The chances of the Philadelphia Eagles going 17-0 are slim. But they're somewhere above zero percent.
The main factor in the Eagles' favor is their schedule. It's really soft. It's hard to find a loss in it.
Coming into the season, the Eagles had one of the easiest schedules in the NFL, and it hasn't gotten any more daunting during their 6-0 start. It's hard to win 11 NFL games in a row no matter who you play, but take a look at the Eagles' remaining schedule and try to find their first loss:
Week 7: Bye
Week 8: vs. Steelers
Week 9: at Texans
Week 10: vs. Commanders
Week 11: at Colts
Week 12: vs. Packers
Week 13: vs. Titans
Week 14: at Giants
Week 15: at Bears
Week 16: at Cowboys
Week 17: vs. Saints
Week 18: vs. Giants
The Eagles might be slight underdogs at the Colts, depending on how Indianapolis' season develops, or at the Cowboys. They'll likely be favored in every other game, assuming they stay healthy.
If there's one thing we know six weeks into this season, it's that teams expected to win are losing at a surprising rate. Being favored doesn't mean all that much. The Eagles are losing a game before the end of the season, and probably in an unexpected spot. That's not the point of this exercise.
The takeaway should be that the Eagles have an absolutely clear path to the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Even if 17-0 isn't realistically on the table, something like 15-2 is. And a 14- or 15-win season means Philadelphia cruises to a No. 1 seed.
There are only three other teams in the NFC with fewer than three losses, and Philadelphia has defeated two of them. The Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants are 5-1 and the Dallas Cowboys are 4-2. Every other NFC team is 3-3 or worse. Look back at that Eagles schedule. Do you see three losses for them?
Weird things could happen. The one team that could be a problem for the Eagles is the Giants, because they keep winning, also have an easy schedule and have two games remaining against Philadelphia. If the Giants sweep the Eagles, they could upset Philly for the NFC East. The Vikings and Cowboys have a harder road because the Eagles have already beaten them both. At least Dallas can still tie the season series and take it to the next tiebreaker.
What separates the Eagles in the NFC isn't the schedule or even their 6-0 start, it's that they look really good. That isn't the case for practically any other NFC team. Philadelphia has been fantastic on offense, with Jalen Hurts making a nice progression. The defense has been excellent, too. Other than injuries, there's not much reason to worry about the Eagles maintaining a level as an elite team. There aren't many questions about their personnel. Very few teams can say that, especially in the NFC.
The Eagles are very unlikely to join the 1972 Dolphins and 2007 Patriots and run the table in the regular season. That's OK. They're on their way to a special season. It might be a while before we see them lose and looking at the schedule, it won't happen often.
Here are the power rankings after Week 6 of the NFL season:
32. Carolina Panthers (1-5, Last Week: 32)
Just when you thought the Panthers couldn't be more unwatchable, P.J. Walker completed one pass beyond the line of scrimmage, and it was one yard beyond the LOS.
it’s mesmerizing. there’s no reason for the panthers to play anymore games, this is a masterpiece. let them move onto 2023 in peace. https://t.co/xQ7FPSZB1N
— charles (#1 mahomes truther) mcdonald (@FourVerts) October 17, 2022
I'm not sure how that's even possible.
31. Houston Texans (1-3-1, LW: 30)
The Texans are coming off a bye and randomly firing (sorry, "mutually parting ways" with) executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby on Monday is on brand for a franchise that doesn't have a lot of direction. Easterby was a controversial figure inside the organization and a change isn't bad, it's just weird timing.
30. Chicago Bears (2-4, LW: 28)
How did the Bears not win that game vs. Washington? They had three possessions inside the 10-yard line end without any points. They flubbed a punt return when they had a chance to go on a drive and kill at least a significant portion of the clock. And they still win if Darnell Mooney hangs on to a pass he has to catch. It was a clinic on how to blow a game you have no business losing.
29. Washington Commanders (2-4, LW: 31)
Carson Wentz reportedly could miss a month or more with a fractured finger suffered last week. Taylor Heinicke is next up, though Commanders fans probably want a look at rookie Sam Howell after his promising preseason. Maybe that will happen before Wentz returns. It might depend on how Heinicke holds up.
