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The Eagles should benefit from yet another weak NFC East | Early Birds

In other divisions, the Eagles' 0-2 start would put them in a much bigger hole than it does in the NFC East.

Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert could not hang on to a pass as Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey defends.
Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert could not hang on to a pass as Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey defends.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

Good morning, and I hope your Monday is going much better than the Eagles’ Sunday. For the second week in a row, the Eagles, not to mention their fans, are in disbelief after Sunday’s 37-19 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Rams.

Two things should offer slight consolation to the Eagles: They play in an NFC East Division that appears as weak as last year. In addition, the Eagles will host Cincinnati (0-2) on Sunday.

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Division should keep Eagles in the hunt

Last year, the Eagles won the NFC East with a 9-7 record. It was the only division in the NFL in which a team won it with fewer than 10 wins.

More of the same should happen this year, which means if Carson Wentz can snap out of his two-game funk and the defense can get some critical stops, the Eagles should still contend for the division title.

Just look at the East. Dallas is 1-1 and needed a miracle comeback, which included recovering an onside kick, to defeat a mediocre Atlanta Falcons team, 40-39, at home Sunday. In fairness, though, Dallas played this same Rams team toe-to-toe, losing by 20-17 last week in Week 1 in Los Angeles.

The Cowboys remain the NFC East favorite, but they are already banged up and still must prove they are more consistent than last year’s underachieving, 8-8 team.

Washington, which looked so good in the second half in last week’s 27-17 win over the Eagles, was soundly beaten, 30-15, by an improved and exciting Arizona Cardinals team Sunday.

The New York Giants are 0-2 and, in their next three games, will host San Francisco and travel to the Rams and Dallas. Looks like 0-5 can be a reasonable expectation. New York is averaging just 14.5 points per game. (Then again, the Eagles are averaging only 18).

That doesn’t mean the Eagles shouldn’t be concerned. Wentz has already thrown four interceptions, including one each week that turned the game around. Last season, he had four interceptions in his first 10 games.

“We’re not panicking. The sky is not falling,” Wentz said. “There are some good things we are doing, and we’ll get back on it.”

Most will consider it a break that the Eagles get to host the Bengals next Sunday. It very well could be, but rookie Joe Burrow attempted 61 passes with three touchdown passes and zero interceptions in Thursday’s 35-30 loss to Cleveland.

If he gets protection (and with the Cincinnati O-line, that is a big if), he can be dangerous. Still, the Eagles should beat the Bengals. Then again, that was also said before they faced Washington.

What you need to know about the Eagles

  1. While it is still early, Mike Sielski writes that this Eagles season is looking like a major letdown after loss to the Rams.

  2. Jeff McLane writes about Carson Wentz’s second straight poor performance and looks at some of the reasons this is happening.

  3. In one of his quick takes off the game, Marcus Hayes writes that Jared Goff, who was selected first overall in the 2016 draft, one spot ahead of Carson Wentz, clearly won their battle on Sunday.

  4. EJ Smith’s blog of the game described the action as it happened and includes plenty of video highlights of the game’s biggest plays.

  5. For the second straight week, social media wasn’t kind to the Eagles. Here is the Twitter reaction to the loss.

  6. Paul Domowitch gives his grades for the game in his report card. The defense, especially, isn’t going to be too happy with its grades.

  7. In his Eagles notes, Les Bowen opens by writing about QB Jalen Hurts' debut, in which he was used as a decoy for a few plays lining up at running back or receiver.

  8. Doug Pederson says that there isn’t one individual or unit that deserves blame for the Eagles' performance. He said it was a collective effort.

  9. In McLane’s Up-Down Drill, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz leads the down portion.

  10. Smith writes that Pederson defended his decision to kick a fourth-quarter field goal instead of going for a first down. Jake Elliott kicked the 33-yard field goal, cutting the Rams lead to 24-19, but there was a penalty on the Rams. Pederson decided against accepting the penalty and facing a fourth-and-3 from the Rams' 10-yard line.

  11. Domowitch writes that the Eagles couldn’t stop the Rams' running game. The Eagles allowed 191 rushing yards.

  12. Hayes says it is time for Jalen Hurts to at least get a snap under center. He should get some red-zone run.

  13. Ed Barkowitz offers observations from NFL Week 2: Winners, losers, and that wacky onside kick that helped Dallas rally to win.

  14. Here is a look at the game’s top photos from The Inquirer’s photography staff.

  15. Eagles fans abided by the tailgating ban, and Barbara Laker asked the question: Is this still Philly?

From the mailbag

Question: Aren’t linebackers supposed to make lots of tackles? Is it just me or did they seem to be blocked or away from the play? — David W. Wannop from Facebook

Answer: Thanks for the question, David. As you know, over the years, the Eagles haven’t prioritized linebackers. In this game, the two starters, Nate Gerry and T.J. Edwards, had seven and five tackles, respectively, but they are not big-play performers like so many teams' linebackers. Plus, you saw Gerry have trouble in coverage, especially on the third Tyler Higbee TD reception.

Even in today’s pass-happy NFL, there is still a place for a playmaking linebacker. Just look across at the field at the Rams' Micah Kiser. He was dominant against the Eagles with 16 tackles, one forced fumble and one pass defensed. He was a difference-maker, and the Eagles can only wish they had a linebacker like that.