The Eagles have crushed bad teams. Now they're getting their biggest test of the season.
The Philadelphia Eagles, by record and by appearance, have been the best team in the NFL this season. They are 10-1, and in the entirety of November no opponent came within three touchdowns of them. But we may not know how good they are yet, and the next two weeks will provide the fullest reveal of their capacity.
The juggernaut Eagles spent Sunday performing elaborate group celebrations, boosting Carson Wentz's MVP candidacy and making Mitchell Trubisky regret the advent of football. They destroying opponents and outwardly enjoying the hell out of it. What they have not done, through no fault of their own, is defeat many good teams.
The Eagles have beaten only one team that currently owns a winning record, which came when they downed the Panthers, 28-23, in Week 6. Their only other game against an opponent presently above .500 came in Week 2 at Kansas City, a 27-10 loss.
It's not the Eagles' fault their schedule turned out to be breezy so far, and they have mostly throttled opponents. But they will face their toughest tests of the season in the next two weeks. They'll play at 7-4 Seattle on Sunday, and after spending the week in Los Angeles, they'll face the 8-3 Rams on the road. The Eagles have already proven they're excellent, but we'll find out more about them in the next two weeks.
"This is a great opportunity for our football team," Coach Doug Pederson said. "It's a great set of challenges for us. We're going against an opponent that's been to the Super Bowl, been in the postseason."
The Eagles' dominance will lead Sunday to a milestone of sorts. The Seahawks have not been an underdog of more than three points at home since 2012. Philadelphia opened as a four-point favorite.
While expectations for the Eagles skyrocket in Philadelphia, Pederson has tried to tamp down the hype. On Monday, a day after the Eagles beat the Bears, 31-3, Pederson was asked what stood out to him from the Eagles' performance. "Besides the 11 penalties and four fumbles?" he replied.
Their road trip will provide an obvious reason for focus. The Seahawks will be without Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, but they will be a battle-tested, desperate team. Pederson pointed out the Seahawks play their best late in the season. Since 2012, the Eagles are 17-5 in December games.
After the Eagles play Seattle, they'll practice for a week in Los Angeles, in preparation for a made-for-prime-time showdown. Wentz, the second pick in the 2016 draft, will face Jared Goff, the only player taken ahead of him. In their sophomore seasons, Wentz and Goff have been among the best quarterbacks in the NFL. They'll meet in a game that could be heavy with playoff-seed implications.
The Eagles have little reason to view the next two weeks as a season-defining stretch. They have dominated schedule put in front of them, and in the NFL, no wins come easy. "For us, there's nothing to measure," cornerback Malcolm Jenkins said, per ESPN.com. "We are our measuring stick." For the rest of us, the next two games will bring extra reason to study the Eagles.
Author Information: Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post.