There are a number of factors contributing to the Philadelphia Eagles holding the best record in the NFL halfway through the 2017 NFL season. Maybe the biggest of them is Carson Wentz, in his second season doing better than any other quarterback when it comes to executing in the red zone.
The 2nd-year QB out of North Dakota State has certainly stepped up his game after a rookie year which started out great but fizzled down the line. He’s 4th in the NFL in passer rating (104.1), 8th in yards per passing attempt (7.77) and leads the league in passing touchdowns with 23. The 24 year-old’s favorite targets have been Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, combining for 16 of his passing touchdowns.
But maybe most impressive has been Wentz’ ability in the red zone, which has been the best in the league. Wentz has thrown 15 touchdown passes from plays in the red zone, without getting intercepted (has 5 overall) or sacked (23 times this season outside the red zone).
And it has been a big part of the Eagles success. They rank second in the NFL in red zone execution, scoring a touchdown on 72% of the times they make it to the red zone, behind only the Green Bay Packers. Last season the Eagles were only 24th in the NFL in that respect, converting only 49% of their trips to the red zone into touchdowns.
At 8-1, the Eagles have a bye week to rest up before the big finish of the season, which will include two games against who appear to be their main rivals for the NFC East and perhaps the whole conference, the Dallas Cowboys. They play in Dallas on November 19, and the final game of the season will be another clash with the Cowboys, in Philly. Other difficult games the Eagles have, as some suggest their schedule hasn’t been that impressive (only the Seattle Seahawks have a weaker strength of schedule) includes road games in Seattle and LA against the Rams.
The Cowboys and the Eagles have split their seasonal rivalry for the last four years, each team winning one game per season since 2013.