2019 NFL Power Rankings:
No. 5 Philadelphia Eagles
If I dropped the Power Rankings when I was supposed to and like every other sane person, the Eagles would’ve topped the list. Luckily, this project took my lazy ass longer than expected, and I was able to see the Birdgang’s deficiencies on live TV before my grubby fingers hit the keyboard. Yes, there are some glaring weaknesses in Philadelphia, one being Nelson Agholor’s hands -- just ask my man the firefighter -- but this is still a Top-5 team that will be competing when the weather gets colder and the football means something.
Let me get a few things out of the way, so they don’t affect my writing. Jawn. Boul. Yaheeerd. Drawlin. Aight, let’s get down to the first order of business -- Carson Wentz. Just because I root for the Cowboys on Sundays doesn’t mean I’m delusional. Wentz is the best quarterback in the division and it’s not even close. If we’re being 100 percent, I truly can’t name four quarterbacks that I’d rather have over Wentz in 2019. He’s just that special. The issue is health. He’s been broken over the course of the last two postseasons and transformed from MVP frontrunner to a mere cheerleader when Nick Foles aka Big D*ck Nick led Vince Papale’s boys to their first Super Bowl title two seasons ago. The best ability is availability, and he hasn’t been present when the money’s on the line. We can debate a host of things, but that’s not one.
After missing last year’s playoffs, Wentz returned with haste, instantly reconnecting with his best pal, Zach Ertz. The two hooked up for 24 receptions for 255 yards but have yet to find the end zone -- that’ll change soon. Outside of Ertz, the team’s gotten production from Stonehands aka Nelson Agholor, who leads Philly in touchdown receptions with three, a Ferrari in human form and one of my favorite receivers ever, D-Jacc (who isn’t healthy at the moment), and Alshon Jeffery, the team’s unquestioned No. 1 wideout wise. That’s a helluva core. There should be no reason Wentz doesn’t get the most out of the unit once everyone’s healthy.
The running game started off slow this season, but that’s merely a product of the committee approach. It’s hard to find a groove when you’re splitting carries, but the duo of Jordan Howard and rookie Miles Sanders was able to finally get on track during the team’s 34-27 victory over the Packers in Week 4. The two combined for 26 carries, 159 yards and three total touchdowns -- all Howard -- and routinely gashed the Packers for big gains. If the offensive line continues opening holes like it did Thursday night, who’s going to stop Philadelphia’s offense? It won’t be God or anybody else he’s sent down to do such. They can beat your ass in the run game. Burn you deep. And kill over the middle with a host of big-bodied targets. There’s really little flaw, here.
On paper, this defense should be fantastic. Their defensive line is stocked with beasts who love nothing more than slamming quarterbacks and dominating offensive linemen at the point of attack. Let’s look at the names here. Timmy Jernigan is a gold-mouthed dawg who wreaks havoc in the run game. Fletcher Cox is the NFL’s best defensive tackle not named Aaron Donald. And the defensive ends, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham, are feisty pass rushers who can either fly by offensive tackles with speed rush or barrel through them with bull rushes. There’s so much juice here.
The biggest issue with Philadelphia is the secondary. Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins have been solid per usual, but the cornerbacks have been atrocious. Ronald Darby’s been getting flame broiled. Avonte Maddox nearly lost his head to friendly fire. To make matters worse, most of the team’s cornerbacks are on the mend. I don’t know when this situation is going to get better, but it has to. If not, there’s no chance of the hooligans in Philly destroying the city once again.
Offensive Players to Watch: Miles Sanders, Isaac Seumalo, Carson Wentz (Health)
Defensive Players to Watch: Derek Barnett, Duke Riley, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones,
Verdict: This is a playoff team. There’s no doubt about it. If they don’t grab the NFC East, then you might as well slot them in for a wildcard spot. The question remains, however. How will Carson Wentz play with the money on the line? Only time will tell. 11-5