How quickly the season has changed for the Eagles.
With the team having a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback, even the most die-hard Eagles fans were skeptical about its chances this season. But after a decisive win against the high-flying Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, most NFL analysts seem to agree that the Eagles have what it takes not only to make it to the playoffs, but also potentially to challenge teams in January.
"It shouldn't be happening this fast for the Eagles, coming up from 7-9 with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback from North Dakota State and a defense that needed a new leader," Peter King wrote in his Monday Morning Quarterback column for Sports Illustrated. "But it is, and there's nothing fluky about it. The Eagles are legitimate deep-into-January contenders right now."
King's not alone. In its latest NFL power rankings, Bleacher Report ranks the Eagles as the No. 4 team in the league, noting that the "Wentz Wagon" continues to rumble its way through the league, "crushing skepticism in its wake."
If you average out eight of the top NFL power rankings from national media outlets, the Eagles rank fifth in the league. Most national outlets were kinder than Daily News columnist Paul Domowitch, who ranked the Eagles 13th in his latest power rankings.
Here how the national outlets rank the Eagles:
ESPN (Eagles ranked #7 | Last week's rank #15)
"The Eagles head into their bye week 3-0 behind a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback who has yet to turn the ball over. The Eagles also have allowed only 27 points through three weeks, best in the NFL."
NFL Network (Eagles rank #6 | Last week's rank #14)
"What's not to like about the Eagles right now? They whipped one of the (presumed) top teams in the league. They paid a king's ransom for a rookie quarterback -- a rookie quarterback who apparently didn't impress one particular winless team (this decade, seemingly) -- and he's balling out. Most importantly, Jim Schwartz's defense has allowed a grand total of 27 points in three games ( the lowest figure in the NFL by 10 points). The defensive line played out of sight Sunday night. Ah, the NFL."
Bleacher Report (Eagles rank #4 | Last week's rank #14)
"We've managed to learn quite a bit about each team so far. Some of last year's dominant squads—like the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings—are looking like contenders once again. Some potential new challengers, like the Philadelphia Eagles, are also making their presence felt."
CBS Sports (Eagles rank #5 | Last week's rank #12)
"Carson Wentz is off to a great start, but give some love to the defense. That unit has been impressive."
Washington Post (Eagles rank #5 | Last week's rank #13)
"Rookie QB Carson Wentz definitely is for real. That doesn't mean there won't be some bad days to come. There undoubtedly will be. But Wentz has demonstrated that he is ready to be a winning QB as a rookie. Is the team around him good enough for the Eagles to contend? Maybe. The offensive line is playing well and the defense certainly looks to be sound."
SB Nation (Eagles rank #5 | Last week's rank #14)
"If you're not yet a believer in Carson Wentz, there isn't much more he could've shown at this point. Despite the big jump from the FCS to the NFL that was supposed to take a long time to make, Wentz has arguably had the greatest start to his career than any rookie quarterback ever… While the tougher matchups are still on the way, Wentz looks plenty capable of leading the Philadelphia Eagles to the postseason."
Yahoo! Sports (Eagles rank #5 | Last week's rank #15)
"If you thought the Eagles' 2-0 start was a product of playing two bad opponents, and that Carson Wentz would be exposed against a real opponent, Week 3 was startling. The Eagles destroyed the Pittsburgh Steelers, 34-3. It was never competitive. Wentz was great. And as I said on Sunday, if the Steelers were considered Super Bowl contenders before that game, what does that make the Eagles?"
USA Today (Eagles rank #4 | Last week's rank #12)