Before the start of the regular season, analysts and fans understood that the Philadelphia Eagles schedule was the toughest in football. With particular highlights surrounding Weeks 7-15, there were plenty of people who thought it would be hard for the Birds to match their 2022 output.
So far though, the Eagles have passed their first few tests with flying colors.
Following a regular-season loss to the New York Jets, the Eagles have rattled off three straight wins, two coming against teams well over .500. Their .457 strength of victory is easily the best in the NFC by at least thirty percentage points.
Perhaps this team is more than capable of handling such a difficult schedule in the first place.
“What did Bill Parcells say?” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said after the team’s 28-23 win over the Cowboys. “You are what your record says you are. So we’re in a good spot right now and we are going to enjoy this bye week at 8-1 and get ready for the Kansas City Chiefs who obviously are a great football team, and just continue to try to bust our butts to get better every single day.”
Sirianni is correct. As strong as Philadelphia’s wins over Dallas and Miami have been, upcoming games against the Chiefs, Bills, 49ers, Seahawks, and Cowboys show that they aren’t out of the woods yet.
And there are still plenty of ways the team can improve during their bye week too.
“That’s our mission,” Sirianni explained. “There is this huge mountain to climb. You can’t climb the mountain all in one week. When you look up that mountain and you start to look up at how much more you have to climb, that’s what makes you slip, when you do that.”
Can the Eagles keep Hurts healthy?
Philadelphia’s chances of succeeding in a difficult schedule directly hinge on the play of their star players. Luckily for the organization, they have some of the best-combined stars across the league.
At the top of that list is All-Pro quarterback Jalen Hurts. After shrugging off a turnover-centric start, Hurts has shown to be one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL today. He is second in the NFL in total touchdowns, top-five in yards, and among the leaderboards in big-time throws this season.
So long as Hurts continues to battle through his knee injury and play as well as he has, the Eagles can beat anyone on the schedule – at least that’s what the rest of the organization believes.
“He’s real tough…I don’t really worry about him because I know who he is and what he’s been through,” AJ Brown said after the win against Dallas.
Brown later called Hurts his brother when speaking to Emmanuel Acho and that they feel like “they are the best in the world when they step on the field.”
Against some of the best teams in football, the Eagles will need their quarterback (and the rest of the roster) to play like they are every week from here on out.
Of course, being 8-1 against the toughest schedule in football certainly shows just how good they are and how much of a problem they can be.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon