The Eagles could leverage these strengths to another NFC title

Enough with the negativity. The Eagles are 8-1.

For all their mistakes and frustrations in the first half of the NFL season, there is no team with a better record – and really no team with better stats, a better roster or better prospects than the 2023 Philadelphia Eagles.

We spent some time complaining about what weaknesses could be their downfall. But actually there is a lot more good than bad. Here’s a look at some of the reasons Birds fans should be beaming with confidence as they rest alongside their team during the bye week – with a Super Bowl rematch against the Chiefs looming in a week and a half.

The offense is elite

The Eagles can do anything with football and that is the main reason the team is 8-1. They have star power across the board, with the best offensive line in football, one of the five best quarterbacks in the league, one of the three best receivers and possibly one of the best No. 2 receivers in the game. Here are some stats that show why this offense is a reason for great confidence moving forward:

category Stat NFL ranking
PPG 28.0 2
YPG 376.8 2
First downs 210 1
Rush yards 1,167 4
Third down % 50% 1
Fourth decline % 76.5% 1
Time of possession 33:18 3
Total number of games 637 2

Those are some pretty impressive stats. No one in football is better at key downs than the Eagles, and other than the Dolphins, they’ve been the most productive offense overall. It’s really hard to beat an offense that has such control, and Philly basically plays first-and-9 on every possession thanks to their almost automatic “tush-push” QB sneak game.

A good offense is the best defense as the Eagles are able to keep their defenders rested on the sideline as they play more plays than almost any team in football.

The run defense is the best

If you have the fantasy of starting a running back against the Eagles defense, don’t start him. The Eagles have allowed 8.9 fantasy points per game to running backs this season. Every other NFL team allows double figures, and seven of them allow 20 or more.

Part of the run defense’s success has been the Eagles’ ability to take an early lead and force opponents to pass the ball. They’ve also loaded the roster up front with run-stuffers like Jordan Davis, Fletcher Cox, Jalen Carter and a linebacking corps that can track down the run damn well. A look at the run defense:

category Stat NFL ranking
YPG allowed 66.3 1
Yards per rush 3.7 5
Rush TD allowed 3 2
Rush 1Ds 33 1
Running game % 29% 1

Teams don’t try to move the ball on the floor at all. The next two opponents for Philly, the Chiefs and Bills, have mediocre running games (15th and 12th in rushing yards, respectively), so the next big test for this unit will come in Week 13 against Christian McCaffrey and the 49ers.

The roster has just been loaded

The number of key players in the Eagles squad is extremely high. How important is Jason Kelce to this team? What about Lane Johnson? Haason Reddick appears to be a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. Jalen Hurts is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. AJ Brown could set multiple team and NFL records this year.

And then there’s big play Slay, newly acquired All-Pro safety Kevin Byard and locker room leader Brandon Graham. They also have one of the best kickers in football, Jake Elliott.

The list goes on and on.

This is a team brimming with confidence and experienced leadership. Most of this team left the field as Super Bowl losers in Arizona last February and knows what’s important. This squad has committed (and accepted) the fourth-fewest penalties in the NFL to date.

And they won in many different ways. They have shown that they can finish off their opponents (weeks 2 and 3). They outscored teams in shootouts (Weeks 4, 8 and 9). They won with pure dominance (weeks 5 and 7). They came from behind, they were able to hold on to the lead — and their only loss came in a bizarre Johnson-less game against a Jets defense that played its ass off and won a big turnover battle.

Nick Sirianni and Co. expect to win, and they continue to do so.

Follow Evan on Twitter:@evan_macy

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