Eagles

Week 11 NFC power rankings: Eagles plummet after loss to Cowboys

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Week 11 NFC power rankings: Eagles plummet after loss to Cowboys

The Eagles came off the bye feeling good as they got ready to face the rival Cowboys at home on Sunday Night Football. Then they blew it. 

That’s reflected in the latest NFC power rankings: 

1. Saints (8-1) Last week: 1
Drew Brees is ageless and the Saints just continue to roll. They’ve won eight straight and put up a season-high 51 points in Cincinnati on Sunday. Brees has to be salivating looking at the Eagles’ depleted secondary. 

2. Rams (9-1) Last week: 2
Los Angeles actually got close to losing to Seattle, but pulled this one out with 16 points in the fourth quarter and have the NFC’s best record. 

3. Panthers (6-3) Last week: 3
Sure, Carolina got spanked by the Steelers on Thursday Night Football. And that’s troubling. But the Steelers are a hot team right now and I’m still not convinced any of the next few teams are better than the Panthers. 

4. Vikings (5-3-1) Last week: 4
Minnesota comes off their bye week with a huge matchup in Chicago against the Bears. The NFC North is still very much up for grabs. 

5. Bears (6-3) Last week: 5
Nice win for Chicago, 34-22, over the Lions on Sunday. Mitchell Trubisky threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns. He had the second-best passer rating in a game in his young career. Big home matchup against the Vikings coming. 

6. Redskins (6-3) Last week: 7
You can go ahead and give an assist to the Bucs here. Somehow, Tampa Bay put up 501 yards of offense and scored just three points. Still, Washington deserves credit for beating an inferior and inept team. They’re up two games in the NFC East. 

7. Packers (4-4-1) Last week: 8
The Packers beat the Dolphins 31-12, but are still looking up at two teams in their division. Two tough games up next for Green Bay the next two weeks: at Seattle and at Minnesota. 

8. Seahawks (4-5) Last week: 10
I know they lost to the Rams, but the Seahawks came damn close to taking down one of the best teams in the league. Now, they don’t have a chance to take the division because the Rams have such a big lead, but they still play the Niners twice and the Cardinals once. They have a chance to fight for a wild-card spot, but it won’t be easy. 

9. Cowboys (4-5) Last week: 13
They looked like they were about to go into a complete free-fall, but then they go on the road and take care of business against the Eagles. It wasn’t a masterful performance, but they got it done and saved their head coach’s job. 

10. Eagles (4-5) Last week: 6
Losing to the Cowboys at home on Sunday Night Football after a bye when the Cowboys had a short week is completely and utterly inexcusable. It was the worst loss in a season that has had the worst loss of the season a few times. The Eagles are floundering and now have to go on the road to face the NFL’s best team. 

11. Falcons (4-5) Last week: 9
They lost by 12 points to the Browns. I know these Browns aren’t as bad as they once were, but this was Cleveland’s biggest win since 2015. The Falcons were supposed to be a contender. They’re not even close. 

12. Lions (3-6) Last week: 11
After wins over the Packers and Dolphins with their bye week sandwiched in between, the Lions clawed their way back to .500 earlier this season. Since then, they’ve lost three in a row by an average of 13.6 points per game. They’re collapsing with a tough few games coming up. 

13. Buccaneers (3-6) Last week: 12
They scored just three points against Washington despite putting up over 500 yards of offense. That’s crazy. And it’s the first time in NFL history it’s happened. 

14. Cardinals (2-7) Last week: 14
Arizona lost to the Chiefs but at least they gave up only 26 points. I guess they get a gold star. 

15. Giants (2-7) Last week: 16 
The Giants were victorious in the Battle of the Bad, going on the road and beating the 49ers, 27-23. Don’t call it a comeback! 

16. 49ers (2-8) Last week: 15
Really, the Niners were winners. They moved a big step closer to getting that No. 1 draft pick. 

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Eagle Eye Podcast: Any interest in Le'Veon Bell or Antonio Brown?

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Eagle Eye Podcast: Any interest in Le'Veon Bell or Antonio Brown?

On this edition of Eagle Eye, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro discuss who the best quarterbacks were in the NFC East last season. 

Do either see the Eagles making a push for Le'Veon Bell or Antonio Brown?

Who have been the funniest, most underrated and most overrated players the guys have covered throughout their careers? 

1:00 - Rankings the NFC East quarterbacks.
10:30 - Will the Eagles be interested in Bell or Brown?
23:30 - Roob and Dave ask and answer random questions to and from one another.
24:00 - Favorite/least favorite road city.
27:00 - Which player do you want to host a podcast with?
29:00 - Funniest player you've ever been around?
33:00 - If you're in a bar fight, which former player do you want with you?
35:30 - Favorite current Eagle to interview?
39:00 - Most overrated/underrated player you covered?
43:00 - Guys answer questions from listeners.

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Was Carson Wentz the best QB in NFC East last year?

Was Carson Wentz the best QB in NFC East last year?

