven-point loss at Kansas City to a Chiefs team that was unbeaten at the time. Just remarkable focus and maturity.

10. Two solid games in a row from Alshon Jeffery, who finally seems to be developing some chemistry with Wentz. Jeffery had two grabs for 62 yards with a 53-yard TD last week against the 49ers and followed up with six catches for 84 yards with two TDs Sunday against the Broncos. Not Pro Bowl numbers, but he's catching the ball when it comes his way, getting in the end zone and helping this offense shine. Good enough for me.

LeSean McCoy; Derek Barnett vs. Mike Mamula in Roob's Random Points

LeSean McCoy; Derek Barnett vs. Mike Mamula in Roob's Random Points

Going deep into the Eagles' slow starts, my all-time top-5 Eagles defensive ends, the latest on Shady and lots more in this weekend's edition of Roob's 10 Random Eagles Points! 

1. The Cowboys are more banged up than the Eagles, the Cowboys have lost three in a row, the Cowboys just lost to the Jets, and it's time for the Eagles to start fast, finish strong, play smart and not just lay claim to first place in the NFC East but reassert themselves as one of the better teams in the NFC. A win over the Cowboys wouldn't lock anything up with nine games to go, but the Eagles have lost three straight to the Cowboys, they're 8-13 in the last 21 meetings (although they didn't play the starters in the 2017 season-ender), they haven't swept their biggest rival since 2011. They've never beaten a Cowboys team with Ezekiel Elliott. It's time to show up. It's time to stop making excuses. It's time to stop complaining about the officials and injuries and go into JerryWorld and win a football game.

2. I don't know if there's a non-QB in the NFL who's more important to his team's success than Ezekiel Elliott. When he rushes for at least 70 yards, the Cowboys are 31-8. When he rushes for less than 70 yards, they're 1-9. The Eagles? They have the No. 2 run defense in the NFL, and nobody has rushed for 70 yards against them this year. This is the first time they've gone six straight games without allowing a back to gain 70 yards since the last two games of 2002 and the first five of 2003. The Eagles will need every bit of that run defense Sunday, but if they can limit Elliott — who's averaged 116 yards and 5.4 yards per carry in four games against the Eagles — they have a terrific chance to bring a win back from North Texas.

3. Nelson Agholor is 12th among wide receivers in 2019 salary ($9.4 million) and 56th in yards (230).

4. I'm convinced one of the reasons for the Eagles' first-quarter struggles is that Pederson isn't being aggressive enough early in games. Take a look:

• The Eagles are running the ball on 57 percent of their first-quarter plays, 34 percent in the second quarter, 43 percent in the third and 41 percent in the fourth. And they have 17 offensive points in the first quarter, 51 in the second, 46 in the third and 33 in the fourth. 

• On first down in the first quarter, they've run on 18 of 31 plays. The only regular QB in the league who's thrown less often in the first quarter is Jameis Winston. 

• The Eagles run the ball the second-most of any team in the NFL in the first quarter, and they're one of the lowest-scoring first-quarter teams in the league. No way this is a coincidence.

5. My all-time Eagles top-5 defensive ends: 1. Reggie, 2. Clyde, 3. Trent Cole, 4. Hugh Douglas, 5. Brandon Graham.

6. After Mack Hollins had a productive 9-for-112 against the Falcons and Lions, I thought, "OK, I was wrong about Mack. He's not bad!" Since then, he's played 108 snaps over three games and has one 13-yard catch. In his career, Hollins has gotten 10 or more offensive snaps 16 times. He's had fewer than 15 yards in 11 of those 16 games. And still, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside can't get on the field? 

7. Derek Barnett hasn't been awful, but the Eagles need more than he's giving them. Barnett has two sacks this year — one in the Jets embarrassment — and has made headlines more for his penalties and fines than his play on the field. This is Year 3 for the first-round pick, and he was hurt much of last season, but for the sake of comparison, Mike Mamula had 11½ sacks in his first 27 games. Barnett has 9½. The Eagles are relying heavily on Barnett to create pressure, and it's not happening enough.

