Week 4 NFC power rankings: Eagles not in top spot

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Week 4 NFC power rankings: Eagles not in top spot

The Eagles are still the team to beat in the NFC as they try to defend their Super Bowl title, but there’s clearly a target on their back. 

We’ll have NFC power rankings each Thursday for the rest of the NFL season. 

Here they are after Week 3:

1. Rams (3-0)
Jared Goff and the Rams are rolling through the season so far with wins over the Raiders, Cardinals and Chargers. Maybe not top competition, but it’s hard to argue with results. The Rams have a point-differential of plus-66, that’s 20 points better than the next closest NFL team. They’ve scored more points and given up the fewest among all the teams in the NFC. 

2. Eagles (2-1)
Carson Wentz is back and it looks like Alshon Jeffery is close to returning too. The Birds survived without Wentz and that offense is going to start clicking in time for the tough part of their schedule. The loss wasn’t great, but the Bucs were white hot that day. 

3. Saints (2-1)
That loss to the Bucs doesn’t look nearly as bad after Tampa beat the Eagles the following week. No, the Saints’ defense isn’t very good, but that offense can put up points on any team. Drew Brees still has it. 

4. Panthers (2-1)
You’re going to see a theme at the top of these rankings. The NFC South is really good. All four teams have a chance to win the division. Cam Newton is off to a really good start. If they get MVP Cam this year, they’re a threat. 

5. Buccaneers (2-1)
The Bucs are hard to figure out because of their quarterback situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick was Tom Brady in Weeks 1 and 2 and was Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 3. But no matter who’s at QB, it’s hard to ignore the Bucs’ wins have come over the Eagles and Saints. And their only loss was a three-pointer to the Steelers. We’ll find out over the next few weeks if they’re for real. 

6. Packers (1-1-1)
This is hard this season because there have been some weird games. The Packers’ only win was a one-pointer over the Bears in the opener. But they have Aaron Rodgers and he’s Aaron Rodgers. 

7. Vikings (1-1-1)
Minnesota might be good, but it tied the Packers and then got spanked by the Buffalo Bills at home. Yuck. And now they’re about to play the Rams and the Eagles on the road the next two weeks. They could be 1-3-1 after that. 

8. Falcons (1-2)
Atlanta better get cooking because the NFC South isn’t going to wait for the Falcons. Tough first three games, though. Their two losses are to the Eagles and the Saints, both by one score. And they did beat Carolina. They have the Bengals, Steelers, Bucs and Giants before their bye week. They have a a chance to climb. 

9. Bears (2-1)
After three weeks, the Bears are in first in the NFC North, just as we all expected. This will probably viewed as a slight on the Bears and, well, it is ... but i'm not buying them. Beating the Seahawks and Cardinals is fine, but I need to see more from Mitch Trubisky before they make it higher on this list.

10. Redskins (2-1)
A win over the terrible Cardinals and a win over the Packers sandwich a loss to the Colts. After seeing the Colts last week, maybe that loss isn’t so bad, but the final score was 21-9. I am confident that Washington is the second-best team in the NFC East.

11. Lions (1-2)
I see you, Detroit. Nice win over the Patriots and that offense is starting to roll. 

12. Seahawks (1-2)
The Legion of Boom is now the Legion of Uh Oh. The Seahawks just aren’t very good. Earl Thomas is a great player, but this whole situation out there is strange. Their offense is Russell Wilson and as good as he is, that’s not enough. 

13. Cowboys (1-2)
Remember when we were all arguing Dak vs. Wentz? There’s a clear winner in that. Prescott has looked like a below-average QB without a great offense around him. That’s a problem this season and in the future. 

14. Giants (1-2)
I can’t believe a team that hired Pat Shurmur and decided a 50-year-old Eli Manning would work might not be any good.  

15. 49ers (1-2)
The Niners were struggling with Jimmy Garoppolo. Without him, they don’t have a shot. At least that run last season was fun. 

