The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night. It is one of the more frustrating things that can happen if you root for the good guys in this particular rivalry.
Part of what makes the rivalry great though is the intensity of it. Do not get me wrong it has been quite the week with Eagles fans in my mentions on Twitter, but they are spirited about their team and I do respect a fun back and forth.
It is this disposition that led to the creation of the NFC East Mixtape about a year and a half ago. Bleeding Green Nation’s Brandon Gowton and I got together and decided to do something unique here at SB Nation and created a podcast that is disseminated within the podcast networks of all four NFC East sites here at SB Nation. You can listen to our most recent episode right below on the Blogging The Boys podcast network.
Make sure to subscribe to the Blogging The Boys podcast network wherever you get your podcasts so you do not miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
Brandon and I made a wager on last week’s game and obviously I lost. We made one before the first Cowboys/Eagles matchup last season (the second was inconsequential so we obviously did not) and he nobly paid up by switching his Twitter avatar to the BTB logo for an entire week.
My punishment was to wear a “Beat Dallas” shirt (shout out Nick Sirianni) for the recording of our episode this week as well as Friday’s edition of The SB Nation NFL Show and to write this article talking about how the Philadelphia Eagles are the best team in the NFC.
I am sorry.
The Philadelphia Eagles are clearly the best team in the NFC at this point in the season
While I can understand that this is an annoying thing to acknowledge, I do not understand how anybody who has watched all six weeks of the regular season can feel like there is an NFC team that comes close to the Eagles right now.
Sure we all believe in the Cowboys to a degree once Dak Prescott is healthy, but that is still an unproven thing right now. So taking Dallas out of this conversation for the moment (also worth doing seeing as how Philly literally just beat them) who are the other teams even kind of contending for the top spot in the conference?
Trusting an opinion that I believe in with all of my heart, my own, the next-highest NFC team in my own personal power rankings is the Minnesota Vikings followed by the New York Giants. The Eagles happened to have their way with Minnesota way back in Week 2.
My top 5 NFC teams based on my power rankings through Week 6 (read them here)
- Philadelphia Eagles (2nd overall)
- Minnesota Vikings (4th overall)
- New York Giants (5th overall)
- Dallas Cowboys (7th overall)
- San Francisco 49ers (11th overall)
As mentioned, the Eagles have beaten two of the top three here (these are admittedly just my own personal rankings) and while we can make the Dak-less claim for the Cowboys last Sunday night the Eagles still looked very good. And for what it’s worth, they handled Minnesota even more convincingly over a month ago when the Vikings were at full strength.
Part of what is sort of underrated about this Eagles team right now was actually on display against the Vikings. Philly’s secondary has Darius Slay and James Bradberry both playing at very high levels, and Slay pretty much locked down one the best wide receivers in the NFL in Justin Jefferson by limiting him to six catches for 48 yards. That is even more impressive when you know that Jefferson was targeted 12 times.
The Eagles currently rank second overall in DVOA and are fifth in both offense and defense specifically (Dallas is currently sixth defensively for what it’s worth). They trail only the Buffalo Bills overall and obviously Buffalo is an AFC team which has no impact on this specific argument.
Sure there are some flaws within Philly’s overall game that can potentially be their undoing. Their special teams are a bit suspect (25th by DVOA) and the main criticism against them has generally been that they cannot play great for four complete quarters in a single game. To that I would say, who cares? If you are building a mountain of a lead in the first half over and over, and can outlast the inevitable moments when you are human, then you are a pretty elite operation. Nobody is going to be perfect for an entire game and they have yet to be imperfect for a total one which is part of why they are undefeated.
There are no Cowboys fans who are happy about losing to Philadelphia on Sunday night, but we do recognize that a larger war is happening beyond that specific battle. But something that must be acknowledged is that while the Cowboys will obviously see the Eagles again on Christmas Eve, they may have to see them in the playoffs and very likely will have to do so in the City of Brotherly Love.
FiveThirtyEight currently has the Eagles with the highest-percentage chance to secure the only first-round bye in the NFC at 63%. It goes without saying that they have the highest-percentage chance to win the division at 71%. For what it’s worth, Dallas is at 15% and 21% in those respective categories which highlights how consequential Sunday night’s game was.
And in case you were wondering why models like these are so high on the Eagles, it is because of their schedule. This year has been a great time to be in the NFC East as evidenced by the birds, Cowboys, and Giants, but it is hard to see a game that Philadelphia will not be favored in moving forward.
Eagles remaining schedule:
- Week 7: BYE
- Week 8: Steelers (2-4)
- Week 9: at Texans (1-3-1)
- Week 10: Commanders (2-4)
- Week 11: at Colts (3-2-1)
- Week 12: Packers (3-3)
- Week 13: Titans (3-2)
- Week 14: at Giants (5-1)
- Week 15: at Bears (2-4)
- Week 16: at Cowboys (4-2)
- Week 17: Saints (2-4)
- Week 18: Giants (5-1)
Of their remaining 11 games, the Eagles have (through Week 6) only five are against teams with records above .500 and three of those are within the division, one of which is against the Cowboys team that they just beat.
This is the NFL which means that anything can happen, and this season is a pretty big indication that parity is alive and well. But right now the Eagles have a very firm grip on the NFC.
Time will tell if that changes between now and any point.