These Eagles are already better than last year’s Super Bowl team

Eagles fletcher cox
Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) reacts after the Dallas Cowboys turnover on downs during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Call me Jack Torrance. Pour me a bourbon on the rocks and the hair of the dog that bit me. If you think I’m crazy for saying this, I don’t care. The 2023 Philadelphia Eagles are already better than last year’s Super Bowl team.

How is that possible? This team hasn’t accomplished anything. This is an offense that still hasn’t put together a complete four quarters, according to Jason Kelce. This is a defense that is still trying to find their identity, according to Fletcher Cox. The blueprint is still being designed. And they are far from a finished product as head coach Nick Sirianni continues to remind everyone.

“It’s dawg mentality. No matter what happens, you go back to work each week,” Sirianni told reporters after beating the Dolphins 31-17. “That’s the same message it’s going to be this week. You just want to keep improving so you’re playing your best ball at the end of the year.”

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, left, throws during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Remember, this squad lost to the lowly Jets in a game where Jalen Hurts morphed into the ghost of Vince Young, circa 2011. They have stalled in the red zone. They have traded field goals for touchdowns. They have failed to close out games while committing 13 turnovers. Not good.

Further, the 2023 Eagles own an average margin of victory of only 7.8 points in their eight wins, compared to 10.6 points in 2022. Nail-biters have been the norm. Injuries have decimated the roster. Yet, this team somehow holds the best record in football at 8-1. This team is only 208 yards off last year’s NFC-best 6,614 total yards. Points? They are on pace to score one less total point (476). That’s it.

“I just think the resiliency that this team played with, and the way guys were able to be disruptive towards the end of the game,” Hurts told reporters after beating the Cowboys 28-23. “Obviously offensively we have to be better at managing the situations at the end of the game. But all that matters is winning. That’s something that I’ve been saying all year.”

Eagles Overcoming Adversity: The It Factor, Sweet Redemption

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) steps out of bounds while going for a 2-point conversion in front of Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (55) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The biggest reason for overconfidence coming out of the bye week is the way this year’s team has handled adversity. The Eagles really never faced it in 2022, other than the late-season shoulder sprain suffered by Jalen Hurts. They enjoyed a drama-free ride to the Super Bowl. Hurts and the offense built big leads and let their pass rush feast to the tune of a franchise-record 70 sacks. It was pure and utter domination.

Not this year. It’s been a grind every single week. Perhaps the most glaring difference has been in terms of injuries. Dallas Goedert is out with a fractured forearm. Nakobe Dean is out with a Lisfranc sprain. Cam Jurgens is out with a bum foot. Quez Watkins is out with a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Jalen Carter (back), Reed Blankenship (ribs), Lane Johnson (ankle), and Haason Reddick (thumb) have all battled ailments in the first half of the year. And don’t forget Jalen Hurts and his lingering knee issue.

“I don’t like it being that way,” Hurts said of his knee injury. “I love to be all good but, as I said I’d do anything for this city and for my teammates. It takes what it takes and that’s simply put. Whatever it takes and I’m just happy that we were able to gut out this win and we showed so much resilience.”

Long story short, the 2023 Eagles are way more flawed than the 2022 Eagles. That’s a good thing. They have legitimate scar tissue, calluses growing under the skin that should strengthen them for another Super Bowl run. This one has the potential to be more special thanks to the adversity they faced along the way. It’ll be extra rewarding if it ends with redemption in the form of a victory over the Chiefs in Las Vegas.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum