The Eagles are approaching must-win territory.
Philadelphia’s 17-10 loss at home to the New England Patriots on Sunday leaves the Eagles trailing rival Dallas by one game atop the NFC East, and given the top-heavy strength of the NFC a division title appears to be the Eagles’ only realistic path to the playoffs.
How desperate are the Eagles? The Seahawks (8-2), coming off their bye week, will find out Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field (10 a.m., Fox).
Here are five things to know about the Eagles before then:
1. The Eagles are a “perfectly mediocre” team.
Their 5-5 record would support that assessment from one Philly blog, Bleeding Green Nation, which also described the Eagles as a “boringly average team.”
The Eagles rank 16th in the NFL in point differential, at plus-4, having scored 234 points and allowed 230 in 10 games.
It was only about 20 months ago when the Eagles beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, when their young core looked like a potential dynasty in the making.
Since then, the Eagles have a 14-12 regular-season record, and a Washington Post headline Monday declared them “the NFL’s biggest enigma.”
Sunday’s game played out much like the rest of the season for the Eagles, who built a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter — only to be shut out by the Patriots the rest of the game.
“The guys are disappointed,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson told reporters afterward. “They’re frustrated. They understand we’re a better football team than what we played tonight.”
2. Carson Wentz has been remarkably average too.
This summer, Wentz signed a four-year, $128-million contract extension to make him one of the NFL’s highest-paid players, and he entered the season as an MVP front-runner.
He enters Sunday’s game against the Seahawks with a passer rating of 91.4, which ranks 18th among NFL QBs and is his lowest since his rookie season in 2016.
Against New England’s top-ranked passing defense, Wentz finished 20 for 40 for 214 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked five times and lost a fumble.
Late in the fourth quarter, Wentz drove the Eagles into Patriots’ territory for a chance to tie the score. But Wentz’s final four passes fell incomplete, his first two well off the mark intended for his favorite target, tight end Zach Ertz.
“It’s frustrating, the way we really moved the ball to get down there, then kind of were just stagnant there at the end,” Wentz said. “I got to be better.”
3. The Eagles’ receivers are a mess.
Veteran DeSean Jackson (abdomen) was placed on the injured reserve earlier this month, and another veteran receiver, Alshon Jeffery, has missed time with an ankle injury. Without them, the Eagles have been a disaster at wide receiver.
The Eagles rank either last or second-to-last in the NFL in receptions by a receiver (93), receiving yards (1,008) and yards per catch (10.8).
Ertz, the Pro Bowl tight end, leads the Eagles with 55 catches (on 86 targets) for 621 yards. The Eagles’ other tight end, Dallas Goedert, has a team-leading four TD catches.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside, the rookie out of Stanford, has been targeted just eight times this season, with three catches for 43 yards. He was selected in the second round of April’s draft — seven picks before the Seahawks drafted DK Metcalf.
4. The Eagles have one of the NFL’s best run defenses.
Philadelphia is allowing just 86 yards per game on the ground, fourth-fewest in the NFL, and 3.8 yards per attempt, sixth-fewest.
On Sunday, the Eagles held the Patriots to 74 yards rushing on 22 attempts, and Tom Brady was 27 of 48 for 224 yards with no touchdowns.
The Eagles have held opponents to 17 points or less in three consecutive games.
“We played tight coverage,” cornerback Jalen Mills told The Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday. “As far as our defensive setup right now, we’ve got our starters back in the secondary. We’ve got our starters back on the D-line. (Defensive coordinator Jim) Schwartz trusts us in the game plan, and we trust the game plan.”
5. Andre Dillard could start at right tackle.
Lane Johnson, the Eagles’ Pro Bowl right tackle, suffered a concussion in the second quarter against the Patriots, and his status for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks is uncertain.
If Johnson is unable to play, the Eagles would turn to rookie Andre Dillard, Pederson said Monday.
Dillard, a Woodinville High School graduate and an All-American at Washington State last year, was the Eagles’ first-round draft pick in April. He started three games earlier this season at left tackle in place of injured veteran Jason Peters.
The Eagles were without running back Jordan Howard (stinger) on Sunday, and Pederson indicated he could be back this week. The Eagles signed veteran running back Jay Ajayi on Friday and he could make his season debut vs. the Seahawks.