One hallmark of the Nick Sirianni Eagles is that they almost always take care of business. They rarely lose as favorites, and they haven’t lost as a home favorite since Doug Pederson was head coach.
The Eagles are 12-1 outright under Sirianni as favorites, with the only loss coming against the Giants last November when Jalen Hurts threw three interceptions. He’s thrown three in nine regular-season games since.
They’ve won 10 straight as favorites going back to the Giants and eight straight at home since a 23-23 tie with the Bengals early in 2020.
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Why is this significant?
Because the Eagles are 6-0, and if they keep winning, they’re going to be favored every week.
That doesn’t mean they’re going to win every week and join the 1972 Dolphins and 2007 Patriots as the only teams since 1950 to fashion an undefeated regular season. They probably won’t.
But it does mean they don’t lose very often when they’re not supposed to.
Most likely, the Eagles will lose a game or two along the way. The FiveThirtyEight projects them going 14-3.
Who’s going to be the first team to knock them off?
Could be anybody, but there are five games that look particularly daunting as we sit here in late October gazing down the line.
Let’s take a look.
Oct. 30, Steelers: Rookie 1st-round pick Kenny Pickett has given the Steelers some life, but they’re still 2-5 and losers of five of six with an offense averaging 14.3 points per game. The Steelers aren ‘t particularly good at anything (27th in rushing, 24th passing, 18th rush defense, 29th pass defense) and they haven’t beaten the Eagles in Philly since 1965. The Eagles are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games against rookie QBs, allowing 13 points per game. And the Steelers are 4-11 in their last 15 road games. Don’t see it happening Sunday.
Nov. 3, At Texans: This one’s a little tricky not because the Texans are any good – they’re 1-4-1 this year and 9-29-1 since the start of 2020. They’ve won just six of 32 games since opening day 2020 as underdogs and they’ve lost 21 straight games against NFC teams who were favored, a streak that goes back to a 13-6 win over the Bears in 2012. But it is a road game on a short week and that can be a physical and mental challenge. The Eagles will play Pittsburgh Sunday and fly to Houston Wednesday. The Eagles are 9-3 all-time in Thursday road games with three straight wins – most recently in 2019 in Green Bay – so maybe it’s not as big a factor as we think. Not happening here.
Nov. 14, Commanders: Taylor Heinicke isn’t a great quarterback but he has the ability to give a moribund Washington team a spark, like we saw in the win over the Packers. And every division game is going to be dangerous just because it’s a division game. But the Eagles rarely lose to Washington when they’re not supposed to. They’re 25-2 in their last 27 games against Washington as a winning team when Washington is a losing team. And they’re 9-1 in their last 10 games against Washington as a favorite. The Commanders are averaging just 17 points per game, although a lot of that is Carson Wentz’s handiwork. Heinicke is the kind of pesky competitor who will run around and make some plays and make things interesting, but ultimately I just don’t see Washington coming into South Philly and recording the upset.
Nov. 20, At Colts: At one point, this looked like a difficult game. Frank Reich’s Colts had won three of four, including upsets over Andy Reid’s Chiefs and Doug Pederson’s Jaguars, and Matt Ryan was playing well. But the Colts appear to be in disarray right now coming off a 19-10 loss to the Titans. Reich benched Ryan, making Sam Ehlinger the starter (over Nick Foles) and Reich’s seventh starter since he became Colts head coach in 2018 (following Andrew Luck, Brian Hoyer, Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Ryan). Ryan is a future Hall of Famer and Ehlinger is a 6th-round pick who's never thrown a pass. Weird move considering the Colts are 3-3-1. Not like they're 1-6. But if Reich sticks with Ehlinger, he’ll be making his fourth NFL start against the Eagles next month. Maybe he’s the next Kurt Warner, but I like the Eagles’ chances.
Nov. 27, Packers: The Packers are 3-4 coming off consecutive losses to the Jets and Giants at Lambeau and Commanders in Washington, their first three-game losing streak since 2018. And they’re off to Buffalo this weekend. Yikes. But like the Colts they have a Hall of Fame quarterback who you never take lightly. Green Bay so far has scored only 42 total points in three road games. This looked like one of the toughest games on the schedule. Now? A game the Eagles should win. But the Packers remain an opponent that’s certainly capable of pulling the upset as long as Rodgers is in uniform.
