The Philadelphia Eagles have the best record in the NFL at the midway point of the season. 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 to boot).
There isn't a blemish on the Eagles record as they have emerged as a Super Bowl contender. Gone are the questions whether this team can win the division and a playoff game, but how far can this team go come late January? When will it suffer its first loss.
The Eagles answered plenty 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 grades are in for Philadelphia -- and they're quite good.
Let's just say the Eagles passed the exam with flying colors.
The Eagles can beat a defense in so many different ways, yet 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 candidates for MVP 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 giveaways in the league and is third in the league in points per possession. The Eagles are fourth in the league in third-down and red-zone conversion rate while leading the league in fourth-down conversion rate. Oh, and they're first in the league in rushing touchdowns, as the 16 scores through eight games are the most to start a year since the 2005 Seattle Seahawks, who made the Super Bowl.
This is a Super Bowl-caliber offense with talent across the board. The Eagles have lived up to expectations.
Philadelphia's defense has been impressive to start the season, particularly in the secondary with Darius Slay and James Bradberry anchoring the unit. The cornerback duo has been the best football, while C.J. Gardner-Johnson leads the league with five interceptions. The pass defense has allowed the third-fewest pass yards per game (177.6) and has the second-most interceptions (12)
The defense leads the NFL with 16 takeaways, and the pass rush has nine sacks and 37 pressures since the arrival of Robert Quinn. The Eagles are tied for second in the NFL in sacks (26) and are second in pressures (119). They're fourth in the NFL in points (16.9) and yards per game allowed (299).
The lone weakness in the defense is stopping the run, and Philadelphia will be without Jordan Davis for at least the next month with an ankle injury. The defense allows 5.2 yards per carry, fourth worst in the league. Despite this, only 24.7% of opposing drives result in a score -- best in the league.
Special teams: C
Aside from Jake Elliott, this unit isn't particularly good. Per Football Outsiders DVOA metric, the Eagles are 26th in the league in special teams. Philadelphia has one of the worst kickoff and punt return units in the game (bottom three in the NFL), yet its average starting field position is 29.8 -- fourth best in the NFL.
Arryn Siposs is highly criticized, but he is 15th in the NFL in net punt average (41.7). The Eagles have allowed only 82 yards on punt returns (seventh fewest in NFL), but the 25.5 yards per kick return is a concern.
Elliott has only attempted eight field goals this season (the Eagles score touchdowns a lot). This unit could be better, but that's been the case since Michael Clay took over as special teams coach two years ago.
Nick Sirianni has led the Eagles to an 8-0 start, one year after taking a 4-11-1 team when he took over to a surprising playoff berth. The Eagles are 15-3 in Sirianni's past 18 regular season games (and 15-2 in games where a playoff spot wasn't clinched and starters didn't rest).
Shane Steichen has executed an excellent game plan and is one of the best play callers in the NFL. Jonathan Gannon's defense looks significantly better with the right players in the system, having one of the top pass rushing units and secondaries in the league.
Sirianni has gotten the most out of Hurts and allows his team to lead by example. The message he's spreading to his players is clear -- and its reflecting in the locker room and the play on the field. The Eagles head coach is already a star.
The Eagles are 8-0 and have the best record in the NFL. This is the. Enough said.