The700Level

NFL power rankings roundup: Eagles soar to the top

ap-carson-wentz-drops-back-redskins-eagles.jpg
AP Images

NFL power rankings roundup: Eagles soar to the top

The Eagles used the energy of a packed Lincoln Financial Field and a four-touchdown performance from Carson Wentz to defeat the Washington Redskins, 34-24, on Monday Night Football.

Wentz finished with 268 passing yards to go with his four scores — yet another tremendous effort from the sophomore quarterback.

A victory over the Redskins put the Birds at 6-1. They now hold the best record in the NFL after the Chiefs lost to the Raiders on Thursday night and a 2.5-game lead in the NFC East over the Cowboys, who sit at 3-3.

Now the Eagles shift their attention to the San Francisco 49ers, who are coming off of an embarrassing 40-10 loss to the Cowboys.

Before the Birds host the winless 49ers on Sunday afternoon, here's a roundup of where the Eagles landed in this week's national power rankings:

ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio: Up one spot to No. 1
Florio wrote, “Before they can be a Team of Density, they need to be sure that it’s not Carson Wentz‘s destiny to get injured while being reckless with his body.”

Last week, Florio expressed similar sentiments with Wentz and honestly, it is true. Yes, backup quarterback Nick Foles has had past success with the Eagles including a seven-touchdown game against the Raiders in 2013. But the fact of the matter is he isn’t Carson Wentz and there aren’t many like him in the entire NFL. As Wentz proved with his Houdini escape from what seemed to be a sure sack on Monday.

NFL.com's Elliot Harrison: Up one spot to No. 1
Harrison wrote, “There's a new No. 1, and it's not a familiar one. When was the last time the Eagles were the best team in pro football? Maybe in the first two months of the 2004 campaign.”

It is definitely an unfamiliar position for the Eagles because they are clearly the best team for the first time in a long time. The team owns the best record in the NFL, it has a commanding NFC East lead and hosts a winless 49ers team Sunday and then a reeling Broncos team. There is definitely a good chance for the Birds to enter their Week 10 bye at 8-1.

USA TODAY: Up one spot to No. 1
USA TODAY wrote, “Is Carson Wentz ready to follow Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson as second-year starters to lead the franchise on Super Bowl magic carpet ride?”

The last time the Eagles reached the Super Bowl was in the 2004 season, a 24-21 defeat to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. That team included the likes of Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Terrell Owens, Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan, Jeremiah Trotter and Brian Dawkins. The team finished 13-3 and made the big game for the first time since the 1980 season. This team sure has the potential to get back to Super Sunday.

Yahoo! Sports' Frank Schwab: Up one spot to No. 1
Schwab wrote, “There should be as much excitement as possible about Carson Wentz, but the loss of left tackle Jason Peters is really tough. He’s going to be very hard to replace. Still, as the lone one-loss team remaining in the NFL, they deserve the top spot.”

Losing a future Hall of Famer in Peters for the season is a huge blow to the offensive line, but Wentz’s mobility helps in some senses. If he starts taking more hits and more sacks, there will definitely be a cause for concern.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco: Up one spot to No. 1
Prisco wrote, “Carson Wentz has three straight games with at least three touchdown passes. The loss of left tackle Jason Peters with a leg injury will hurt in a big way.”

Wentz leads the NFL in touchdown passes with 17. His ability to deliver the ball down the field was evident on against the 'Skins with his 64-yard touchdown to Mack Hollins. No one on this team maybe other than Malcolm Jenkins is more valuable to the Birds than Wentz.

The Washington Post's Mark Maske: Down one spot to No. 2
Maske wrote, “QB Carson Wentz was terrific Monday night against the Redskins and is becoming very prominent in the race for the NFL’s MVP award. It wasn’t only his passing, it was his ability to escape the Washington pass rush and make something out of nothing.”

Last week, Maske had the guts to put the Birds at the top. This week, he moves them down a spot to No. 2 and I don’t understand it at all. The Eagles have the best record in the NFL and have won five consecutive games. He bumped them for a 5-2 Patriots team that beat up on a struggling Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Maybe Maske got cold feet but there isn’t any reason the Birds shouldn’t be No. 1.

ESPN: Stayed at No. 2
ESPN wrote, “Carson Wentz leads the NFL in passing touchdowns (17) and already has surpassed his TD total from last season (16). He also has led the Eagles to their best start since 2004 and has given them the best chance of winning the NFC East.”

