Carson Wentz is setting the NFL ablaze. The MVP race is narrowing and the contenders are separating themselves further and further from the pretenders as weeks go by. The future of the Philadelphia Eagles leads the NFL in touchdown passes this season (28), ranking him fifth in Eagles single-season history. Wentz is just the third NFL QB to throw 28+ TDs and no more than 5 INTs through 11 games, joining Tom Brady in 2015 (28-4) and 2007 (39-4) and Aaron Rodgers in 2014 (30-3) and 2011 (33-4).
“The things that we saw in him looking at him before the draft or the things that we’re starting to see now, he’s such a competitor, and his will, his determination to make things right and the way he can elevate the play around him, meaning the guys around him, has just been incredible.” Doug Pederson said of his sophomore quarterback and his incredible season so far. “He’s taking care of the football. He’s not turning the ball over and that’s a positive to the success of the team obviously.”
The leap taken since his first snap as a Philadelphia Eagle is like nothing many have seen, but a tough stretch of games leading into the New Year will show just how far he’s come. But just like his play resembles a veteran who understands every last intricacy of his offense, his mindset does too.
“It doesn’t matter who the opponent is or what their record is. It never really matters, it’s just like we’re going to win each day and get better each day.” Wentz said after Sunday’s blowout win over Chicago. “Then we just try to come out and enjoy it on game day. We’re playing with a lot of momentum, a lot of energy, and a lot of swagger out there. The defense is playing unbelievable. We feed off of that, and they feed off of us. So it’s a lot of fun right now.”
The Eagles take their 10-1 record over to the West Coast to battle both the Seahawks and the Rams on the road. The Seahawks were able to overthrow the Niners and move to 7-4, while it was the Rams who dethroned the Saints and vindicated their own push for an NFC crown. For anyone who still doubts the strength of the Eagles schedule, the team face their toughest stretch of games so far in the coming weeks. For Wentz, it’s simply a case of staying cool, calm and collected.
“II always have high expectations, so nothing really surprises me.” The pride of NDSU explained. What followed next was a statement of confidence and humility. “I would be more surprised if we weren’t where we’re at, to be honest. I just knew we had a good team coming into the year. I knew the brotherhood we have, the chemistry we have, and the players we have. It starts with coach putting guys in the right positions. I wouldn’t really say I am surprised, but at the same time this is a lot of fun and we have to enjoy it while we can.”
It’s that selflessness and belief in both himself and the team that has pushed Carson Wentz and the Eagles to the very top of the NFL hierarchy. Philadelphia has started the season 8-0 vs. NFC teams for the first time since 2004..and two more wins could see them surge into the record books. The Eagles aren’t just winning, they’re winning in style. The Eagles have won three consecutive games by 28 points or more for the first time in franchise history and have scored 30+ in their last five. Of course, that success falls down to the sheer talent and execution throughout the offense, but it all starts with a franchise quarterback.
Real recognize real. Bears pass-rusher Akiem Hicks has seven sacks on the season. He was kept completely silent against Carson Wentz and the Eagles.
“The difference between who we played last year and what he was today, the margin is crazy.” Hicks said, surprised after the heartbreaking defeat. “He is just so much better than he was. Kudos to him and all the work he put in during the offseason and in-season. He is a solid quarterback in this league and he is having a great year.”
Next up for Carson Wentz and his MVP bound wagon is the Seattle Seahawks. A team that sparked the building of the rookie wall just one year ago. Wentz completed 23/45 attempts and scored 2 touchdowns and a pair of interceptions against the Legion of Boom. The rabid secondary had their way with a rookie quarterback while the pass rush hit him a total of seven times. The Eagles travel to Seattle again one year later, with the stakes violently different.
No Richard Sherman and no Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks are hurting. While offensive productivity is beginning to pickup thanks to another franchise quarterback in Russell Wilson, the Eagles may just have the upper hand heading into Seattle.
One week after that however, comes a real challenge. Seattle will be no easy opponent. They won’t roll over and they certainly won’t entertain the idea of Philadelphia coming in to extend that 30+ point streak one game further. Battered and bruised, Wentz and the Eagles will travel to L.A, to face a tenacious Rams defense who kept one of the best quarterbacks in the game in check on Sunday.
The hype surrounding the Eagles and Carson Wentz is incredible. The potential is through the roof and hopes of a Super Bowl are becoming more attainable by the week. But now the MVP race enters its most critical stage. The race for a #1 seed enters a pivotal point. A loss to Seattle followed by a loss to the Saints could see the Eagles begin to lose ground to the likes of Minnesota and New Orleans, not to mention a streaking Rams team who have won five of their last six.
The quest for supremacy starts now. These next two games will test Carson Wentz in ways that he potentially hasn’t experienced this season. Should he rise and soar even higher than he already is, the calls for a Championship will be bellowing around the City of Brotherly Love. Should the Eagles trip after a few stumbles on Sunday, then all eyes will turn to the Rams and how the Eagles can bounce back against one of the toughest defenses in the league. This is where Championship runs are built and legitimacy is earned. This is the beginning of the war for the NFC…and the Eagles control their own destiny from here on out.