The Eagles (8-1) are back to business after a much-needed bye, and with the rent still needing to be paid, the team has started early preparation for a six-game gauntlet that will shape the NFC playoff picture.
If the postseason started this weekend, Philadelphia would still have the week off as the overall No. 1 seed in the NFC and the team with the best record in the NFL.
The birds are getting healthier, and GM Howie Roseman will look for his investment in elite talent to pay off fully. With the final injury report set to come out, we’re looking at the Eagles’ ten most important players for the second half of the season.
Last season, the Eagles played without Goedert for five games while he recovered from a shoulder injury, and the offensive personnel was tweaked to keep explosive plays and consistency.
Jack Stoll is the No. 2 tight end and likely starter, but fourth-year veteran Albert Okwuegbunam could be the guy who keeps the offense consistent and efficient.
Okwuegbunam had 7 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown in the Broncos final preseason game.
A 2020 4th-round pick, he’s logged 54 catches for 546 yards and 4 scores in 3 seasons in Denver
QB Jalen Hurts
Hurts has raised his completion percentage to 68.9 percent, up two percent from last season, and through his first nine games of this season, Hurts has 15 passing touchdowns compared to 14 through the first nine games last season.
Since Week 7, the quarterback has a 75.0 completion percentage, an average of 8.8 yards per attempt, an 8-to-1 passing touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio, and a 125.5 passer rating.
Hurts has an opportunity to win the NFL MVP award, and that’ll likely put Philadelphia back in the Super Bowl.
DE Josh Sweat
The defense ranks third in the NFL with 154 quarterback pressures and Josh Sweat’s 50 pressures are fourth in the NFL this season.
Sweat has 6.5 sacks this season and through nine games, his 23 4th quarter pressures are seven more than Jadeveon Clowney in Baltimore.
safety Kevin Byard
Byard has had success against Kelce, and the Chiefs were 1-4 against Tennessee when the safety was a Titan before the Eagles acquired him in a trade a few weeks ago.
He’s been slow to adapt to Sean Desai’s scheme, but the veteran safety must be more efficient and decisive in coverage.
Slot CB Bradley Roby
Roby only played 55 snaps against the Rams and Jets before going on IR, but he was stout in coverage, and the Eagles’ pass defense was among the NFL’s best over that period.
WR A.J. Brown
Brown reached 1,000-yards in a season quicker than any pass catcher in Eagles franchise history, and his 1,005 yards are second in the NFL to Tyreek Hill, who’s logged 1,076 yards.
OL Cam Jurgens
Jurgens has missed the last five games after suffering an ankle injury in the Week 4 win over Washington.
The Eagles were among the league leaders in rushing with Jurgens in the lineup and his return gives Philadelphia their best lineup up front.
DT Jalen Carter
Carter has appeared in eight games for the Eagles. He ranks third on the team with four sacks and fourth with seven quarterback hits.
Carter (90.6) is the second highest graded defensive tackle in the NFL, 4th in pass rush grade (87.9), and he’ll need to be a difference maker down the stretch.
CB Darius Slay/James Bradberry
According to PFF, Slay and Bradberry rank 43rd and 82nd in defensive passer rating among 97 corners who’ve played at least 200 snaps. Among NFL safeties who have played 200 snaps, Blankenship ranks 41st but Byard is 78th (including his time with the Titans).
Through nine games, opposing quarterbacks have a 99.4 passer rating when facing the Eagles, fourth-highest in the league and fourth-highest vs. the Eagles all-time through nine games.
The Eagles are just the eighth team in NFL history to allow 2,300 passing yards and 19 touchdown passes and have just four interceptions after nine games, and the first to win more than five games.
The two cornerbacks are All-Pros and they paid well to perform as such.
The pass rush has been elite, but this Eagles defense will go as Slay and Bradberry go.
Rejuvenated after his trade to the Eagles, Swift has logged a 135 carries, for 614 yards, three touchdowns, and a 4.5 yards per carry clip.
Over the past month, Swift is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry and scoring just one rushing touchdown.
Philadelphia has been dominant in the running game down the stretch the past two seasons and it’ll be on Swift to log his first 1,000-yard season, while also giving the Birds a physical presence in the postseasn.
According to Pro Football Focus, Nicholas Morrow and Zach Cunningham are ranked 12th and 17th among 78 linebackers who’ve played at least 100 coverage snaps. The Eagles’ defensive line has been stout against the run, but it’ll Cunningham and his sideline-to-sideline abilities that help this team improve against the pass.