Philly Front Office - Eagles

NFC East Half Season Review

Through nine weeks, the battle to be divisional champs is an uphill one for the Eagles. Washington stays in the driver’s seat, and the Cowboys remain in the race, but with each divisional game left to play against the two, the Birds will have their chance to defend the crown. Let’s be honest, the NFC East sucks. None of Washington, New York, or Dallas has the same level of talent that the Eagles have. Philly has had a slow start, for sure. Between injuries, head scratching coaching/play calling, and player accountability, it’s obvious that this team isn’t the same as last year. Here’s the thing though, it doesn’t have to be the same team as last season to win the East and get into the playoffs. All the Eagles have to do is be better than their rivals. With that being said, let’s dive into the half season review of the division.

Standings

Washington: 5-3

Philadelphia: 4-4

Dallas: 3-5

New York: 1-7

 

Washington

Total Offense: 25th / 343.9 YPG

Passing: 24th / 222 YPG

Rushing: 10th / 121.9 YPG

Total Defense:  10th / 343.5 YAPG

Pass D: 20th / 254 YAPG

Rush D: 5th / 89 YAPG

 

I say this with the utmost confidence: the football team in Washington is a group of pretenders. Don’t get me wrong, they’re better than Dallas and New York (not that the bar was set very high), but they’re still not the best team in this division. Their offense is mediocre, particularly when forced to play from behind, and while they have a great rush defense, their secondary can be suspect. As an Eagles fan, that description might sound familiar. The difference is that while Washington isn’t for real, the Eagles are underachievers. Underachievers whose quarterback is Carson Wentz and whose aerial attack is far superior. Enough about the comparison to the Eagles though.

Through nine weeks, Washington has had a mixed schedule. Their most impressive victories come against the Packers 31-17 and the Panthers 23-17, both at home. Their other victories are less impressive. The Cardinals, Cowboys, and Giants are the other victims Washington has claimed, and it’s worth mentioning that they only beat Dallas and New York by a combined ten points. They’ve been dismantled by the Saints and Falcons and were also handled relatively easily by the Colts.

Washington’s identity is becoming clear as the season goes on. They are a team built to play with the lead, evidenced by their 10th ranked rushing attack. The passing game for them, however, has been anything but spectacular. Ranking as the 25th passing offense, they simply have very few weapons for defenses to fear, and combined with the type of quarterback Alex Smith is, there is no threat of being beat with a big play deep. Piling on to what is an average-at-best offense, three starters for Washington were lost this past week. Both starting guards, Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao, as well as starting wide receiver Paul Richardson will be on the shelf for the remainder of the season. Despite this, the Eagles and their fans should not simply dismiss Washington. Aside from the two games against Philly and matchups against the Texans and Jaguars, their remaining schedule is weak to say the least. The two divisional games against them could make or break the Eagles season.

Remaining Schedule: 

@ Tampa Bay

vs. Houston

@ Dallas

@ Philadelphia

vs. New York Giants

@ Jacksonville

@ Tennessee

vs. Eagles

 

Cowboys

Total Offense: 27th / 320 YPG

Passing: 29th   / 183 YPG

Rushing: 4th / 136 YPG

Total Defense: 4th / 313 YAPG

Pass D: 5th / 217 YAPG

Rush D: 9th / 96 YAPG

 

The Dallas Cowboys are fresh off a Monday night loss to the Titans at home to make them 3-5 and a game back from the Eagles for second place in the division. Dallas has an admittedly pretty stout defense, but their offense has been absolutely poor. Elliot and the rushing attack are potent, but similarly to Washington, they simply cannot score enough points to utilize it most effectively. Dakota Prescott is not as great as Dallas fans claim, and that’s becoming more and more apparent every week. Even with the fourth best rushing attack in the league, they’re still only 27th in total offense, and that can only fall on Dak (and Garrett, but let’s hope they keep bringing that guy back to coach them every year). With Atlanta, New Orleans, and Philly(x2) ahead on the schedule, the Cowboys might just be buried. If the Eagles take care of business against them, they surely will be, but it’s a given that Dallas will be prepared to bounce back in a rivalry game to save their season.

Remaining Schedule:

@ Philadelphia

@ Atlanta

vs. Washington

vs. New Orleans

vs. Philadelphia

@ Indianapolis

vs. Tampa Bay

@ New York Giants

Giants

Total Offense: 20th / 353 YPG

Passing: 9th / 275 YPG

Rushing: 31st / 77 YPG

 

Total Defense: 21st / 366 YAPG

Passing: 16th / 244 YAPG

Rushing: 23rd / 122 YAPG

 

The New York Giants are flat-out bad. Their one win comes against a Texans squad that started the year off slowly, and I’d have little faith they could do so again in a rematch. They have some winnable games ahead on their schedule, but they’ll still likely be close in the race for the number one overall pick. New York is easily the most disappointing team in the division, if not the league. People were picking this team to win the East before the season, and they might not even win three games. The Giants are no threat to anyone else in the division. The Eagles have one game remaining against them, and as we all know NFC East battles can get weird, so they’ll have to be prepared and beat them handedly like last time.

Remaining Schedule:

@ San Fransisco

vs. Tampa Bay

@ Philadelphia

vs. Chicago

@ Washington

vs. Tennessee

@ Indianapolis

vs. Dallas

 

Eagles

Total Offense: 15th / 366 YPG

Passing: 14th / 260 YPG

Rushing: 18th / 106 YPG

Total Defense: 17th / 352 YAPG

Passing: 25th / 269 YAPG

Rushing: 2nd / 83 YAPG

 

Despite not owning the division lead, our Eagles are still favorites to win the East. Recently PFO held a roundtable discussion on our expectations for the Eagles the rest of the way, so be sure to check that out. In terms of how they’ve performed this season, a lot is left to be desired. With the addition of Golden Tate, the hope is that the offense can turn it up another gear and score more points to help the defense. The offensive line will continue to be in trouble with Lane Johnson out for at least a couple weeks. Lane hasn’t had the best of seasons, but the o-line depth is bone dry. Getting Wentz a new toy to use means nothing if they can’t protect him long enough for routes to develop. The play of the offensive line (along with coaching/play calling) will determine if the offense can reach its ceiling.

The rushing attack will continue to rely on Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, and Josh Adams. If Darren Sproles can return for the final stretch of the season, he could potentially provide a new wrinkle to the screen game and allow Wentz to have another reliable check down. He would also help out a special teams unit that sorely needs it. While the running game hasn’t been spectacular, I think it’s likely that Clement in particular has much more to give. Josh Adams seems to be steadily improving as well, so the committee of them and Smallwood should be able to handle the load.

On the defensive side of the ball, a soon-to-be-returned Timmy Jernigan will rejuvenate a D-line that has struggled in getting to the quarterback this season. The secondary is what it is, and they’ll have to step up and improve from being the 25th ranked pass defense this season. Their mantra has been “we all we got, we all we need.” The first part certainly remains true, and time will tell if the second part will prove true as well.

Remaining Schedule:

vs. Dallas

@ New Orleans

vs. New York Giants

vs. Washington

@ Dallas

@ LA Rams

vs. Houston

@ Washington

Shane Sullivan

Recently graduated from the establishment formerly known as Philadelphia University. Diehard Philadelphia sports fan who was regrettably pessimistic about Nick Foles (I'm sorry, Nick) and was thankfully optimistic about The Process (thank you, Sam Hinkie). Movie lover, book nerd, and horror game enthusiast. I would've eventually won on the show WipeOut if it didn't get cancelled.

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