After his Chiefs were crushed by Dallas, 51-23, on Nov. 5, Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali told the Dallas Morning News that the Cowboys, and not the Eagles, are “the best team in the league.”
What a difference a week makes.
Coming off their bye week, the Eagles remained the across-the-board top-ranked team in the NFL, according to power rankings from national outlets. But the Cowboys, who had reached as high as No. 4 in NFL power rankings just last week, have seen their outlook plummet ahead of Sunday night’s big matchup against the Birds at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
After the Cowboys’ 27-7 defeat to the Falcons, the Washington Post dropped the team 10 spots, all the way to 16th, noting that the injuries to left tackle Tyron Smith and linebacker Sean Lee might hurt the team more than the absence of star running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Bleacher Report moved the Cowboys down to 15, noting that an offense built around the run is going to have a hard time winning shootouts. ESPN dropped the Cowboys down eight spots to 11th, and Sports Illustrated pegged them as the 11th-best team in the league… for now.
It’s hard to find much criticism of the Eagles these days. Quarterback Carson Wentz remains most experts’ pick to be named the league’s MVP, while the chatter about Doug Pederson being named NFL Coach of the Year gets louder with each and every win.
Here’s how national outlets ranked the Eagles:
ESPN (Eagles ranked #1 | Last week’s rank, #1)
“The Eagles have the highest win total projection in the NFL (12.4), according to [ESPN’s Football Power Index]. As long as they can protect the football, there’s no reason to think the victories can’t keep coming. Philadelphia lost the turnover battle just once this season, in a Week 2 loss to the Chiefs.”
NFL.com (Eagles ranked #1 | Last week’s rank, #1)
“It was a bye week for the best team in pro football (including the CFL). So what could derail these Eagles, who have stormed out to an 8-1 start? Probably not the running game, which was thought to be a problem in preseason but is now a certifiable strength. The secondary’s getting back a healthy Ronald Darby, who’s been out since dislocating his ankle in Week 1, so probably not that group, either. And probably not the offensive line, which has played well despite losing its top player ( Jason Peters, out for the season with MCL and ACL tears). That leaves the Cowboys, who will be without Ezekiel Elliott for at least the first matchup between Dallas and Philly in Week 11, and who are already three games back in the standings. We’ll see.”
NBC Sports (Eagles ranked #1 | Last week’s rank, #1)
“Chaz Green gives Eagles fans good feelings for Sunday night, albeit bad memories of Winston Justice.”
Washington Post (Eagles ranked #1 | Last week’s rank, #1)
“The Eagles return from their bye rested and clearly feeling good about themselves. They play Sunday night at Dallas against the Cowboys, who will be without Ezekiel Elliott and have key injuries at other positions. The Eagles have a great opportunity to all but wrap up the division title, which is already a near certainty.
Bleacher Report (Eagles ranked #1 | Last week’s rank, #1)
“The Eagles are the best team in football at this point. I’m not saying that will be the case in January, but it is right now, and it isn’t even close.
The Eagles have the best offensive player in the NFL in Carson Wentz. They have the best defensive player in Fletcher Cox. They have one of the best offensive lines and one of the top defensive lines in the game. Philadelphia can win by wreaking havoc with the pass rush and with big plays in the passing game.
When the Eagles also get LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and the run game going, they’re unstoppable.”
Yahoo! Sports (Eagles ranked #1 | Last week’s rank, #1)
“Something to keep in mind: Carson Wentz has thrown a touchdown on 7.9 percent of his passes this season. Only 46 quarterbacks in NFL history (and only five this century) have finished a season with a better percentage than that. That basically means it’s dangerous to project Wentz’s current pace for the rest of the season, because some regression is coming. All that said, he’ll be just fine and should be in the MVP race right until the end.”
USA Today (Eagles ranked #1 | Last week’s rank, #1)
“Already 3-0 in NFC East, Philly can put virtual lock on division crown – and put another nail in Cowboys’ coffin – by winning at Dallas Sunday.”
Sports Illustrated (Eagles ranked #1 | Last week’s rank, #1)
“Eagles had the best bye week of any team this year. Every NFC East team lost, and now the Eagles, by virtue of sitting on their couches all day Sunday, gained a game over occasionally dangerous Dallas and Washington.”
SB Nation (Eagles ranked #1 | Last week’s rank, #1)
“Philadelphia had a bye week so it doesn’t quite feel right toppling the NFL’s best record from the No. 1 spot when the Eagles didn’t do anything to ruin it.”