Following a terrible loss by the Philadelphia Eagles to the New York Jets on Sunday, the reactions to a 5-1 record have been a little over the top. As you might imagine, fuel has been added to the fire on many of the sports talk shows.
One of the more colorful overreactions came during a recent airing of ESPN's First Take morning show. The panel was asked if the Dallas Cowboys are on the same level with the Eagles following Week 6's action.
Two of the three weren't kind to Philadelphia. Stephen A. Smith and Pat McAfee both said the Cowboys are on equal footing. Shannon Sharpe carried Philly's flag by himself. If you missed the broadcast, here's a look. This one should give you all plenty to talk about.
Well, that was interesting. Let's dig into this discussion a little more deeply and analyze what was said. As you might imagine, we have plenty to discuss now that six weeks of play are behind us.
The argument: The Cowboys beat the Jets, and the Eagles did not.
This was one of Pat McAfee's arguments. The Cowboys are on the Eagles' level because Dallas beat the Jets while Philly lost and looked horrible while doing so.
Look, was it a bad loss for Philadelphia? Yes, but McAfee can't forget that the boys from Texas have had two bad blowout losses this year. One came at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. The other was handed to them by the lowly Arizona Cardinals team (the win over Dallas is Arizona's only win on the season), so McAfee's point doesn't hold merit when you look at the whole picture.
Also, in the same breath, Pat said the Cowboys' offense and defense appear to be back on track after a close 20-17 win over the L.A. Chargers. Dallas looked better than they had in previous weeks, but what they had done wasn't anything spectacular.
Jalen Hurts has been inconsistent, and his play has people doubting the Eagles this year.
Longtime Dallas antagonist Stephen A. Smith was up next. He shocked everyone when he stated that he wasn't sure if the Birds were a better team than the Cowboys.
Smith's biggest concerns are familiar. Jalen Hurts' play has been average. He has turned the ball over at an alarming rate. Stephen A. also went so far as to say he wouldn't rank Hurts ahead of Dak Prescott this season based on how both guys have played... Ouch!
Stephen A. also mentioned that Philly's signal caller doesn't respond well to being pressured. Jalen is 3-7 in games where he has been pressured on more than 40% of his snaps.
So how do Hurts' numbers from Week 1 to Week 6 last season compare to what he has done in the same span of time this season?
Well, in some areas, things haven't changed much. Jalen's passing yards totals are similar to last year through six games. He has posted 1,476 passing yards so far this season. He racked up 1,431 yards during the first six games of 2022.
The one thing that has changed dramatically this year for Hurts is his interception total has skyrocketed. He had only thrown two through six games last year. He has already thrown seven in 2023. Just in case you're interested, five of the seven interceptions this year have come when Jalen wasn't facing any pressure.
Do not crown the Cowboys the Kings of the East just yet.
Before you give up, it's best to make a note of what Shannon Sharpe said. He pointed out that the Cowboys were 17th in total offense and the Birds ranked second.
One thing to think about is that there are five teams in the NFL with a 5-1 record, and none of them have looked consistently good through six weeks of play.
Here's something else to consider. If the Eagles are able to turn things around versus the Miami Dolphins on Sunday Night Football, the narratives will change, and the criticism will lesson.
It won't be easy. The Dolphins have already proven that they are a force to be reckoned with, but a Birds win will have the pundits singing their praises again.