Expectations are sky-high for the streaking Birds, as the Eagles sit atop NFL Power Rankings across the country. The only thing Philly can do — as it prepares to host the winless 49ers at 1 p.m. (on FOX this Sunday) — is to meet high expectations.
And those expectations are for nothing less than a double-digit victory over the Niners in Week 8.
Here’s a look at three things to watch for when the Eagles get back in action Sunday:
The Eagles lost two of the most important players they could possibly lose for the rest of the season on Monday night in Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks. At 6-1 the Eagles are in the drivers seat and the Niners won’t be as big a challenge as the Chiefs or Redskins were, but seeing how the team’s “next men up” perform this week will be informative of how good they can be down the season’s stretch run.
“When you look at the injury list and the guys that we’ve lost, Darren Sproles, Chris Maragos, Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks, guys that are significant starters and role players, leaders in your football team, captains on your football team, it can make an impact,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “It is definitely the nest-man up. mentality. And they rally around the guys that are hurt and support them. … The. bigger picture is: we still have a lot of football left.”
Wentz the MVP?
Wentz leads the entire NFL in touchdown passes with 17 and has already had multiple four touchdown games. Watching the highlight reel from Monday’s 34-24 victory gives Eagles’ fans chills and opposing teams nightmares. He has instincts and can seemingly magician his way out of the murkiest of situations. He could feast against San Francisco.
“He studies and prepares like I’ve never seen before in a quarterback,” Pederson said. “And to be this young and to hang in there and take shot after shot, it’s just amazing to me that — a lot of guys would probably duck and run or throw the ball away and that’s just not in him. That’s just not his demeanor. He’s going to continue to shoot the ball down the field. And you just see his mental and physical toughness. And it’s fun to watch when it’s clicking like that and he’s playing that well.”
The winless 49ers at home, followed by the faltering Broncos and then a bye week make the Eagles next few games important. They need to pad their win total before a rough stretch against the Cowboys, Seahawks, Rams and other contending teams later in the year.
“We try not to get caught up in it,” Pederson said of having the best record in the NFL. “It’s harder, though, every time you do win a game, it is harder. And the bulls-eye on our back becomes bigger and it just becomes a challenge every week, and that’s a tribute to the guys in the locker room. They are up for the challenge every time.”