The One Thing You Can Expect From Nick Sirianni’s Eagles originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Sometimes, when a really bright kid is in a class that doesn’t challenge him, his grades start to drop. He’ll get bored and won’t be able to motivate himself to be successful.
In this analogy, the Eagles are the smart kids. Their weak schedule is for classes.
And I’m just a stupid dude trying to use it to tell you that the Eagles need to keep taking care of business.
Because so far, there has been no complacency. The Eagles didn’t bow down to their opponents. The best sign we could see for bye week is when the Eagles stepped on the throat of the hapless Pittsburgh Steelers to make it 7-0.
“Just don’t get bored,” Fletcher Cox said after the 35-13 win. “We say that all the time, especially as a defense. We don’t get bored. Knowing now we have a chance to go 8-0 on offense. We have a chance to play football in a few days and get everyone rolling and ready to play. Houston. This is another opportunity to go out and play another game.”
Make no mistake, the Eagles’ schedule this season hasn’t been full of world championships. (Though it’s fair to point out that their two wins came against the Vikings and Cowboys, the other top teams in the conference.)
The good news is that under Nick Sirianni’s leadership, the Eagles are really in business.
Over the past two years, the Hawks’ favorites are 13-1, according to Stathead. They didn’t cover the spread of all those wins, but they also didn’t lose the games they were supposed to win. If they look down on a continuation of a season, they may be favored in the following games, and it is important to continue.
Under Sirianni, they even favored at least 6.5 points in all five games, including a 10.5-point advantage against the Steelers on Sunday.
Which brings us to Thursday night, when the Eagles had a 13-point lead over the Houston Texans in the NFC South basement.
It’s easy to look at the 1-5-1 Texans, a team that has looked lost in recent years and despised them. Especially since the Hawks will be on the road at some point this season in just a week, it’s really easy to start feeling a little cocky.
But there is a difference between confidence and arrogance. The Eagles still seem to be on the right side.
The obvious reason for the focus is leadership. First up is Nick Ciriani and his coaching staff, but the Eagles also have plenty of seasoned leaders. Guys like Cox, Jason Kelce and Brandon Graham don’t make things too easy.
I think back to before this season when people were looking at the Eagles’ schedule and planning for them to win the NFC East, and Kelce publicly slammed their expectations.
“That’s what the expectation is,” said an excited Kelce in early September. They have nothing. We have to go out and play. The moment you feel comfortable in this league, someone will come to you. “
While Sirianni has said in some ways that it’s easier to give films harshly after winning, Kelce warned against researching films with rose-tinted glasses during that fiery press conference. He warns against letting things slip because of the outcome rather than the process.
So far, the Hawks appear to be following in his footsteps. Because they finished 6-0 in bye week, but they know they still have a lot to improve. That’s still true even after beating the Steelers.
The Eagles’ next four opponents are 11-18-2 and will play the current winning team before their Week 13 home game against the Titans.
Four of the Eagles’ final six games of the season have been against teams with current winning records (Titans, Giants x2, Cowboys), so it’s important that the Eagles continue to win the games they deserve.
Some of the four games can be tricky. The commander has a new life under Tyler Hynick, the Packers still have Aaron Rodgers, and the Colts just fired their offensive coordinator, which should serve as a wake-up call.
Even the Texans have some talent, at least playing hard under Lowe Smith. It’s hard for the Eagles not to take it lightly.
Based on what we’ve seen so far…they won’t.
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