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Eagles Look Like a Formidable Team, Despite a Less Than Stellar Opening Performance

Eagles Look Like a Formidable Team, Despite a Less Than Stellar Opening Performance
Last season the Eagles rallied around being an underdog on their way to winning the Super Bowl. They wore underdog masks and played up the fact that people weren’t respecting them because they were underdogs in both playoff games and the Super Bowl.
Not much has changed this season. The Eagles aren’t being picked in most quarters to repeat as Super Bowl champion. In fact many people aren’t picking them to return to the Super Bowl.
The Eagles were even a one point underdog heading into their home opener with the Atlanta Falcons, a team that earned a lot of Super Bowl preseason picks, and not just because the champion will be played in Atlanta.
The Falcons are a legitimately good team, one failed catch by Julio Jones of ousting the Eagles from last year’s playoffs.
It’s interesting that a ball to Jones again was incomplete on the final play of the Eagles opening 18-12 win over the Falcons.
What that game showed us is that the Eagles defense is ahead of the offense and quite possibly ahead of last year’s defense, which was really good (except for during the 41-33 Super Bowl win over New England).
In this year’s opener Nick Foles completed 19 of 34 for 117 yards, no touchdowns and one interceptions. His passer rating was just 50.7.
Normally in the NFL, those are the kind of stats that lead to a loss in this quarterback league, but Foles’ counterpart and the more highly regarded Matt Ryan wasn’t much better.
Ryan completed 21 of 43 for 251 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. His passer rating was 57.4.
While the offense awaits the return of quarterback Carson Wentz and receiver Alshon Jeffery, the defense looked in midseason form.
Linebacker Jordan Hicks, who suffered a season-ending ruptured Achilles in a Week 7 win over Washington, was outstanding in his return against Atlanta.
He had seven tackles and 1.5 sacks. Fletcher Cox added a sack and looked like a player capable of winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Cornerback Ronald Darby was outstanding.
The Falcons Jones had 10 receptions for 169 yards, but he was kept out of the end zone and he was targeted 19 times.
So considering that he is among the top three receivers in the game, the Eagles didn’t do a bad job against Jones.
If the Eagles can beat a quality team and definite Super Bowl contender without its regular quarterback and top receiver, imagine the damage they can do with a healthy unit.
Yes, the offense has a way to go and the Eagles have great room for improvement, but they were able to beat a quality team while not playing their best.

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Imagine when they are able to play their best and that time will come probably sooner than later. It all signals that this is a team that won’t relinquish it’s Super Bowl title very easily, regardless of what the prognosticators think.
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Author: Marc Narducci

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