Eagles are in firm control of the NFC East despite not firing on all cylinders…and that’s a scary prospect

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) celebrates his touchdown with Philadelphia Eagles running back D’Andre Swift (0) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Philadelphia Eagles are 3-0. It might not have been exactly how we drew it up, but this is the first time since 1993 that the Birds have gone 3-0 in back-to-back seasons. With a tough schedule ahead, it was imperative that Philly got off to a flyer. They’ve taken care of business and now find themselves in a very advantageous spot heading into week 4.

The main concern with the 2023 schedule is the backloaded trouble. A 5-game stretch featuring games against the Chiefs, Bills, 49ers, Seahawks, and Cowboys (in Jerry world) sent shivers down the spine of fans everywhere and led to extra emphasis being placed on on starting out hot. If the Eagles could win their games against lesser opponents, it would buy them some much-needed breathing room when crunch time arrives. But as we approach week 4, it seems as though the gap to the rest of the pack is already increasing and showing no signs of tightening back up.

NFC East odds: Eagles are still favorites after week 3

Philadelphia Eagles-155
Dallas Cowboys+180
Washington Commanders +1800
New York Giants+3600
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While it’s easy to get lost in the importance of each individual week for the Eagles, it’s somehow even easier to forget that the other 3 teams in the division are capable of slipping up and losing easy games. Week 3 was a dream scenario for the Eagles, who now hold a 1-game lead in the division and one that looks almost certain to extend when looking at the upcoming slate of games for their NFC East rivals.


Philadelphia Eagles

Current record: 3-0
Predicted record after next 5: 7-1

Sam Howell was brought back down to Earth by the Buffalo Bills, Matt Stafford is a statue, and an actual statue might be more useful to the New York Jets than Zach Wilson.

The Miami Dolphins game should be a thriller but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the first loss of the season here before the Eagles go hunting for revenge against Dallas at home.

There is every chance the Eagles come away with at least 6 wins from their first 8 games.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) high fives Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Dallas Cowboys

Current record: 2-1
Predicted record after next 5: 4-4

Do you see what I mean now? Even if the Cowboys beat the Pats, Rams, and Chargers, a win against either of the two best teams in the NFC feels unlikely. That would give the Cowboys 5 wins maximum and even then, they’re 2 games back from the Eagles as we head to the midpoint in the season.

If we factor in the loss of Trevon Diggs, an Ezekiel Elliott revenge game, and a flailing run defense, this is a Cowboys team that could well be wobbling at this early stage despite their dominant start.

Washington Commanders

Current record: 2-1
Predicted record after next 5
: 4-4

I never thought I’d say I’m more bullish on the Commanders than I am the Cowboys, but here we are. Sam Howell’s disasterclass against Buffalo probably wasn’t fully reflective of his ability as a quarterback and not every defense will be as dominant as that. However, somewhere between week 1’s outing and week 3’s chaos is a capable QB who can at least manage a game.

Cardinals vs. Commanders eagles
Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell, left, and wide receiver Dyami Brown celebrate after connecting for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Monday, Aug. 21, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The Commanders have 3 ‘winnable’ games out of their next 5 but will likely only win 1-2. If the Falcons can figure out how to help Desmond Ridder: pass the ball, that game will be tricky, and the Bears have the potential to randomly break out for a 40-point game.

I can see the Commanders being 4-4 after 8 games.

New York Giants

Current record: 1-2
Predicted record after next 5: 3-5

There’s some tough sledding ahead for the New York Giants. The Seahawks have put up 87 points through 3 weeks and are moving the ball with ease, the Dolphins might just be the best team in Football, and it would be typical for the Giants to somehow lose against the Jets.

Realistically, the season is already buried as far as the Giants are concerned.

Conclusion: The Eagles run the table

The Philadelphia Eagles are 3-0 and have a chance to really stretch their legs over the next few weeks. If they can amass a 2-3 game lead in the division, it really takes the pressure off and removes the ‘must-win’ label from those marquee matchups that are on the horizon.

With the rest of the division dropping winnable games already, the scary part is that the Eagles are still nowhere near their best. They’re improving each week, but there’s a lot of meat on the bone…and that’s a scary prospect indeed.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum