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Eagles to be tested in the next 3 weeks

So, what do we really know about the 3-2 Eagles after their 31-6 beatdown of the lowly New York Jets Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field? Well, we know the team is tied for first in the NFC East with Dallas. We know the Eagles have two consecutive wins. We know the offense is far ahead of the defense, although it was the D that led the way on Sunday.

Anything else?

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“Not much,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “We’re about to find out.”

That is truth. After taking care of business against the Jets, the Eagles immediately turned their attention to the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday’s opponents and the first of three straight road trips the Eagles will take to finish out the month of October. They say that November is when the playoff picture really takes shape in the NFL, and that’s true, but this October is going to tell us just about everything we need to know about your Philadelphia Eagles.

“It’s that time of the year,” defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said, “when you want to start playing your best football. We know how tough it’s going to be week to week from here on out. We’re a team that is going to get everyone’s best shot. So we have to bring our ‘A’ game, too. We just have to do it every week.”

The Eagles are anything but a finished product. Instead, they have played good football in fits and starts through five games, and yet they find themselves tied with Dallas atop the division with three great months of football ahead. The Eagles have scored a bunch of points, averaging 28.2 points per game through five weeks, and yet they’ve left so many other points on the field because they haven’t finished drives, or they’ve turned the football over or penalties have taken them out of harm’s way. Offense, it appears, isn’t the main concern.

Defense is.

“We need to raise our level of play, and I think that’s part of what happens when you have some pieces going in and out of the lineup,” safety Rodney McLeod said. “Defense is what wins in the NFL at the end of the day. I’m looking forward to seeing how we play in these next several games to see how we’re coming together as a unit.”

Can the pass rush stay alive, as it did against the Jets when the Eagles recorded a ridiculous 10 quarterback sacks? How about the takeaways, of which the Eagles had two on Sunday and all of a sudden have been ballhawks after a slow start to the season? Most significant, is there any hope that an injury-ravaged cornerback position can glue enough pieces together to make a formidable run as the weather turns nasty in the season?

Here’s the deal, gang: We’re going to find out. All of those preseason predictions on how great the Eagles would be? They’re out the window now. The Eagles are a 3-2 with road games at Minnesota, Dallas and Buffalo in front of them. Words don’t matter. The Eagles are in a show-me moment in this 2019 season, a time when their playoff chances are going to be much easier to decipher – one way or the other. ••

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