The Philadelphia Eagles Remain Unbeaten But Need to Solve a Lingering Issue Before It’s Too Late
The 2022 NFL season is still young, but the Philadelphia Eagles have been one of the most dominant teams in all three phases of the game. They’re the only undefeated squad left in the league at 6-0 with the second-highest point differential at plus 56.
Howie Roseman made one fantastic move after another this offseason to improve the overall roster. They’re in control of the NFC East and are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl this season. Plus, the executive made another move prior to the NFL Trade Deadline, adding Robert Quinn to an already dominant defense.
The Eagles have one of the best offenses in the league, led by quarterback Jalen Hurts. However, they haven’t played a complete game yet, going full throttle for a full 60 minutes, and it could start to haunt them if they don’t fix the second-half slumps.
Jalen Hurts is leading the Eagles with some MVP-level play
A lot of people expected Jalen Hurts to make a jump in his third year in the NFL, but not many expected to see this much growth out of him, especially in just his second year as the full-time starter.
We all knew about Hurts’ running ability, but his improvement as a passer is what has really stood out this season. He’s completing 66.8% of his passes for 1,514 yards and six touchdowns while having the sixth-best passer rating (98.4) and the third-highest yards per pass attempt in the league (8.2).
The Eagles trading for AJ Brown has helped Hurts in the passing game, but his ability to minimize mistakes and be precise with the ball has made him look like a much-improved quarterback. He’s on target on 80% of his throws and has only been inaccurate 12% of the time, both of which are top-five in the NFL. His 1.1% interception rate is also tied for the second lowest behind only Tom Brady.
The 25-year-old has been able to do all this through the air while also being a force with his legs. He’s rushed for 293 yards and six touchdowns, the most among quarterbacks and the second most in the league. With his passing and rushing numbers, Hurts is accounting for 73.7% of the Eagles’ total offense and 12 of the 19 offensive touchdowns.
That success is being noticed. Hurts is currently tied for the second-best odds to win the MVP award at +450, according to FanDuel.
Coming off a rough end to last season, where the Eagles were ousted in the Wild Card round to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Hurts was the biggest question mark heading into 2022. Now, he’s the best and most explosive weapon Philadelphia has on offense.
The Eagles need to play a full 60 minutes before it bites them
Through six games, the Eagles are averaging 21 points per game in the first half, nearly five more points than the next-best team.
The second half, however, has been a different story. Philadelphia is putting up an average of just 5.8 points after halftime, the third worst in the NFL, only ahead of the Denver Broncos and the Tennessee Titans.
This has been an issue all season but became most prevalent against the Dallas Cowboys. Philadelphia led by 17 heading into the second half, only for it to be a three-point game four drives later. The Cowboys scored two touchdowns while the Eagles were forced to punt twice.
The Eagles ended up winning 26-17, as they scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Had the offense not recovered on that crucial drive, things could have looked quite a bit different.
Philadelphia has led at halftime in each game this season, with four of them being double-digit leads. Their plus-78 first-half scoring margin is the best in the NFL.
This is a double-edged sword, though. While the Eagles have looked explosive right out of the gates, it also means they haven’t been tested and haven’t trailed in the fourth quarter. This will happen at some point, and it will be important to see how Hurts and the offense reacts when facing adversity.
When push comes to shove, you can’t coast in the second half or good teams will make you pay. The Cowboys almost did ,and so did the Arizona Cardinals the week before.
Fortunately for Philly, they are coming off a bye week and have had extra time to address this issue now and for the rest of the season. They have a favorable schedule the rest of the way and should be able to beat up on some of their next opponents. But there is legitimate cause for concern here, and if they continue to drop their guard in the second half, it’ll bite them when it matters most.
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