Through the first eight weeks of the NFL regular season, the Philadelphia Eagles’ three wins and five losses may seem unimpressive. However, the Eagles remain in second place in the NFC East behind the 6-1 Dallas Cowboys. While their record may not compare to the teams that lead other divisions, Philadelphia still has the opportunity to improve throughout the latter half of the season and vie for the divisional title.
After falling in two consecutive losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Las Vegas Raiders in late October, the Eagles picked up a 44-6 win on Oct. 31 over the Detroit Lions. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts collected 103 passing yards and 71 rushing yards. Running backs Boston Scott and Jordan Howard each scored two touchdowns in the win.
The victory and offensive surge arrived at the right time for Philadelphia. The Eagles still have plenty of time left in the season to make a run for the divisional title and the postseason, but they will have to gain momentum later in the season to accomplish this. Five out of the Eagles’ last six games are divisional matchups. They will play a winnable divisional schedule starting with the 2-6 New York Giants on Nov. 28 followed by the 2-6 Washington Football Team on Dec. 19. Philadelphia will then have to face both the Giants and Washington Football Team again on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2, respectively. Finally, the Eagles close out their regular season on Jan. 9 with an exciting home matchup versus the Dallas Cowboys. If the Eagles are able to maintain their performance against the Lions and collect wins in a number of these divisional games, they will remain in contention for the NFC East divisional title. Throughout November, the Eagles will also face the Los Angeles Chargers, who post a 4-3 record in the AFC West, the Denver Broncos, who post a 4-4 record in the AFC West, and the New Orleans Saints, who post a 5-2 record in the NFC South. These non-divisional matchups against teams with high win percentages will provide the Eagles with the opportunity to show their skill and to catch up to Dallas in the standings.
If the Eagles are able to pull off a few upsets versus the Chargers and Saints and defeat their divisional rivals, the Giants and the Washington Football Team, the most important game for the Eagles will be against the Cowboys at the end of the regular season. Dallas already earned a decisive victory over the Eagles with a score 41-21 loss on Sept. 27, but since that game, the Eagles have improved their offense, posting a 2-2 record throughout the month of October. In order to catch up to Dallas, the Eagles will need stronger defense to support Jalen Hurts as quarterback. Hurts, playing his second season in the NFL, played remarkably well in some of the Eagles’ close games, but he will need the defense to limit scoring by the opponents. In the recent win over the Lions, Hurts has all of the offensive and defensive support, particularly from linebackers T.J. Edwards and Davion Taylor, safety Marcus Epps, and defensive tackle Milton Williams. The Eagles’ will have to rely on stronger performances from both offensive and defensive players.
The postseason is still not out of reach for the Eagles, but the best way for them to qualify would be by winning the division. The Eagles’ current record of 3-5 would not be enough to earn a wildcard spot amongst teams with better records. Philadelphia must also be wary that the 2-6 New York Giants and the 2-6 Washington Football Team are only one game behind. The outcomes over one week of play have the potential to shift the rankings for the entire NFC East division.
Halfway through the season, the rankings across all conferences in the NFL can and will change as the postseason approaches. It is the hope that the Eagles will be a team that becomes a hopeful postseason story as the season continues if they continue to improve their offense and defense.