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2013 NFL Grades, Week 11: Time to trust the Eagles?

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

The loss to the Cowboys -- now more than a month in the rearview mirror -- still lingers in my mind. That's when Nick Foles somehow went 11 of 29 for 80 yards and left with a concussion. Philly and Chip Kelly's powerful offense couldn't manage an offensive touchdown for eight full quarters and we all gave up on them as a team that could do damage late in the season.

But in the last three weeks, Foles and Kelly have done a lot to change that.

Granted, they have wins over the Raiders (friskier than you expect!), the Packers (without Aaron Rodgers) and the Redskins (a much worse team that people want to acknowledge). But they've been consistent in the passing attack, with Foles now up to 18 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He should be higher; Riley Cooper was brought down at the 1 on a play where he probably should've scored.

What's been impressive as the Eagles have marched themselves into possession of a playoff spot -- the Cowboys are currently on a bye -- is the consistency they've had on both sides of the ball. The defense isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination but Philly hasn't given up more than 21 points since October.

Foles has found consistency in the passing game and looks like the guy who played well during backup duty against the Giants and as a starter against the Buccaneers. His game against the Redskins on Sunday wasn't a massive seven-touchdown outing or anything. But he made some critical throws against an (admittedly bad) Washington secondary to put the Eagles up big early. If they keep their foot on the gas maybe the game doesn't even end up as an eight-point affair.

The stretch run features the Cardinals, Cowboys, Lions and Bears so it's far from easy.

But it's possible -- and perhaps even likely? -- that his struggles against the Cowboys was more like a blip on the radar than the standard. If he keeps playing this way, the Eagles are a trustworthy team.

TeamGradeAnalysis
Broncos 27, Chiefs 17
CCalling the Chiefs a fraud would be taking things too far. They're still a good team. But they're not built to play from behind. Alex Smith is a game manager. They blew two good scoring opportunities and that defense didn't manage to sack Peyton Manning once.
BGreat protection for Peyton Manning, who did what he does best. Montee Ball is starting to warm up as a runner and could be a factor down the stretch. The Broncos defense did a nice job bottling up Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs running attack.
Eagles 24, Redskins 16
C-Solid effort from the Redskins to try to come back: they were down big and brought it within a single possession. But this team has serious flaws and they're being exposed down the stretch.
B+The Eagles look like they're trying to be a legit contender. That defense isn't all world but Nick Foles is playing well and he doesn't make turnovers. LeSean McCoy crossed the 1,000 yard marker in Week 11.
Buccaneers 41, Falcons 28
FIn a battle for the NFC South basement the Falcons came up woefully short. They gave up 163 rushing yards to a third-string running back and made Mike Glennon look pretty good. The offense didn't get going until late. Lost season for Atlanta.
B+Bobby Rainey blew it up on Sunday, running for 163 yards and three touchdowns. The Buccaneers won their second-straight game and hopped the Falcons for the basement in the NFC South. Could Greg Schiano save his job?
Bills 37, Jets 14
FLaughable that the Jets are in the playoff hunt. They haven't won or lost two games in a row this season. And they got hammered by the Bills on the road coming off a bye week. Pretty inexcusable.
B+Efficient day for EJ Manuel when the Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller couldn't get the running game going. The defense intercepted Geno Smith three times and sacked him four times.
Bears 23, Ravens 20
C+Ray Rice is alive! He's the only reason the Ravens stayed in this game -- Joe Flacco had another below-average game and the defense couldn't slow down the Bears in overtime. Brutal loss for the defending Super Bowl champions with the weather delay.
B-Crazy game that was delayed nearly two hours because of stormy weather. Chicago nearly blew this one but managed to stop Baltimore and take over in overtime to pick up a win on a field goal from Robbie Gould.
Bengals 41, Browns 20
D+Any time Jason Campbell's attempting 56 passes in a game it's not a good thing. He did that Sunday and his three interceptions helped set up a lot of Cincy's points.
CMonster second quarter that featured 31 points propelled the Bengals to a victory. A pair of DST touchdowns helped in a big way as Andy Dalton and the offense didn't have to do too much legwork. (Dalton averaged 3.4 yards per attempt and still had three touchdowns.)
Raiders 28, Texans 23
B+Matt McGloin led Oakland to a road win in Week 11 against Houston. Roll that around in your head for a while.
FTalk about the low point of your season. The Texans gave up three passing touchdowns to an undrafted free agent, benched Case Keenum midway through this game and endured a Matt Schaub-Andre Johnson screaming match on the sideline. What a freaking mess.
Cardinals 27, Jaguars 14
BHave a day, Michael Floyd! The Cardinals put up with the pesky Jaguars and ended up hammering them pretty good to put themselves in prime playoff position. The defense dominated and Carson Palmer was strong. Still no rushing attack though.
DGood job, good effort from the Jags. They're just literally a step below a lot of other teams, talent-wise. Cecil Shorts is particularly unhappy right now too.
Steelers 37, Lions 27
C-No idea how Calvin Johnson can go from 179 receiving yards in the first half to catchless in the second half, but it happened. Matthew Stafford was really inaccurate early in this game but still managed to put up big numbers.
B+Sure looks like Ben Roethlisberger is taking the trade rumors personally doesn't it? And it actually kind of looks like the Steelers might creep back into the AFC North and playoff race if they keep winning.
Dolphins 20, Chargers 16
C-Huge AFC Wild Card matchup here and the Bolts find themselves on the wrong end of things now. Ryan Mathews had a massive game but Philip Rivers was sacked three times and the Chargers couldn't close. The defense needed to step up.
C+Massive win for Miami. It keeps them in the playoff hunt and should ease the circus surrounding the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin mess. Ryan Tannehill was "only" sacked four times Sunday.
Giants 27, Packers 13
C-Packers continue reeling without Aaron Rodgers. They kept this one close for a while but a Scott Tolzien interception was returned by Jason Pierre-Paul to seal things. The running game didn't show up at all on Sunday.
B+The Giants are, improbably, getting back into the playoff hunt. They've now won four straight games and are kind of creeping out there. Andre Brown really boosts their rushing game and Eli Manning's been making less mistakes during this stretch than early in the season.
Saints 23, 49ers 20
BIt looked like the 49ers were going to steal a win in New Orleans. Many people will argue they were wronged by the refs on an Ahmad Brooks hit on Drew Brees. They're still in position to grab a wild card in the NFC but their hold is getting tenuous and the schedule isn't easy.
B+Huge conference win and it was done in impressive comeback fashion. Drew Brees keeps building his MVP resume and the Saints defense continues to outperform everyone's expectations.
Seahawks 41, Vikings 20
D+What's the point of paying Josh Freeman if you're not going to play him? Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel struggled again. Adrian Peterson was bottled up. The Vikings never stood a chance in this one.
B+Just another devastating home victory for the Seahawks. Their defense was strong, Marshawn Lynch ran well and Russell Wilson is an under-the-radar MVP candidate.
TeamGradeAnalysis
Colts 30, Titans 27
BStrong second-half effort from the offense, particularly from Donald Brown, who ran the ball really well. Trent Richardson wasn't impressive, but Andrew Luck did Andrew Luck things, particularly in the second half. They flipped the script in about 50 seconds to start the second half.
CThey completely abandoned the run in the second after a dominant performance from Chris Johnson in the first half. The defense did nice work limiting the Colts passing game but a couple costly mistakes really torched the Titans in the second half.
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