As the 6-0 Eagles continue to exceed expectations, what’s next?
- NFC East title?
- Best record in the NFC?
- The “S” word? The Super thing?
Six games into an NFL season is too early to make blanket statements about most things. Predicting results of NFL games can be a dodgy business, at best.
That said, the NFL and the country notices what the Eagles have done. They have been the league’s only undefeated team since Sept. 29.
When the season started, the Eagles’ schedule was ranked the 31st-easiest based on last year’s records. Perceptions and reality in the NFL change year to year. NFC powers such as the Packers, Rams, 49ers and defending champion Rams are only 3-3.
But based on the first six weeks, the only major recalibration to the Eagles’ schedule would be the Giants. The G-men are 5-1, with wins over the Packers, Titans and Ravens.
Only five of the Eagles’ 11 remaining opponents have winning records — and two of the five are the Giants. There are only three other NFC teams with winning records. The Eagles have defeated two of them — Vikings and Cowboys — and haven’t played the Giants yet.
Home-field advantage can obviously be a huge factor in January, especially if your opponent is a West Coast team (49ers, Rams), or a dome team (Vikings) or a warm-weather team (Buccaneers). It’s too early to talk playoffs and playoff match-ups but it never too early to daydream.
Let’s look at the Eagles’ remaining 11 games (with current record in parentheses):
Oct. 30 — Steelers (2-4)
- Pittsburgh is struggling at quarterback, switching from Mitch Trubisky to rookie Kenny Pickett. The in-state rivalry thing with the Eagles isn’t really a rivalry. Expect the well-rested Eagles to come off the bye with a huge performance.
Nov. 3 — at Texans (1-3-1)
- This Thursday night game is risky if the Eagles get off their weekly rhythm. The Texans’ only win was at the Jaguars, 13-6, and they tied the Colts in Week One. Despite going on the road, and going against a good Texans defense, the Eagles should be fine.
Nov. 14 — Commanders (2-4)
- The heralded return of Carson Wentz to Philadelphia might include a clipboard. Wentz had surgery on a fractured ring finger on his throwing hand and was told he will be out four weeks. The Eagles’ game is four weeks away. After what the Eagles did to Wentz in their first meeting — a season-high nine sacks — maybe this is the best thing for him. The Commanders’ two victories were against bad teams — the Jaguars and Bears.
Nov. 20 — at Colts (3-2-1)
- This could be an interesting game for the Eagles, coming off a short week. The Colts started slowly with a tie (Texans) and 24-0 loss at the Jaguars. But Frank Reich’s team bounced back and shocked the Chiefs, 20-17, likely saving their season. By Nov. 20, the Colts should be in the thick of their division race and look like a tough opponent.
Nov. 27 — Packers (3-3)
- The Packers lost at Minnesota, to the Giants in England and to the Jets at Lambeau Field. They have beaten the Bears, Bucs and Patriots. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t looked like his normal, MVP-slinging self. This game is on Sunday night wrapping up a Thanksgiving weekend of football, so both teams will give full attention to the national audience.
Dec. 4 — Titans (3-2)
- The Titans started 0-2 but won three straight going into their bye. The Titans have a tough schedule. The two weeks before they visit the Eagles, they are at Green Bay and home vs. Cincinnati. This will not be an easy game.
Dec. 11— at Giants (5-1)
- Are they for real? We know Saquon Barkley is. Daniel Jones has improved with a new coaching staff. Giants rookies are having an early impact. Eagles-Giants games are always interesting, no matter the records.
Dec. 18 — at Bears (2-4)
- Chicago quarterback Justin Fields has struggled and he’s surrounded by a below-average team. Chicago is a terrific city, but the football team? Not so much.
Dec. 24 — at Cowboys (4-2)
- Revenge will be on the Cowboys’ mind. The Cowboys are good enough to be in the playoff hunt but have five tricky games remaining — at Green Bay, at Minnesota and home with the Giants in November; this game against the Eagles; and at the Titans.
Jan. 1 —vs. Saints (2-4)
- The draft-pick bowl. The Eagles own the Saints’ first-round pick and each time New Orleans loses, Howie Roseman’s pulse quickens. The general manager is on a serious heater with his draft picks and free-agent signings.
Jan. 8 — Giants (5-1)
- Will the Eagles’ starters play? Will they have to?
In the NFL, injuries are the giant unknown. Before the Cowboys’ game, four of the five Eagles’ offensive linemen were on the injury report. The fifth suffered a concussion in the Dallas game and left before halftime.
Another factor: Every team loses a game no one thinks it will — Green Bay lost Sunday to the visiting Jets, the 49ers lost at Atlanta. The Eagles are likely to be the favorite in all 11 remaining games.
Predicting a final record comes with too many variables. I see the Eagles’ 6-0 record and know they could have lost to the Jaguars, Cardinals and Cowboys.
Let’s say 13-3. Pray for good health.