PHILADELPHIA – Before they pack their bags for a two-week trip to the West Coast and three straight games on the road, the Philadelphia Eagles could already be NFC East champions.
How they fare away from home will determine whether they stay home in January.
Carson Wentz tossed three touchdown passes and the NFL-leading Eagles dominated the Chicago Bears 31-3 Sunday for their ninth straight win and fourth in a row by at least 23 points.
The Eagles (10-1) reduced their magic number to clinch the NFC East to one and would secure their first division title since 2013 if the Cowboys (5-6) lose or tie Washington on Thursday night.
That’s the first step. Securing home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs is the bigger goal.
“The next couple weeks, we have our work cut out,” Wentz said. “Those are good football teams ahead of us. The next three on the road will be a good challenge. It was good to get this home win before we head into that.”
The Eagles play at Seattle next Sunday night and will stay out West to practice in California before facing the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 10. They play at the New York Giants in Week 15 and return home against Oakland on Christmas night.
“We have a unique set of challenges coming up,” coach Doug Pederson said of the trip. “It’s just one week at a time, one game at a time. That’s what this team has embraced all season long. They are going to be prepared and ready to go up there.”
Here’s some things we learned from Philadelphia’s rout over Chicago (3-8):
ZACH ATTACK: Zach Ertz caught 10 passes for 103 yards and one TD to become the first player to surpass 100 yards receiving for the Eagles this season. Ertz leads the team with 55 receptions for 639 yards and his seven TD catches are tied with Alshon Jeffery.
“It just shows you how unselfish this team is,” Pederson said. “The fact that it’s not all about one guy. It’s everybody. Everybody’s making plays on offense. The fact that we’re spreading the ball around and everybody’s involved and we’re still being efficient on offense is a tribute to the way these guys work and practice each week.”
Ertz was on the sideline with most of the regulars before going in the game on third down to make his final catch on a pass from Nick Foles.
“It shows how close these guys are, how much we truly care about one another,” Ertz said. “Everyone is happy for the other man’s success. I think that’s a testament to this team.”
GROUND AND POUND: LeGarrette Blount ran for 97 yards, Jay Ajayi had a 30-yard run that ended with Nelson Agholor recovering his fumble in the end zone for a TD, and the Eagles racked up 176 yards rushing. Meanwhile, Philly’s defense held the Bears to just 6 yards rushing. Jordan Howard, who entered leading the NFC with 841 yards rushing, had 6 on seven carries.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.