28. Detroit Lions (1-4, LW: 27)
The Lions come off the bye and play at the Cowboys. A 1-6 or 1-7 start isn't out of the question (after going to Dallas they host the Dolphins and Packers). That would be soul crushing after an offseason full of optimism.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4, LW: 29)
Sunday was a cool moment for Mitchell Trubisky. He came on for injured Kenny Pickett and went 9-of-12 for 144 yards and a touchdown, closing out a 20-18 upset win over the Buccaneers. Maybe he just was unburdened from the pressure of being the starter and played a little looser. Either way, it had to be a good feeling after being benched earlier this season.
26. Arizona Cardinals (2-4, LW: 23)
Adding Robbie Anderson probably isn't helping anything, especially when he replaces Marquise Brown. Brown was having a very good season but will miss several weeks with a foot injury. At least DeAndre Hopkins returns this week. The Cardinals need something positive on offense, because it's broken.
25. Cleveland Browns (2-4, LW: 18)
The Browns are a bad football team. Their two wins are over the Panthers (barely) and Steelers. They were just blasted at home by the Patriots' third starting quarterback of the season, a fourth-round rookie. By the time Deshaun Watson returns, they might be irrelevant — and most people will not feel sorry for them.
24. Denver Broncos (2-4, LW: 22)
Russell Wilson started Monday's game 10-of-10 for 116 yards in the first quarter. After that he was 5-of-18 for 78 yards. Denver had three different possessions in a 16-16 game, and seven times had first or second down. They ran six times with Latavius Murray, who wasn't on the roster a month ago, and passed once. I don't know what comes next for the Broncos, but when you're that scared of your QB in a key situation, you have to consider everything.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4, LW: 16)
The story for the Jaguars is a lot different if the Colts don't hit a huge touchdown with 17 seconds left Sunday to win. But as it stands after that, the Jaguars look like a team that fooled us during that 2-1 start. The explosive element of the passing game is gone. The defense couldn't get off the field against a thin Colts offense. It's a reminder this is still a young team, and maybe not as talented as it looked three weeks ago.
22. Seattle Seahawks (3-3, LW: 26)
Kenneth Walker II is going to be fun to watch the rest of the way. The rookie running back had 110 total yards and a touchdown on Sunday. He looked great. It's not too late for him to jump in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year race.
21. Las Vegas Raiders (1-4, LW: 21)
Davante Adams being charged with misdemeanor assault for shoving a photographer is probably good news in terms of NFL discipline. The league will probably wait on the legal process. Otherwise, Adams probably would have gotten at least a fine by now.
20. Atlanta Falcons (3-3, LW: 25)
Brian Daboll is your Coach of the Year favorite, but Arthur Smith isn't far behind. This is not a talented Falcons roster. But Smith is using what he has, running the ball a lot and putting Marcus Mariota in the best positions possible, and they're 3-3. Sunday's win over the 49ers was really impressive. This might be the most surprising team in the NFL, even more than the Giants.
19. New Orleans Saints (2-4, LW: 17)
The Saints had several players out on Sunday (Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, Jarvis Landry, Jameis Winston, Marshon Lattimore) and still should have beat the Bengals. They didn't trail until 1:57 remained in the game. You can say "It's OK, the entire league is near or at .500" about nearly every struggling team. Say it about the Saints too, as they can still can turn things around when healthy.
18. Los Angeles Rams (3-3, LW: 13)
Losing left tackle Joe Noteboom for the season just digs the Rams' hole deeper. They're 3-3, the NFC West isn't getting away from them, but the offensive line issues and questions about the offense as a whole are hard to ignore.
17. New England Patriots (3-3, LW: 20)
I don't know what happens next with Bailey Zappe and the Patriots, but I know he has a 111.4 passer rating and looked good on Sunday. He threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns in an easy road win over the Browns. We know Bill Belichick doesn't mind sticking with a QB pressed into service if he thinks that's what's best for his team. A very interesting situation to watch.
16. Indianapolis Colts (3-2-1, LW: 19)
Matt Ryan has come up with big plays in three dramatic, comeback wins. Say what you want about how Ryan has played, but that wouldn't have happened for the Colts last season. It's rather remarkable this team is above .500, and they're actually in pretty good shape if they win at Tennessee on Sunday. That game could be the turning point of their season.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3, LW: 8)
It's not just that the Buccaneers lost to a bad Steelers team that was on a four-game losing streak. It was a Steelers team without All-Pro defenders T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick and their top three cornerbacks, too. Tampa Bay doesn't look very good right now and maybe it won't get that much better. The best thing going for the Bucs right now is that they play in the NFC South.
