Eagles midseason grades: Jalen Hurts leads impressive offense to 8-0 start, stout defense has key flaw

The Philadelphia Eagles have the best midseason record in the NFL. Philadelphia is off to an 8-0 start, the best in franchise history, and has a two-game lead in the NFC East over the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants (with a win over Dallas in addition).

There is no blemish on the Eagles’ record as they emerged as a Super Bowl contender. Gone are the questions of whether this team can win the division and a playoff game, but how far can this team go in late January? When will he suffer his first loss.

The Eagles answered a lot of questions in the first half of the season, belonging in the conversation with the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs as one of the best teams in football. The midseason ratings are in for Philadelphia — and they’re pretty good.

Let’s just say the Eagles passed the exam with flying colors.

Offense: A+

The Eagles can beat a defense in so many different ways, but the success of the offense this season has come down to the success of Jalen Hurts. Not only is Hurts a franchise quarterback, but he’s also one of the leading MVP candidates through nine weeks. Philadelphia is third in the NFL in points per game (28.1) and third in yards per game (391)

Philadelphia has the fewest points allowed in the league and is third in the league in points per possession. The Eagles are fourth in the league in third down conversion rate and in the red zone while leading the league in fourth down conversion rate. Oh, and they’re tied for first in the league in rushing touchdowns, as the 16 scores in eight games are the most in the beginning of a year since the 2005 Seattle Seahawks, who made the Super Bowl.

This is a Super Bowl-caliber offense with talent all over the field. The “Eagles” lived up to expectations.

Defense: A

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Philadelphia’s defense has been impressive to start the season, especially in the second with Darius Slay and James Bradbury leading the team. The cornerback duo is the best in football, while C.J. Gardner-Johnson leads the league with five interceptions. The pass defense has allowed the third-fewest passes per game (177.6) and has the second-most interceptions (12)

The defense leads the NFL with 16 sacks and the pass rush has nine sacks and 37 pressures since the arrival of Robert Quinn. The Eagles are second in the NFL in sacks (26) and second in rushing yards (119). They are fourth in the NFL in scoring (16.9) and yards allowed per game (299).

The only weakness on defense is stopping the run, and Philadelphia will be without Jordan Davis for at least the next month due to an ankle injury. The defense is allowing 5.2 yards per carry, fourth worst in the league. However, only 24.7% of opposing shots lead to a score – best in the league.

Special Teams: C

Aside from Jake Elliott, this unit isn’t very good. According to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, the Eagles are 26th in the league on special teams. Philadelphia has one of the worst kickoff and punt return units in the game (bottom three in the NFL), but its kickoff average is 29.8 – fourth best in the NFL.

Arryn Siposs is heavily criticized, but he is 15th in the NFL in punting average (41.7). The Eagles have allowed just 82 yards on punt returns (seventh-fewest in the NFL), but 25.5 yards per punt return is a problem.

Elliott has only eight field goal attempts this season (the Eagles score a lot of touchdowns). This unit could be better, but that has been the case since Michael Clay took over as special teams coach two years ago.

Workout: A+

Nick Siriani has led the Eagles to an 8-0 start, a year after taking a 4-11-1 team to a surprising playoff berth. The Eagles are 15-3 in Siriani’s last 18 regular season games (and 15-2 in games where a playoff spot is not clinched and starters are not rested).

Shane Steichen executed an excellent game plan and is one of the best players in the NFL. Jonathan Gannon’s defense looks significantly better with the right players in the system, with one of the best passing units and secondaries in the league.

Siriani has gotten the most out of Hurts and is letting his team lead by example. The message he spreads to his players is clear – and it is reflected in the dressing room and the play on the field. The head coach of the “Eagles” is already a star.

Overall: A+

The Eagles are 8-0 and have the best record in the NFL. It is the best start in the franchise’s 90-year history. Enough said.

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