Another interesting choice here. Just like Maske, ESPN places the Patriots ahead of the Eagles in its power rankings although the Birds have a better record. I think it is simple. The Patriots have proven they can get it done in the big moments and the Eagles haven’t.

Super Bowl champs showed up to ESPYS in style, including a 'Philly Special' homage

ap_jalen_mills_rodney_mcleod.jpg
AP Images

Super Bowl champs showed up to ESPYS in style, including a 'Philly Special' homage

The Super Bowl champs showed up to the ESPYS in style on Wednesday night out in Los Angeles.

Nick Foles may have taken home the hardware for best performance in a championship — with a heck of a speech to boot — but it was the Eagles' secondary who won best dressed.

Or maybe just most outrageously baller. Tough to tell these days.

I mean, just look at what Rodney McLeod wore. Purple. No shirt.

The Green Goblin wasn't far behind. Personally, I liked Jalen Mills going with a vest that still showed off his tat.

And then there was Malcolm Jenkins adding a bit of class to the group.

But the sartorial flair that won the evening may have to go to former Eagle and current member of the Chicago Bears Trey Burton, who kept the "Philly Special" close to his heart.

And shouts to Jake Elliott and his hat just because.

AP Images

Are 2018 Eagles better or worse at quarterback?

Are 2018 Eagles better or worse at quarterback?

The one area the Eagles made no major changes from last season is at quarterback. Carson Wentz returns from injury. Somewhat surprisingly, Nick Foles was retained and even signed a contract extension. Nate Sudfeld remains in the fold as well.

The cast may be the same, but with Foles returning to the bench as a Super Bowl MVP, will the Eagles be better or worse off in 2018?

Better

Depth

When Foles took the reins last December, he had barely played or practiced since 2015, his hellish season with the Rams – and, initially, it showed. But after what the 29-year-old signal caller accomplished in the playoffs, does anybody believe Foles is lacking for confidence now? Anybody still wonder whether he’s comfortable running the Eagles’ offense?

Foles is better prepared to take over for Wentz or start Week 1 than he was this time a year ago. So, too, is Sudfeld, who will benefit from his first camp with the team after signing last September, as well as his first NFL game experience in Week 17 against the Cowboys. QB2 and QB3 are both in a better place now, which is remarkable, but true.

Worse

Greater sense of uncertainty

Until the trade deadline comes and goes in October, there’s always the possibility Foles is traded this year. Obviously, there would be some drop-off between the Super Bowl MVP and Sudfeld, a third-year player who’s thrown 23 career passes, should that come to pass.

For now, that’s not the case, but is something to keep an eye for awhile yet.

The same

Nick Foles

Despite everything that’s happened – the winning, the newfound notoriety, going back to the bench, a so-called quarterback controversy, trade murmurs – the one thing you can count on is Foles’ demeanor. He may have questioned himself on the football field at one point in his career, but he’s in a place now where he knows what he’s capable of and his value to the Eagles.

Foles also hasn’t changed much as a player since his historic, breakout campaign in 2013. As long as the offensive line can keep him upright, and he has talented weapons to distribute the ball to, this is somebody that can win you a lot of games in the NFL. There’s no longer any disputing that.

The unknown

Carson Wentz’s knee

Wentz has looked so darn impressive in videos and on the practice field, it’s easy to fall into the trap that his surgically repaired knee is fine, everything is fine. Despite raising the question here, he’s probably better prepared to overcome a torn ACL than some past Eagles quarterbacks who struggled with the recovery in the past – namely Sam Bradford and Donovan McNabb.

Still, more passers than not have come back and looked less than 100 percent in their first season removed from the injury. And many of them had more time to recover than Wentz, who only went down in November.

We don’t even know for sure if Wentz will be cleared to play Week 1. It seems likely he will be, but it’s far from definite. Until he’s playing in actual NFL games, and back to looking like the 2017, MVP-caliber version of himself, all of these concerns give folks some pause before assuming the Eagles would immediately be better off with Wentz under center.

Better or worse?

Fortunately, the determination doesn’t rest solely on Wentz here. A comfortable and confident Foles and the developing Sudfeld should give the Eagles a marginal lift at quarterback. And even after sharing a pile of concerns about Wentz, eventually, possibly sometime in 2018, he will be fine, making Wentz-like escapes and ice-in-his-veins third-down conversions. In fact, if Wentz Is miraculously fine for Week 1, he should still be improving heading into his third season.

Now that’s something BETTER to look forward to.

More on the Eagles