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Jalen Hurts, Eagles Remind NFL They Are NFC's Team to Beat

After a Week 6 loss to the New York Jets, some significant questions surrounded the Philadelphia Eagles' offense. Jalen Hurts turned the ball over three times and allowed a much lesser team to steal a win. Something about the offense felt a tad off last week, but you knew the Eagles would be ready for Sunday Night Football.

Back at home and under the lights, this is where the offense takes over and gets back on track. And it certainly didn’t take long for the Eagles to show why they are still one of the fewer powerhouse teams in the NFL.


Early Bird Gets the Lead

The Eagles opened the game with a 12-play, 71-yard field goal drive against the Miami Dolphins. It was a drive featuring many D’Andre Swift runs that set the tempo for the rest of the game. After a Jalen Hurts fumble on the next drive, the Eagles scored back-to-back touchdowns to get a 17-3 lead.

Miami would climb back in the game, tying things at 17 after a tipped pass by Hurts that the Dolphins returned for a touchdown. But the next two drives defined the Eagles in Week 7. Philadelphia walked the ball down the field, scoring a touchdown after eight plays. Hurts had 10, 14, and 25-yard completions on the drive to help the Eagles take a 24-17 lead.

On the next drive, the Eagles went three-and-out. Or at least that’s what Miami thought. After putting the punt team on the field, coach Nick Siranni pulled the group off the field and decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from their 26-yard line. Of course, the Eagles used the "Tush Push” to convert the first down. And they would do it again later on the drive on fourth-and-1 from their 37. Hurts would eventually connect with A.J. Brown for 42 yards. That catch sealed the game for the Eagles.

Despite Hurts playing at less than 100 percent, the Eagles scored 31 points and compiled 26 first downs. But this wasn't even a clean game by the offense. They turned the ball over twice, once in each half. But what it shows is the floor of this offense. With these weapons and this offensive line, they are a near-lock to 27-plus points per game. They just have too much offensive firepower and a quarterback who is just as dangerous with his arm as he is with his legs.

The Brotherly Shove

Plus, having the most unstoppable play in the NFL in your back pocket doesn't hurt. Essentially, the Eagles start every drive with an advantage. They know that if they end up in third-and-1 (or fourth-and-1), it’s a guaranteed conversion due to the "Tush Push."

That means they only need to gain nine yards on three plays to convert. It's advantageous to have as a play-caller, knowing you’re a near-lock to complete every short-yardage situation.

But the offense isn't the only reason the Eagles won in Week 7.

Philadelphia's Defense Holds the Line

Their defense deserves a ton of credit because they held the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL to just 10 points. Miami had just 12 first downs and 244 yards all night. While they created a few chunk plays in the passing game, Miami totaled just 45 yards on the ground on 12 carries. The Eagles' defensive line had a massive talent advantage, and that battle was lopsided. 

They also created pressure on Tua Tagovailoa at a high rate. According to TruMedia, Tagovailoa was pressured on 36.1 percent of his dropbacks. That was the highest of the season so far, and it didn’t help that Tagovailoa was sacked on 11.1 percent of his dropbacks (also a season-high). Philadelphia got after him all night, forcing him to make tough throws into small windows. Eventually, it paid off with Darius Slay making an interception near the end zone with the Dolphins near the red zone. That was the changing point of the game. The Eagles scored a touchdown on the following drive to seal things up.

The Eagles' defense struggled early in the year, but they’ve bounced back significantly over the past three weeks. Excluding turnovers by the offense, they’ve allowed just 38 total points in their previous three contests. Pair that with an offense that is starting to figure things out, and it’s not hard to see why they are among the Super Bowl favorites.

Eagles' Sustained Excellence

After losing to the Jets in Week 6, it was fair to wonder if the Eagles were still an elite team. But after their dominating performance against the Dolphins, we can confidently say they are among the NFL's top two or three teams. Only the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs are in the same breath as them after seven weeks, and they could distance themselves from San Francisco depending on what happens on Monday night.

The Eagles are 20-2 in their last 22 regular season games with Hurts under center. What the Eagles have done over the previous year-and-half with Hurts is incredible. And while there are still things they need to clean up on both sides of the ball, the Eagles have that look of a Super Bowl favorite once again. Every team in the NFL has a weakness. But the Eagles might be the most well-rounded team we've seen over the last several years.

At this point, it would be a major shock if they weren't in the NFC Championship Game once again this season. Make no mistake about it: the Eagles are back, and they are here to stay.

Marcus Mosher is an NFL writer with a decade of experience in podcasting and writing for various NFL websites, including Bleacher Report, Pro Football Focus and The Athletic. He’s currently a managing editor at USA Today Sports Media Group and host of the Locked On Cowboys Podcast. Marcus has been working full-time covering the NFL since 2015 and works as a betting expert for You can follow him at @Marcus_Mosher.