8. I need to see Josh Sweat and Daeshon Hall get at least 20 snaps each. 

9. Brian Westbrook had five 30-yard catches in his first 50 career games. Miles Sanders has five in his first six games.

10. LeSean McCoy apparently has plenty left in the tank. All he had to do was get out of Buffalo. The Eagles' all-time leading rusher is 2nd in the NFL at 5.4 yards per carry (behind only Ravens QB Lamar Jackson) playing for Andy Reid in Kansas City. His 4.5 career average is 7th-highest in NFL history among backs with 10,000 yards. And he now has an incredible 48 career games with 10 or more carries and 5.0 yards per rush. Only Barry Sanders (64), Frank Gore (57), Walter Payton (56), Jim Brown (55) and Adrian Peterson (50) have had more.

NFL Week 7 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

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USA Today Images/Joe Nicholson

NFL Week 7 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

Here are Derrick Gunn's five matchups to watch for Week 7 of the NFL season.

Vikings at Lions (Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX)

The Vikings' offense bread and butter is supposed to be their ground game, but against the Eagles it was bombs away. Meanwhile, the Lions' defense plays hit or miss. At some points of the game, it's really good, but at others it's really bad, which is the primary reason why the Lions have given up 414 yards per game. Detroit is also playing with a huge chip on its shoulders after getting jobbed by the refs in Green Bay. The Vikings have too much firepower for Detroit to counter — Minnesota will silence the Lions' roar.

Texans at Colts (Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS) 

In their last two games (wins over the Falcons and Chiefs), the Texans have been a scoring machine, racking up a total of 84 points. Houston's offense can explode at any given moment, with 397 yards per game. Their run defense (88 yards allowed) will be a huge test for the Colts' rushing attack (fourth in yards per game with 142). The Colts are coming off a bye will have the heart of their defense back in linebacker Darius Leonard, who missed the last three weeks because he was in concussion protocol returns. For me, the difference is the QB play — Deshaun Watson vs. Jacoby Brissett. The Texans will prove to be to road tough in Indy.

Raiders at Packers (Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS) 

Jon Gruden's well-rested squad hits the road to confront Aaron Rodgers and the mystique of Lambeau Field. Oakland riding a two-game winning streak and is only a half-game out of first place in the AFC West. After a referee-aided win over Detroit, Green Bay is in control of the NFC North. Rodgers is still waiting for his favorite target Davante Adams to return and is slinging it to a bunch of receivers you’ve never heard of, but so far it’s been working. Grudens' attempt to raid Lambeau for a win will fall short.

Saints at Bears (Sunday, 4:25 p.m., FOX) 

What a story the Saints have been in Drew Brees' absence. They win low-scoring affairs and they win shootouts, and Teddy Bridgewater has been a big reason why. In the five games he’s played, he’s completed 69.4 percent of his passes, with seven touchdowns and two interceptions. The Saints' defense is fast and relentless. Speaking of defenses Chicago has one of the best in the business, but they will now be without DT Akiem Hicks, who has been placed on IR with an elbow injury. QB Mitchell Trubisky is finally back at practice this week after healing up from a shoulder injury, but it's not certain if he’s playing on Sunday. Trubisky gives the Bears a better chance against New Orleans, but I’m marching with the Saints' hot streak.

Ravens at Seahawks (Sunday, 4:25 p.m., FOX) 

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson has been a fantasy football dream: 1,507 yards  passing, 11 touchdown passes, 460 yards rushing and two rushing TDs. This past Sunday vs the Benglas, Jackson became the first QB in the Super Bowl era to pass for at least 200 yards and run for 150 in a single game. Then there’s this guy named Russell Wilson who’s playing at an MVP level, with 14 TD passes and no picks. The run game will be vital for both teams in this one. The Ravens are first in the league in rushing at 205.0 per game, and Seattle averages 131. This is the first meeting between these two on the West Coast since 2011. This could be the game of the day, and the day should belong to the Seahawks.



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