Dec. 4, Titans: The toughest non-division game on the schedule (and the Eagles' only remaining non-NFC East opponent that currently has a winning record). After losing their first two games, the Titans have reeled off four straight wins, allowing 16 ½ points per game along the way. Ryan Tannehill is efficient, Derrick Henry isn’t what he used to be but he’s exactly the kind of big power back that could give the Eagles trouble, and defensively the Titans are No. 1 in the NFL on third down and No. 4 vs. the run. But they’re also 31st in passing yards allowed and 26th in total yards allowed. They’re well coached – 7th-best record in the NFL since Mike Vrabel became head coach - and they don’t beat themselves. The game’s at the Linc, but the Titans are 21-14 on the road under Vrabel – 6th-best road record in the league since 2018. Scary game. Going to have to play 60 minutes in this one. If the Eagles can still keep it going, they’ll be 12-0 if they get past the Titans.
Dec. 11, At Giants: I feel like everybody keeps waiting for the Giants to fall apart and start playing like the team we all expected them to be, but it’s not going to happen. They’re legit. They have a weird way of playing – they lean on a very good defense, a big-time running back and a quarterback who’s passing for 175 yards per game and running for 50. Brian Daboll is the best coach they’ve had since Tom Coughlin, and he’s got them believing in themselves, coming from behind late in games and finding ways to win. The Eagles are 21-6 in their last 27 games against the Giants, but this is a different Giants team. If the Giants win the Dallas rematch in Week 13, they could come into this game on an eight-game winning streak, with the Eagles 12-0. Difficult game. Dangerous game. Who would have thought?
Dec. 18, At Bears: The Bears were 2-4 with three straight losses going into Foxboro Monday night with the Cowboys looming next week. The Bears will be coming off their bye week, but by Week 15? Who knows, they very well could be something like 3-11 and playing for draft position. The Bears are 12th in the league defensively but they’re averaging only 15 ½ points per game, 31st in the league going into Week 7. They had scored just nine TDs in six games before Monday night, and Justin Fields was averaging 10 ½ completions per game. They’re not beating the Eagles.
Dec. 24, At Cowboys: The Eagles will be after their first series sweep of the Cowboys since 2011 and their second since 2004, and the game will presumably have enormous playoff seeding implications. Arlington has been a nightmare for the Eagles. They’ve lost four straight on the road against the Cowboys by an average of 36-18, and they’re 5-9 since AT&T Stadium opened in 2009. The Cowboys will be angry. They’ve been grumbling about the 26-17 loss at the Linc since it ended, and they presumably won’t be starting Cooper Rush in this one. This is a 4:25 p.m. Christmas Eve game, and if both teams keep winning, the hype machine is going to be off the dang charts.
Jan. 1, Saints: The Saints have some real firepower. They run the ball as well as anybody, they’ve gotten decent QB play from Andy Dalton since he replaced Jameis Winston, and Chris Olave is enjoying a big rookie season. But they can’t stop anybody. You have to love the matchup between an Eagles offense averaging 27 points per game and a Saints defense allowing 29 points per game. The Eagles might score 40 in this one, especially if the Saints – 2-5 going into last night’s game against Arizona - have been eliminated. Could be a trap game between the Cowboys and Giants and on New Year’s Day, but I like the Eagles’ chances. Plus there’s a Saints draft pick to improve.
Jan. 8, Giants: Imagine if a home game against the Giants is all that’s standing between the Eagles and a perfect record? While that seems unlikely, it is conceivable that this game could be for No. 1 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye, although I still think the Cowboys are the second-best team in the division (and conference). The Eagles, Giants and Vikings are currently the top teams in the conference, and the Giants have the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day in Arlington and the Vikings in Minneapolis in December. Here’s a question: If the Eagles have already locked up home-field and they’re 16-0, does Nick Sirianni play his starters looking for that unbeaten regular season or does he rest them to give them an extra week off before the playoffs? I’m not sure but it would be fun to find out.