After completely dismantling the Arizona Cardinals to the tune of 34-7, the Eagles move to 4-1 and find themselves at the top of the totem pole in the NFC. The aforementioned victory was without a doubt the most complete game the Birds have produced this season, and perhaps in the entirety of the Wentz-Pederson era. There are a plethora of reasons to be optimistic about the Eagles, but the burning question on the minds of many-Can they keep this up?- is one that should be addressed.
Although I believe the Eagles have displayed all the signs of a successful team, it is still fair to wonder if the team’s current trajectory is sustainable. It’s been thrilling to watch the Birds’ go on a tear like they have, but the more they win the bigger the target on their backs become. I believe that there are five things the Eagles need to do in order to continue their reign over the NFC.
1. Keep a short-term memory
The Eagles’ coaching staff have preached week after week about the importance of having a short-term memory in the NFL, and that practice should not fade after a 4-1 start. Successful players and franchises never get too high or too low on themselves, and the Birds should emulate this as they transition into the upper echelon of the NFL. The Eagles have been running rampant lately, but should remain focused and save the celebrations for when they clinch the division (yes, I’m calling it).
Eagles QB Carson Wentz had arguably the best game of his career yesterday. It's just the beginning. pic.twitter.com/sydrdRs0EJ
— Philly Sports Network (@PhiladelphiaSN) October 9, 2017
2. Continue Dominance on the Ground
LeGarrette Blount and Co. rushed the ball for 120+ yards for the third consecutive game and are absolutely steamrolling teams right now. The running game has taken a ton of pressure off Wentz’s shoulders and is the main reason the Eagles lead the league in time of possession at 35:32 per game. The proficiency at controlling the clock allows the defense to stay relatively fresh and is a trend the Birds must continue to remain successful.
3. Feature Nelson Agholor in the Offense More
Shhh, you hear that? It’s a bit faint so really focus. That’s the sound of me pulling my foot out of my mouth and burying my head in the sand as the Nelson Agholor truthers advance towards me. I’ll be the first to admit that after two lackluster seasons I was ready to give up on the former USC standout. He was simply a trainwreck to start his career, but seems to have turned a new leaf in his third campaign. Agholor has found the endzone three times in five games this season- as many as his first two seasons combined- and is on pace for 851 yards and 10 TDs this season(!). He has been sensational when given the opportunity this season and I think he should see more targets moving forward.
4. Take Care of the Division
The NFC East was expected to be one the toughest and most competitive divisions in the league this year. Due to numerous injuries, looming suspensions, and a hot start by the Birds- Philly is looking to run away with it. With two divisional wins already under their belt, the Eagles still have four more games to really stake their claim on the division. The Giants are laughably bad at 0-5, the Redskins are middle of the road at 2-2 but will be without CB Josh Norman for a few games, and the Cowgir- err- Cowboys are 2-3 and may soon lose star running back Ezekiel Elliott to a six game suspension. The Eagles must pounce on their wounded divisional foes and claim the NFC East crown.
5. Get Healthy
Its promising to see how the Eagles have weathered the injury storm with the next-man-up approach, but they still have huge voids on the roster. Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson, Ronald Darby, Wendell Smallwood, and Sidney Jones are all out with various injuries and the consequences are apparent when watching film. The Eagles are undoubtedly off to a fantastic start, but they need to get their heavyweights back to remain the #1 seed.
Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports