Rene Harper looks at the Philadelphia Eagles chances of winning the NFC East.
Glendale, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles team captains cornerback Cary Williams (26), quarterback Nick Foles (9) and defensive end Cedric Thornton (72) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 24-20. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(C+P) — The Eagles have had a pretty decent year. At 5-2, they sit at second place in the NFC East behind Dallas. Philadelphia’s biggest problems so far this season are turnovers and lack of red zone offense. This is Nick Foles’s first full season as a starter, and he needs the offensive line to step up and get healthy. All things considered he is doing pretty well, but the bad decisions are killing them. The Eagles are tied for 28th in the league with a turnover margin of -7. That just isn’t going to cut it. Philadelphia also has the worst red zone touchdown percentage in the NFL, a mere 34.8 percent, right now and it is really holding them back.
Philadelphia has a very real chance to win the NFC East. So far their biggest competition is Dallas, and although their fast start made them look scary and invincible, they still have some issues. The Cowboys’ offensive line has been great this year, and the Redskins really exposed this by blitzing. As great as Dallas’s offensive line has been in the run game they still have problems with pass protection. They allowed Tony Romo to be sacked 5 times Monday night, and with a Philadelphia defense that ranks 14th in the league in sacks per pass play, this opens up a huge opportunity for them.
The Giants could wind up being a dark horse in this division race even though they haven’t really done much of anything. Eli Manning has managed a complete turnaround from last year and has really improved his game thanks in part to a strong offensive line. Their pass rush makes them a potential problem for Foles, but they can’t stop the run and have a tendency to make big mistakes. Injuries are another big thing holding the Giants back; and that definitely helps Philadelphia in the long run, especially if they can shove Darren Sproles down the Giant’s throats.
Provided the Eagles can get their offensive line healthy enough to help Foles cut down on the turnovers and start scoring in the red zone they should have no problem winning the division. Dallas seems to be their only real competition; however, the Eagles have proved that they already have the pieces needed to overcome that obstacle.