3 ugly truths about Philadelphia Eagles exposed in losses to Cowboys and 49ers

Philadelphia Eagles

This could be about the Dallas Cowboys, who exacted some vengeance Sunday night with a 33-13 destruction.

This could be about the San Francisco 49ers, who took control of the NFC’s No. 1 seed by the time Sunday’s Week 14 action finally concluded.

Related: NFL Week 14 Winners and Losers

This could be about the Detroit Lions, who squandered an opportunity to join the fraternity of 10-3 teams with four games to go.

No, this is about the reigning NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles, who in a matter of two humbling weeks were summarily reduced from being the conference bullies to being the constantly bullied.

Over the first 12 glorious weeks, the Eagles prided themselves on a winning culture, building a 10-1 record on the strength of five magical comebacks.

But they weren’t dominating. The Eagles were only squeaking by, barely finishing the job and then receiving praise for their masterful escapes, as if they possessed some mutant gene that set them apart as a different species from the other contenders.

The truth can only be hidden for only so long before it finally spills out, and two blowout losses in two weeks have successfully exposed three ugly realities about the Philadelphia Eagles. Here they are:

Philadelphia Eagles

1. The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense is below league average.

Last season the Philadelphia Eagles rode their defense all the way to the Super Bowl. This season, their numbers tell a new story about where the Eagles might be headed at their current rate.


20224.78 (1st)301.5 (2nd)20.2 (8th)179.8 (1st)
20235.43 (24th)353.9 (22nd)24.7 (28th)259.9 (28th)

The Eagles not only allowed 33 against the Cowboys and 42 the week before against the 49ers, but they also gave up 34 points in a 37-34 come-from-behind win over the Buffalo Bills. That comes out to 109 in three weeks, or more than 36 points per game.

Granted, the three offenses they faced are among the best in football, but a championship-caliber defense doesn’t show as many cracks as the Eagles have.

Philadelphia Eagles

2. Jalen Hurts is not a top NFL MVP candidate.

Ever since the Eagles began to separate themselves as the only one-loss team for several weeks, Hurts always benefited from it when the new NFL MVP odds were released and he was listed either at or near the top.

Having the NFL’s best record is rarely accomplished without the quarterback being at least somewhat responsible for it, and that’s why the NFL MVP in most years goes to the quarterback on the best team from a record standpoint. That’s been the case for seven of the past 10 MVP winners.

But now that the Eagles have fallen down to the rest of the pack, so has Hurts. Instead of standing out as the quarterback of the best team, he’s compared more equally to everyone — and that’s where he drops out of the MVP conversation.

His passing numbers don’t come close to measuring up to either Brock Purdy or Dak Prescott, and he’s tied for fourth with 15 turnovers. Hurts for MVP? Not unless the Eagles can regain their best-record status.

Philadelphia Eagles

3. The Philadelphia Eagles will not win the NFC without homefield advantage.

Anyone watching both the Sunday night game against the Cowboys and the previous week’s game against the 49ers can arrive at only one conclusion: The Eagles will not get past either team at any venue but Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. And even the argument for that idea would be rather flimsy.

The 49ers pummeled the Eagles decisively on their own turf, so why would anyone believe the outcome would favor the Eagles if they played again in January at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.?

And Sunday night, did the Eagles show even a modicum of hope that they could return to AT&T Stadium in Dallas and change the result, even though they haven’t beaten the Cowboys there since 2017?

The Philadelphia Eagles, who would be the NFC’s No. 5 seed if the playoffs started today, have proven they are no better than the third-best team in the NFC, perhaps several few notches behind the 49ers and the Cowboys.

But … the Eagles do have a viable pathway back to the top.

The one saving grace for the Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles’ greatest ally is their remaining schedule. Just compare theirs with the 49ers and the Cowboys.

San Francisco 49ersat Arizona (3-10)vs. Baltimore (10-3)at Washington (4-9)vs. LA Rams (6-7)
Dallas Cowboysat Buffalo (7-6)at Miami (9-3)vs. Detroit (9-4)at Washington (4-9)
Philadelphia Eaglesat Seattle (6-7)vs. NY Giants (4-8)vs. Arizona (3-10)at NY Giants (4-8)

The combined record of the 49ers’ remaining opponents is less than mediocre at 23-29, but the schedule includes a dangerous game on Christmas Day against the AFC’s best, the Baltimore Ravens. The opponents’ record for the Cowboys is 29-22.

The Eagles? Their final four opponents are a combined 17-33, and that includes the Giants twice. They’ve already battled through the most rigorous portion of their schedule and now get to reap the benefits of an easier slate, with the possibility of the 49ers and the Cowboys faltering along the way.

The Philadelphia Eagles have been knocked off the NFC pedestal, but they still have the time and the means to turn the situation back in their favor. They just need a little help from other teams to do what they couldn’t the past two weeks.


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