Nine takeaways from NFL Week 9

Nine takeaways from NFL Week 9

The Philadelphia Eagles were released Sunday as it was theirs bye. But even though it was a day of rest, the team was still impacted. Here's an Eagle's slant to NFL Week 9 action.

1 – The Eagles are still alive in the NFC East

NFL season, the reigning Super Bowl champions are still very much alive in the NFC East.

The Eagles are now only one game back in the division thanks to Washington.

1) Washington Redskins: 5-3 overall (1-0 in division games)
2) Philadelphia Eagles: 4-4 overall (1-0 in division games)
3) Dallas Cowboys: 3-4 jumpsuits (1-1 in division games)
4) New York Giants: 1-7 overall (0-3 in division games)

The Eagles still have five division games remaining on their schedule, including two matchups versus Washington. Philadelphia can carve their way to the playoffs by taking care of business against their rivals.

The bye week has the potential to make the Eagles better with the Cowboys playing the Titans tonight. Tennessee is not that impressive (how did the Eagles loose to them again ?!). But if the cowboys DO loose, they'll drop to 3-5 before heading to Philly on Sunday. The Eagles would then be ready to end their season by putting them down at 3-6. A nice thought to think about, especially with the Raiders owning the Cowboy's 2019 first-round pick. That selection would currently be No. 14 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Regardless of what happens in tonight's game, Eagles versus Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field This Sunday is going to be a big one. Time for the Eagles to prove they're ready to go on a second half run.

2 – Washington's offensive line is seriously banged up

Washington did not just loose the game on Sunday. They also lost several starting offensive linemen.

Starting left tackle Trent Williams is reportedly expected to be out with a thumb injury. Shawn Lauvao may have torn his ACL. Starting right guard Brandon Scherff. Morgan Moses might be dealing with an MCL sprain.

This is very bad news for Washington moving forward. Their starting offensive line is one of the biggest strengths on the team. 33 year-old Adrian Peterson, who has 604 rushing yards and four touchdowns this season, has been opening holes for himself. And with Alex Smith prone to taking sacks, Washington is open.

Washington's injury situation adds credibility to the idea the division is open for the taking.

3 – The Ravens are helping out the Eagles

The Ravens lost their third straight game on Sunday, dropping to 4-5 in the process. The loss to the Steelers puts a significant dent in Baltimore's playoff hopes with Pittsburgh cementing their AFC North lead.

The Ravens' misfortune is great news for the Eagles, who owns Baltimore's second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. If the season was to end today, the Eagles would have three picks in the top 49: No. 18, no. 48, and no. 49 from Baltimore. Still lots of time for things to change, of course. In the meantime, keep rooting for the Ravens to lose.

4 – The Eagles' loss to the Panthers look a little less worse?

Do not get me wrong, the Eagles blowing a 17-0 lead at home was pretty pathetic.

But it's not like they've been beat by some scrub team. The Panthers are legitimately good. They're 6-2 and tied for the seventh best point differential in the league. Heading into this week, Carolina ranked no. 4 playsuit in DVOA. It's such a shame the Eagles were not ready to hold on in Week 7 because that would have been a real quality win.

An optimist can frame the Eagles' last three games before the bye as two wins and one loss to a really good team. Maybe the bodes well for Philadelphia entering the second half of the season.

5 – The Saints are the most dangerous team in the NFC

In case you missed it over the weekend, I put together a record for the second half of the Eagles' 2018 schedule. One criticism I received the Eagles is losing to the saints twice: once in the regular season and once in a projected playoff game.

Well, now you can see my skepticism regarding the Eagles' ability to beat them, especially if the game is at the Superdome. The Saints just have so much firepower on offense and I think it'll be tough for Philadelphia to match. Even the loaded Rams could not match New Orleans' scoring ability on Sunday.

Speaking of LA, they're clearly an elite team in the NFC, but I think they're more beatable than the Saints. And I'm not just saying that because they're lost on Sunday. My record prediction, which was released on Saturday, has the Eagles beating the Rams in Week 15.

6 – The NFL arms race helps to explain the Golden Tate trade

Just look at these point totals from Week 9 …

New Orleans Saints: 45
Carolina Panthers: 42
Chicago Bears: 41
Atlanta Falcons: 38
Kansas City Chiefs: 37
Los Angeles Rams: 35

Is there any question why the Eagles, who are averaging 22 offensive points per game this season (tied for 19th), went out and traded a 2019 third-round pick for another offensive weapon in the form of Golden Tate? You have to score in today's NFL.

While we're on the subject on Tate, I can not help but notice the Lions seemingly missed him on Sunday. Former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky thinks that's not totally unrelated to Tate being gone.

Carson Wentz Because It Makes Philadelphia's Quarterback To Get The Ball Out Of The Game. Detroit clearly missed that ability against the Vikings.

Meanwhile, the Eagles are already bonding with their new receivers.

7 – The Cardinals are admittedly stupid

I'm officially announcing that I'm banning the Arizona Cardinals from Bleeding Green Nation.

If they were going to be so reckless about making a quarterback acquisition this offseason – and they were – why could not they have done it in a way that helped the Eagles? You know, maybe fork Patrick Peterson or a couple of draft picks for Super Bowl MVP's Nick Foles?

But no. The Cardinals insisted on signing on injury-prone Sam Bradford to a one-year contract worth $ 20 MILLION with $ 15 million guaranteed. Everyone with a brain knew that was a horrible move that was not going to work out. And hey, guess what? It did not work out! Bradford was rightfully benched after just three starts and now he's a free agent again since Arizona cut him.

The hope here is that Bradford finds a way to return to the NFC East. Bradford's corner throughout his career: Pat Shurmur. Not to the Eagles, of course, but rather to a team that employs. New York moves on from Eli Manning and Sammy Sleeves to their new "bridge quarterback."

One can only hope.

8 – Pass rush help might be available?

Bradford was not the only notable player to get over the weekend. The Raiders released veteran pass rusher Bruce Irvin, who recently turned 31 years old.

Given Derek Barnett's season-ending injury, the Eagles have a need for more depth. Philadelphia currently has Brandon Graham, Michael Bennett, Chris Long, and Josh Sweat as defensive ends on their 53-man roster. Sweat's lack of time in Week 8 does not really trust him, so Irvin.

The problem is that Irvin still has to pass through waivers. I'd imagine it's a $ 9.25 million cap number in 2019. But if it does not pass through it, it's buzz that Irvin might prefer to sign with a contender like the Patriots or a team where he has familiarity such as the Seahawks (former team) or Falcons (former Seahawks assistant Dan Quinn).

Assuming Irvin does not have any interest in joining the Eagles, people may be rooting for him in Atlanta. Steven Means, who should be welcome back to Philly with open arms.

9 – The Giants have won the competition for the No. 1 overall pick

If the season ended today, the Giants would be picking no. 1 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. They're having their quarterback to replace Eli Manning.

That's not ideal. The Eagles really need the giants to pick some meaningless wins here to ruin their draft positioning.

The good news is that the Giants are going to contest for the No. 1 overall pick. The Oakland Raiders (1-7) and Buffalo Bills (2-7) look SO terrible right now. Both of these teams could potentially loose.

The Giants, meanwhile, are so pretty terrible. But I think they might be able to pick one or two more wins in this final stretch: at 49ers, vs. Buccaneers, at Eagles, vs. Bears, at Washington, vs. Titans, at Colts, vs. Cowboys.

Let's hope that's enough to impede their ability to get no. 1 overall.

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