Who Should Be Ranked Ahead of the Eagles in NFL Power Rankings?
After the Philadelphia Eagles lost their first game of the 2023 NFL season, the latest NFL Power Rankings from National Sports Media have dropped the Eagles down their lists. But consider this: This is the first time in six years that every NFL team has at least one loss this early in a season. So as we enter Week 7, what teams should the Eagles be behind in the NFL Power Rankings?
According to the ESPN.com NFL Power Rankings, the Eagles are in fourth place behind the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, and San Francisco 49ers while on the NFL.com Power Rankings, the Eagles are behind those same three teams AND the Detroit Lions. The Athletic NFL Power Rankings also have the Eagles in fourth place behind the Lions, 49ers, and Dolphins.
Yes, the loss to the New York Jets was certainly deflating and the turnovers were a huge problem in that game, there are double standards with these Power Rankings and the disrespect for the Eagles is blatantly obvious. Here's a breakdown of how the Eagles stack up against the other teams ranked ahead of them:
Let's start with the 49ers who, like the Eagles, also lost on the road this past Sunday to a team playing without their starting Quarterback (Jets played Zack Wilson and the Browns played PJ Walker). The 49ers lost their game when their Kicker Jake Moody missed a Field Goal that would have won San Francisco the game. While Moody has made 10 Field Goals this year, Eagles Kicker Jake Elliott has made 16 so Philadelphia wins in that category. Yes the 49ers were playing without two of their most important offensive players (Christian McCaffery and Deebo Samuel) but the Eagles were without their most important offensive lineman (Lane Johnson) after also being without their starting Right Guard (Cam Jurgens) and the Eagles Number Three Wide Receiver is on Injured Reserve (Quez Watkins). The only measurable advantage that the 49ers have over the Eagles is that San Francisco has the number one scoring defense in the NFL (Allowing only 14.5 Points Per Game) while the Eagles are 16th in the NFL (20.7 PPG Allowed).
Next up, I want to look closer at the Eagles' opponent for this upcoming Sunday Night, the Miami Dolphins. Sure, they have the number one scoring offense in the NFL (37.2 Points Per Game) but they also have zero wins against teams with .500 or better records. While the Eagles have beaten the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2) and the Los Angeles Rams (3-3), the Dolphins have run up the scoreboard on the Panthers (0-6), the Giants (1-5), and the Broncos (1-5). The Dolphins struggled to win 24-17 against the Patriots, the Eagles won 25-20 over New England. When the Dolphins played a team with a winning record this season, they got crushed 31-16 against the Buffalo Bills. Oh and by the way, the Eagles are Number Two in Total Offensive Yards this season (2,370), only behind the Dolphins (2,992). We will find out on Sunday Night Football how "real" the Dolphins offense really is.
The Kansas City Chiefs' resume is not exactly pristine this season, especially after they struggled to win against the 1-5 Broncos on Thursday Night Football. The Chiefs are behind the Eagles in Total Yards Gained On Offense (KC is 4th and Philadelphia is 2nd) along with behind in Points Per Game (KC is 9th and Philly is 5th) and both teams have Nine Turnovers this season. The Eagles beat the Vikings by six points and the Chiefs defeated the same team by 7 points while the Eagles lost to the Jets, the Chiefs won by 3 points. The real difference is on defense where the Chiefs have the 2nd best scoring defense in the NFL (14.7 PPG Against) while the Eagles are 16th (20.7 PPG Against).
Finally let's talk about those Detroit Lions, who have arguably the second "best loss" of any of the teams discussed in these power rankings (Detroit lost to the Seattle Seahawks while the Chiefs lost to the Lions). The Eagles are right behind the Lions in Team Scoring (Philadephia is 5th in Points Per Game and Detroit is 4th) along with close behind in Total Yards Allowed on Defense (Philly is 9th and Detroit is 7th). Similar to the Eagles, the Lions have sustained injuries to important players this season, a list that includes Safety CJ Gardner-Johnson, Running Back Jahmir Gibbs, and Defensive Back Brian Branch. The Lions still have a better scoring defense than Philadelphia (18.8 PPG Allowed compared to 20.7 PPG Allowed).
In conclusion, while the Eagles shouldn't be number one in anyone's NFL Power Rankings, the margin of difference between them and the teams ahead of them on these lists is minimal. We have focused so much on the Turnovers by the Eagles Offense on Sunday, the real separating factor is how Philadelphia's Scoring Defense stacks up compared to the Chiefs, 49ers, and Lions. The Eagles clearly have a better defense than the Dolphins while Philadelphia's offense has performed better overall than the Chiefs and the 49ers' resume is not better than the Eagles. With three weeks until their Bye Week, we will see if the Eagles can elevate to play at the level we know they are capable of or if Philadelphia will have another letdown loss along the way.
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