PHILADELPHIA (AP)The question is no longer asked if the Philadelphia Eagles’ best record in the NFL makes them the favorite out of the NFC to reach the Super Bowl, because at this point this deep into the season, they clearly are.
No one has to wonder if Jalen Hurts is the MVP front-runner, because he is.
The most interesting discussion point after a win over the Giants moved the Eagles to the only 12-1 team in the NFL is this: Will Hurts and these Eagles go down as the greatest team in franchise history?
The Eagles certainly are trending that way, and while winning the Super Bowl will decide the final answer, of course, this team has been downright dominant on the way to the playoffs – yes, a spot in the postseason already has been clinched.
The Eagles potentially could lock up the No. 1 seed in the NFC by the end of the month.
”I guess it is nice that you don’t have to sit there and wait to see, `Hey am I getting in?’ But we know our goals are higher,” coach Nick Sirianni said.
Remember, the Eagles started 2-5 last season before they rallied to win seven of the next nine to secure a playoff berth. However, all of Philadelphia’s wins in 2021, except one over New Orleans, came against teams with losing records. The Eagles finished 0-7 vs. playoff teams.
They join the 2004 team that lost in the Super Bowl as the only ones in franchise history that started 12-1. The Eagles have won consecutive games by at least 25 points and it’s hard to find a flaw on any side of the ball. Brandon Graham had three sacks. Hurts became the first QB in NFL history to rush for at least 10 touchdowns in consecutive seasons. Miles Sanders ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Jake Elliott filled in nicely as an emergency punter. They’ve scored at least 35 points in three straight games. Only three times have they allowed 30 points.
The Eagles are doing what the great teams do – play their best in December.
”If anything, that’s when you want to get hot,” Graham said. ”You want to get hot toward the end so you can carry over to the playoffs. Things are coming together.”
Here’s one more sparkling milestone for the Eagles: The last time they clinched a playoff spot as early as Week 14, they won the Super Bowl.
Offense? Defense? Special teams? The answer is D, all of the above.
Led by Graham, the Eagles did have six sacks. Josh Sweat got one and tied his single-season career high with 7 1/2. Haason Reddick got his 10th sack of the season and became the first Eagle to reach 10 or more sacks since Fletcher Cox in 2018 (10 1/2).
The Eagles had consecutive games of six sacks for the first time since 1998.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The Eagles will need a punter with Arryn Siposs out indefinitely because of a severe ankle injury. He was forced to leave the game and Elliott, the field-goal kicker, punted once for 35 yards. Special teams has improved the last two weeks, but a significant absence by Siposs could derail those efforts.
Sirianni said Monday the Eagles were working out the details on a new punter.
Graham – At 34 years, 252 days old, Graham became the oldest NFL player to total three sacks since Dwight Freeney in 2015 (35 years, 311 days).
Graham also became the oldest player to record a three-sack game on the road since Michael Strahan in 2007 (35 years, 362 days). He’s the second-oldest player in Eagles history with a three-sack game, behind only William Fuller in 1996 (34 years, 289 days).
On their best games, the Eagles have made it really hard to find a flaw. Siposs did have a punt blocked on the play where he was injured, but otherwise the Eagles steamrolled the Giants from the jump.
Siposs left the locker room using crutches and a walking boot. S Reed Blankenship (knee) also left the game. T Lane Johnson left late with an abdominal injury. After the game, he said he tweaked a muscle.
1,000 – Sanders topped 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career (1,068) and is the first Eagles running back to hit that mark since LeSean McCoy finished with 1,319 in 2014. A.J. Brown finished with 4 catches for 70 yards and 1 TD, moving his season totals to 65 catches for 1,020 yards and 10 TDs. Brown is the first Eagle to record 1,000 or more receiving yards since Zach Ertz in 2018 (1,163). He is the first Eagles WR to do so since Jeremy Maclin in 2014 (1,318).
The Eagles head into their second of three straight road games Sunday at Chicago.
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