Fly Eagles Fly! Fly Eagles Fly!

Okay, so it's more like: Run Eagles Run! Run Eagles Run!

But it doesn't matter. Let's not let semantics get in the way of a narrative-altering stretch of football from the team that plays in Philadelphia. Because the Eagles are playing some of the more interesting football right now in the NFC -- they are off the mat, and they have creeped to within shouting distance of the playoff chase. Mere weeks after oh so many seemed ready to run rookie head coach Nick Sirianni out of town, with quasi-rookie QB Jalen Hurts with him (he's only been a starter for a calendar year), the Eagles are nearing .500 with a slew of divisional games still to play and a chance to be perched well at their Week 14 bye.

The Eagles have won three of their last four games, and they are road-grading opponents and racking up points. They have scored 138 points(!) in that span. Yeah, that is pretty substantial. Even losing Jordan Howard to injury didn't slow them down on Sunday as they plowed through the Saints, with Hurts once again leading them. Hurts continues to protect the football, take the throws that are there and provide an improvisational spark in the run game that is difficult to defend. They ran for 242 yards on a tough New Orleans defense -- making it pretty clear their intent wasn't going to involve much downfield intent.

Everyone knew they were running; no one could do much about it. That's how you roll up 37 minutes of time of possession.

 The Eagles came into this game with an NFL-best 761 yards rushing since Week 7 -- already 136 more yards than anyone else in that span -- and then expanded that lead Sunday. Miles Sanders is back in top form. The defense is improving. And things might set up for Philly to get on a little roll ... maybe even one that will have them playing meaningful games in January. Because, yeah, 5-6 ain't great, but 9-8 and maybe 8-9 gets you in the dance, and the Eagles are 4-3 within the conference including head-to-head wins over potential wild card teams like New Orleans and Carolina. Food for thought.

They play at the Giants and Jets -- flawed teams themselves -- in the next two weeks before their bye; that amounts to basically bus trips right up the New Jersey Turnpike. After the week off they get three of the final four games at home, with the only road game (Washington) also basically a bus trip. So for all intents and purposes, their real travel is already behind them before Thanksgiving.

The Eagles get WFT and the Giants at home and in Week 18 they face a Cowboys team that quite likely will be locked into a playoff spot and eager to rest everyone they can ahead of the postseason (or may have the top seed already locked up). Either way, keep an eye on the Eagles. I like where they are headed.

Browns in need of quick fix

Anyone else remember when the word was Odell Beckham Jr. was holding back the Browns' offense? Yeah, how ridiculous is that looking now?

Cleveland has been reduced to a fairly predictable outfit on offense at this point, as its 13-10 survival of the Lions at home pointed out. Baker Mayfield's limitations are being exposed even further as he plays through injuries, and the loss of right tackle Jack Conklin looks like a real problem. There isn't much for this offense to count on right now outside of Nick Chubb, injuries to wideouts have furthered their issues, and they are damn lucky the Lions were playing with Tim Boyle at QB in his NFL debut, because they probably lose to anyone else.

And this defense is nothing to get too excited about, either. For the second straight week it got carved up on the ground. The Lions picked up where the Patriots left off -- D'Andre Swift went off and Cleveland has suddenly allowed 352 yards rushing in just two weeks. They aren't built right now to play from behind, they don't do much quick-strike stuff and they face Baltimore twice in the next three weeks, with a bye tucked between.

They've got a lot to fix and not much time with a tough schedule looming. The Browns are 3-3 in their last six games, and have been held to 17 points or less in five of them, and 10 or less in two of them. The Browns hung 41 points on the Bengals three weeks ago, but produced a total of 61 points in their other five most recent games.

Bills offense has lost its mojo

The Bills' offensive line looks worse by the week, the mistakes and turnovers keep mounting and at this point I'm not sure you can even expect Buffalo's attack to ever resemble the level at which it performed for almost all of 2020. It's just not there. It's not there with Stefon Diggs like it was a year ago. It's not there with Josh Allen, either. And as I pointed out a week ago in what turned into an eventual blowout victory over the lowly Jets, things are very hit or miss and the rhythm has been hard to find. Allen has nearly thrown as many picks already as all of last season (8-10), his completion percentage and TD percentage have waned significantly, and his QB rating is 10 points lower than a year ago. And peep the Bills' upcoming schedule. It's no joke.

Urban Meyer failing Trevor Lawrence

Yeah, it's definitely time to worry if Trevor Lawrence is in good hands with Urban Meyer. There have been many reasons to give ownership pause about this hire -- some of them unprecedented -- but above all terrible decisions and poor judgment and embarrassment he has brought on himself and the franchise, perhaps worst of all is what's going on with the development of the first overall pick.

You can check out my reporting from Sunday morning for more of the details, but bottom line is Lawrence was savaged again this week. He is a combined 9-for-22 for 99 yards total in the first half of the last two games. The Jags have seven total first downs in those halves. Good thing they dealt Gardner Minshew or he might actually be playing there! Seriously, things got a little better in garbage time -- as they tend to do, ask Blake Bortles -- but this isn't moving in a positive direction.

More Week 11 notes

  • How about the Lions? The AFC North seems to bring out the best in them. It took a blown delay of game penalty and the longest field goal in NFL history for the Ravens to beat them, the Lions tied the Steelers last week (and frankly should have won that game, too) and then all but beat the Browns Sunday. Yes, the Bengals destroyed them, but that was a nice showing for an 0-9-1 team against what some thought was the best division in football.
  • Is Jonathan Taylor storming his way into the MVP conversation? Perhaps. Perhaps. But I had a feeling the Colts would muscle their way to a win Sunday and as long as Carson Wentz avoids the kind of boneheaded forced errors that tend to crop up, they look like a playoff team to me.
  • Have to give major props to Steve Spagnuolo for getting the Chiefs' defense turned around. They are unleashing Chris Jones again and that unit has coming a long way in the last six weeks.
  • There was a lot of chatter around the NFL that the loss of Derrick Henry was going to catch up with the Titans soon enough, and their magic carpet ride would hit some snags. Just surprised it was against Houston, in a relative landslide, on a day in which the Texans averaged a miniscule 3.1 yards per play. That's hard to do, even when the QB throws four picks. Also par for the course in the AFC, where no one holds on to that potential top seed for very long without opening the race right back up.
  • It was borderline criminal for Wink Martindale to call for an all-out blitz, sending eight on fourth-and-11 in the dying minutes milking a two-point lead, but all credit to the Ravens for continuing to exude spirit and determination under duress. Pulling out another comeback win -- and this time with backup QB Tyler Huntley in his first NFL start, on the road no less -- is no joke, and they continue to overcome injuries and adversity in the likeness of the head coach, John Harbaugh. They don't lack for guts, that's for sure.