Eagles’ Stock Watch: Who’s rising and falling after week 6?

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Philadelphia Eagles’ Miles Sanders stiff arms Dallas Cowboys’ Donovan Wilson during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

There isn’t a better feeling when the Philadelphia Eagles not only go to 6-0 for the first time since 2004, but their latest win coming off the hated Dallas Cowboys.

The 26-17 victory over Dallas has given Philadelphia and two-and-a-half-game lead over the Cowboys for the NFC East crown and continues to show how lethal the Eagles are as a team who hasn’t even played a complete game.

As with every game, there were good things to take back, and bad things to look through.

With the Eagles entering a bye week, the team needs to correct those things that keep coming up in their 6-0 start.

Stock Up: Secondary

One thing you have heard from Cowboy fans after the game is that the team only lost because Dak Prescott wasn’t playing and Cooper Rush isn’t good. That’s a gross oversimplification of what happened.

While Dak is a better quarterback than Rush, and the Eagles “haven’t played the Cowboy’s defense before”, the Cowboys haven’t played a secondary like the Eagles.

When they played press, Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and Marcus Epps made key play after key play. CGJ picked off Rush twice, Slay had another interception and Bradberry could have easily recorded one as well.

CeeDee Lamb had just five catches, and Michael Gallup was put in a blender, and it became impossible for Dallas to move the ball through the air.

An excellent night for the Eagles’ secondary.

Stock Down: Coordinators

A lack of adjustments once again almost cost the Eagles a win. The team has still not found a plausible answer when teams send all-out blitzes. The defense has yet to find an answer to offenses moving the ball to start the second half.

The lack of adjustments in the second half is a major issue for this team and could cost them later in the year if the team is going for the first seed in the NFC, or even potentially a playoff game a home.

The bye week has come at a really solid time this week and it gives the chance for the Eagles coaches Shane Steichen and Jonathan Gannon to gameplan better for teams that adjust to Jalen Hurts.

Stock Up: Clutch Gene

Jalen Hurts wasn’t perfect again. The defense was far from perfect in the second half.

But when the Eagles needed the right play, Jalen Hurts and the defense made them in the clutches moments.

Late in the fourth quarter of the game with Dallas owning all momentum, Hurts and the offense went on a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Hurts ran on a key third-and-four to convert and found AJ Brown on a key 22-yard completion. A touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith all but helped get momentum back on a clutch drive from Jalen Hurts and the Eagles’ offense.

But the game wasn’t over. Up by only nine, the Eagles’ defense needed to get a key stop. After two straight drives where they were shredded for touchdowns, Brandon Graham, and CGJ sealed the win with pressure and an interception, the third of the game, to lock up the win.

Clutch play is important for an undefeated team that continues to climb above expectations. The Eagles are playing clutch football right now.

Stock Down: Special Teams

The Eagles have a great kicker in Jake Elliott, and Arryn Siposs had a solid game. That doesn’t take away from how poor the Eagles’ special teams groups were on Sunday. Kavontae Turpin averaged over 32 kick return yards each time he touched the ball, and over 12 yards receiving per punt.

It wasn’t pretty. Up 20-0, Turpin’s key return brought Dallas back from the dead and made it 20-3 at the half. If that big return doesn’t happen and perhaps the Cowboys don’t have a major comeback like in the third quarter?

The next two weeks need to be where Philadelphia improves their kick coverage or else other teams will make the special team’s mistakes pay when games really matter.

Stock Up: Protecting the Football

One of the key reasons that Jalen Hurts has been excellent this season is that he hasn’t really made the back-breaking mistake that can cost a team early in the year.

One of the key reasons the Eagles’ defense has been superb through six games is that they force turnovers at an excellent rate.

That combination alone is why the Eagles are 6-0 and playing good football. The turnover differential is at +12, a full eight (!!) turnovers ahead of the second-place team. Philadelphia is doing the two things that makeup championship teams: forcing turnovers and protecting the football.

The Eagles were a +3 on the turnover differential Sunday night with three key interceptions and the offense made the necessary plays needed on offense to win the game.

As long as the Eagles keep producing like this on both ends, the Eagles will be playing deep into January.

AP Photo/Chris Szagola