16. Cardinals (0-3)
Giving Sam Bradford a $20 million contract wasn’t a great idea, huh? 

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5-year-old Eagles impersonator gets Boston Scott's stamp of approval

USA Today Sports Images/@SirRobin83/Twitter

5-year-old Eagles impersonator gets Boston Scott's stamp of approval

With professional sports on pause around the world, fans are looking for anything - video games, simulations, classic games - to satisfy that live sports itch.

We may have found the ultimate placeholder: a five-year-old imitating Boston Scott's infamous spin-o-rama.

On Saturday afternoon, Twitter user Robin Stanley tagged Scott in a quick video of his son, Beckett, pretending to be the Eagles running back:

I mean, c'mon: the likeness to Scott's spin move against the Giants is kind of uncanny.

In case you need to jog your memory, here is Scott's spin:

Scott, of course, made fun of himself for the move at the time, admitting that when he saw the clip after the game, it "looked pretty silly".

I'd say Beckett's spin had a little more swag.

Stanley's dad, a Philly native, told NBC Sports Philadelphia his son was expecting to play his first season of flag football this spring down in Nashville, but the league was postponed because of social distancing mandates, so he's making do.

On Saturday, Scott saw Stanley's video and gave the little man a nod of approval:

That's just good, clean fun. Thank you, Beckett, for the sports-related smile.

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Rodney McLeod explains biggest lessons learned from Malcolm Jenkins

Rodney McLeod explains biggest lessons learned from Malcolm Jenkins

Four years ago, when Rodney McLeod became a free agent for the first time in his NFL career, one of the reasons he wanted to join the Eagles was for the chance to play next to Malcolm Jenkins. 

And for the last four years, he did. The two formed a safety tandem that played 49 regular season games and four playoff games, including Super Bowl LII, together. 

But now Jenkins is back in New Orleans with the Saints and the Eagles are preparing to play without him for the first time since 2013. Meanwhile, McLeod signed a two-year deal to return to Philly. 

On a conference call with reporters on Thursday, McLeod said he learned a lot from Jenkins over the past four seasons. 

What were some of those lessons? 

Just as a competitor,” McLeod said. “And then the ability to get the most out of guys, whether it’s on the defensive side or from an entire team standpoint. I think as a leader, that’s your kind of job. How can you get guys to play at the highest level and get the most out of your players. I think he was one of the best at doing that and understanding everyone … I learned a lot from him. 

“Not just on the field but off the field, the way he handled himself and what he did in the community for the city. I’ll always admire him. It’s hard to match. But like I said, his legacy will live on. The Saints are getting a good guy. Now, us as Eagles, playing with a new group of guys and we’re ready to move forward.

There’s no question that the Eagles are going to miss Jenkins’ contributions on the field. They will use some combination of Jalen Mills and Will Parks to replace him at that position and that won’t be easy. 

But the Eagles will also miss the leadership Jenkins brought to the locker room. He wasn’t just the leader of the secondary or even just the defense; Jenkins was oftentimes the key leader for the entire team. That’s hard to replace too. 

It’s not that McLeod, 29, hasn’t been a leader during his first four years in Philly. But now that role might need to expand and will become more important with the absence of Jenkins. 

“I think it’s important for me to be myself and be who I’ve always been,” McLeod said. “And that’s a guy that leads by his actions and leads by example. I think if you ask a lot of guys on the team, that’s what they’ll tell you most. Actions sometimes speak louder than words. I think there will be times for me to speak up when needed. When my teammates need me most, I’ll be ready to do that.”

For the most part, McLeod has been the quieter of the two safeties and Jim Schwartz has previously called him the calming presence in the defensive backfield.

But McLeod can speak up too. 

It’s really just about finding a balance between his two sides and putting the lessons from Jenkins into practice in 2020. 

“Myself, being a leader on this team for some time, will of course be asked to step up as well as other guys from a defensive standpoint and on the team,” McLeod said. “I think we’re prepared for that. And guys will be willing to step up to the plate and accept the challenge. Myself first and foremost.”

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