14. Cincinnati Bengals (3-3, LW: 15)
We have yet to see the best version of the Bengals, but they're staying in the race as they figure things out. On Sunday, Ja'Marr Chase carried them, breaking a huge 60-yard touchdown late after they hadn't led the entire game. They'll have to get better but it's easier when the entire league seems to be 3-3.
13. Green Bay Packers (3-3, LW: 7)
There are a lot of 3-3 teams that should be much better than their record. Do I think both New York teams are really better than Green Bay? Probably not. But over the last six quarters against the Giants and Jets, the Packers were outscored 44-12 and lost both games. The only thing keeping the Packers even this high is their past accomplishments and reputation, because this season hasn't been that good.
12. New York Jets (4-2, LW: 24)
The Jets' defense is pretty good. Rookie running back Breece Hall is really good. The passing game is a work in progress, but you can win games with defense and the running game. The Jets did not look good early in the season, but a decisive win at Green Bay is a massive one for a young team. Very few teams this season have been consistently decent, so why can't the Jets have a nice season with this formula?
11. Tennessee Titans (3-2, LW: 12)
Given the landscape of the AFC South, the Titans can take a big step to a division title on Sunday. They host the Colts and a win gives them a season sweep. The Texans aren't a factor and the Jaguars are fading already. If Tennessee wins this home game, they're in great shape moving forward.
10. Miami Dolphins (3-3, LW: 10)
Losing your starting quarterback in the first half of three straight games has to be a record. Rookie head coach Mike McDaniel doesn't want to use the injuries as an excuse, but it's a good one. The Dolphins have played hard despite the bad injury luck at QB, and perhaps Miami can pick up right where it left off when Tua Tagovailoa makes his expected return in Week 7.
9. San Francisco 49ers (3-3, LW: 6)
Sunday was a tough spot for the 49ers, between back-to-back Eastern games and a lot of injuries. But you can't keep excusing them for losing. They're a .500 team and that's probably not going to be good enough. They need to get healthier, and soon.
8. Baltimore Ravens (3-3, LW: 5)
The Ravens have had a lot of trouble closing out games, and Lamar Jackson needs to take the blame for Sunday's loss at the Giants. He threw an inexcusable interception when he should have thrown it away, which led to the Giants taking a late lead. He fumbled shortly after that. That's two key turnovers in the final minutes. Can't happen.
7. Los Angeles Chargers (4-2, LW: 11)
It's fortunate for the Chargers that the Broncos muffed that punt in overtime, or we'd be talking about how they couldn't take control of a game that Denver was a no-show for after the first quarter. I'm not sure how good the Chargers are, but they're 4-2 and not many other teams can say that.
6. New York Giants (5-1, LW: 14)
I have no idea how the Giants are doing this, but here we are. Back-to-back wins over the Packers and Ravens is impressive. They're on a wild streak of comeback wins. They have three rallies from double-digit deficits already. In their five wins, they trailed to start the fourth quarter three times and were tied to start the fourth in another. It's a crazy ride to start the season.
5. Minnesota Vikings (5-1, LW: 9)
The Vikings are perplexing. They're one of four teams with one or fewer losses in the NFL. Do you believe this is one of the four best teams in the NFL? I don't even know that Vikings fans would buy that. Sunday was a great example of Minnesota's season: The Vikings were outgained 458-234 against a Dolphins team starting a third-string rookie QB, who got hurt in the first half, but found a way to win. They haven't been close to dominant. But 28 teams would take a 5-1 record right now.
4. Dallas Cowboys (4-2, LW: 4)
I'm not downgrading the Cowboys for losing on Sunday night. If anything, it was impressive they made it a game after being down 20-0. When Dak Prescott returns, this is going to be a playoff team. Is it possible the three best NFC teams are in the NFC East? Perhaps.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (4-2, LW: 3)
The Bills are good. I wouldn't worry too much about Sunday's loss because the Chiefs are still one of the very few teams this season that clearly is good, and they are capable of winning a playoff game in Buffalo if they have to. The road, however, is tougher after Sunday's loss.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (6-0, LW: 2)
Right tackle Lane Johnson left Sunday's game with a concussion and the line struggled in the second half. Injuries, especially to the offensive line, could set the Eagles back. There's not much else stopping them.
1. Buffalo Bills (5-1, LW: 1)
The Bills have no excuse to not get the AFC's No. 1 seed. They won at Kansas City last season and somehow didn't get the first or second seed. This time they have the win over the Chiefs (and the tiebreaker) and no other team in the conference has fewer than two losses. It is all set up for the Bills to get the all-important top seed.