Carson Wentz returned from a serious ACL/LCL tear in Week 3 in 2018 and then his season ended early with a stress fracture in his back. But in the middle of all that, he actually put together some good numbers. 

This recent tweet from ProFootballFocus grabbed my attention. 

Yeah, they actually ranked Wentz as the best quarterback in the NFC East despite coming back from the knee injury and playing through a back fracture. My colleague Reuben Frank already dispelled 10 myths about Wentz (see story) and a lot of them were about the Eagles with Wentz vs. the Eagles with Nick Foles. I don’t want this to digress into the Foles vs. Wentz debate. 

I just want to take a closer look at how Wentz stacked up against the rest of the quarterbacks in the NFC East. Was he really the division’s best quarterback even with these injuries? 

Here’s a look at their overall numbers from the regular season: 

Carson Wentz: 11 games, 5-6, 69.6%, 3,074 yards, 21 TDs, 7 INT, 102.2 passer rating
Nick Foles: 5 games, 4-1, 72.3%, 1,413 yards, 7 TDs, 4 INT, 96.0 passer rating
Dak Prescott: 16 games, 10-6, 67.7%, 3,885, 22 TDs, 8 INT, 96.9 passer rating 
Alex Smith: 10 games, 6-4, 62.5%, 2,180, 10 TDs, 5 INT, 85.7 passer rating 
Eli Manning: 16 games, 5-11, 66%, 4,299, 21 TDs, 11 INT, 92.4 passer rating 

The thing that stands out there are the records. The Eagles were 5-6 with Wentz at quarterback, but I’ve always been hesitant to use wins as a QB stat. Sure, the QB plays a major role in them, but it’s a team stat that gets transferred to individuals.

Anyway, let’s take a closer look at a few of these stats with help from ProFootballReference: 

Passer rating

Wentz: 102.2 
Prescott: 96.9 
Foles: 96.0 
Manning: 92.4 
Smith: 85.7 

I know passer rating is an imperfect measure, but it’s still generally a really good indicator of quarterback play. It takes into account completion percentage, passing yards, touchdowns and interceptions. 

Wentz actually improved his passer rating from 101.9 in 2017 to 102.2 in 2018. Those two passer rating numbers are the third- and fourth-best passer ratings in Eagles history (minimum 300 attempts) behind Foles in 2013 (119.2) and Donovan McNabb in 2004 (104.7). Wentz is now the only Eagles QB to have two seasons of passer ratings over 100.

Completion percentage

Foles: 72.3 percent
Wentz: 69.6 percent
Prescott: 67.7 percent
Manning: 66 percent
Smith: 62.5 percent 

Foles and Wentz saw huge jumps in their completion percentage. The highest completion percentage Foles ever had in a season before 2018 was when he completed 65.5 percent of his passes as a backup in KC. Even in his 2013 year, he completed just 64 percent of his passes. 

As for Wentz, he had a goal to improve his completion percentage and, boy, did he do that. He had a near-MVP season in 2017 but completed just 60.2 percent of his passes. He improved that to 69.6 percent in 2018. 

Yards per game 

Foles: 282.6 
Wentz: 279.5

Manning: 268.7
Prescott: 242.8
Smith: 218

The Eagles’ two quarterbacks were pretty close in yards per game. The crazy thing is that the Eagles have never had a 4,000-yard passer in franchise history and both of these guys would have been on pace if they played 16 games. Wentz improved his yards per game from 253.5 to 279.5 from 2017 to 2018. He has improved in this category in each of his three NFL seasons. 

For as long as Manning has been in the NFL, he’s had just one season averaging more than 279.5 yards per game. Prescott set his own personal high this season. And Smith’s career high is 269.5 from his time in Kansas City. 

TDs per game 

Wentz: 1.9 
Foles: 1.4 

Prescott: 1.38
Manning: 1.31
Smith: 1.0 

This one is obviously huge. Since the start of the 2017 season, Wentz has thrown a ton of touchdowns. And in his first three seasons, Wentz has thrown 70 touchdowns; ninth-most ever in the first three years of a career. 

INTs per game

Prescott: 0.50
Smith: 0.50
Wentz: 0.64 
Manning: 0.69
Foles: 0.80

This is obviously in reverse order. Foles threw the most interceptions per game, while Wentz was in the middle. After throwing 14 interceptions as a rookie (in 16 games), Wentz has thrown 14 in 2017 and 2018 combined (24 games). Among the nine QBs who have thrown at least 70 touchdowns in their first three seasons, Wentz’s interception percentage (1.93) is the second-best.

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So what does all this mean? Well, it means what we’ve been saying for a while now: Despite the injuries, Wentz was still pretty good in 2018. He’s not absolved for the team’s struggles early in the season, but it would be foolish to pin those struggles and that record entirely on him. Had the Eagles won a few of those close games — Tennessee, Carolina, both Dallas games — perhaps we’d look back on Wentz’s 2018 season much differently. 

Was he the best QB in the NFC East in 2018? I don’t know. But, if he stays healthy, I think he’s going to be the best QB in the NFC East for a long time to come.

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