Five takeaways after eight weeks of the NFL season

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    Dak Prescott's Dallas Cowboys should take out the NFC East this season. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)

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    We are just about at the halfway point of the NFL season. Here we take a look at some of the big talking points through eight weeks of the regular season.

    1. Eagles are the real deal
    After eight weeks, the Philadelphia Eagles sit alone at 7-1 as the only team without more than one loss this season. While you wouldn’t call their 40-0 rout over the hapless 49ers a statement of intent, we are not halfway through the regular season and this team is showing no signs of slowing down.

    Thumping a team you are meant to beat at home 33-10 was professional, rather than anything eye watering. The Eagles’ schedule is about to heat up with a tougher second half of the season; however, they appear to be playing extremely balanced and confident football.

    The Eagles are averaging over 29 points per game and conceding less than 20 points per game and, at plus 76 have the best differential in football. They have every right now to not only be looking for a playoff spot, but securing home field advantage in the playoffs.

    While the Eagles have won three National Championships, they have never won a Super Bowl since the merger in 1960, and their long-suffering fans might be sensing this team can do something special.

    2. Dallas are ready to pounce
    While the Cowboys trail the Eagles by 2.5 games in the NFC East, I expect them to really run them close for the Division crown.

    The sides are yet to meet this season, so if the Cowboys can win both their games against the Eagles, they will fancy themselves to retain their Division crown. The Cowboys are starting to really go through the gears, after hammering the 49ers on the road, before a big road win against Divisional rivals Washington.

    In both games, running back Ezekiel Elliott has pounded the ball up the middle for more than 140 yards on the ground. This has allowed the Cowboys to control time and possession, and made life easier for star young quarterback Dak Prescott to pick his moments.

    With an unreliable yet improving and opportunistic defence, the Cowboys, for mine, have the ability to challenge for the Super Bowl this year, after going 13-3 last year.

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) and Tony Romo (9) warm up

    (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)

    3. Deshaun Watson looks great
    It seems incomprehensible now that Bill O’Brien opted to start the season with Tom Savage at quarterback. Rookie Deshaun Watson has not only been better then Savage, he has looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in his rookie season. Watson put in a stunning performance against one of the best defences in the NFL on their own patch on Sunday as the Texans lost a wild game to the Seahawks 41-38.

    Watson became the only quarterback in the history of the game to throw for over 400 yards, had four touchdowns and over 50 rushing yards in the same game, in a dynamic display against the vaunted Seahawks.

    Watson now has an eye popping 19 touchdowns in just seven full games, and is on track to throw for over 3500 yards. I think everyone expected Watson to be exciting and make some big plays, but it’s been his composure and leadership which has astounded many. How teams like the Browns and 49ers passed on Watson in the draft gets more baffling by the day.

    4. Denver are going nowhere with Trevor Siemian
    It’s very very difficult to get by in the NFL with a below average quarterback, no matter how strong or vaunted your defence might be.

    The Broncos are finding that out the hard way over the past 18 months, as they go from Super Bowl Champions to being on the verge of missing the playoffs for two years in a row. While their defence was the primary reason they won Super Bowl 50, they still had a canny and efficient veteran in Peyton Manning leading their offence, even if he was in decline.

    Siemian was terrible against the Chiefs, throwing three ugly interceptions as the Broncos slumped to their fourth straight loss to drop to 3-4 and on the verge of being irrelevant. Siemian now has ten interceptions to nine touchdowns this season, and is throwing for little more than 200 yards per game.

    John Elway has been lauded for the job he has done as the Broncos’ General Manager, however his next big job is to find a franchise quarterback, as there are none currently on the Broncos’ roster.

    5. Oakland are done and dusted at 3-5
    The Raiders came into the season with Super Bowl expectations, however have arguably been the most disappointing side in the NFL through the first half of the season. The facts for Oakland are despite going 12-4 last season, they played nothing like a 12-4 team.

    Last year, they had seven fourth quarter comeback wins, orchestrated by Derek Carr, and won every single close game they were involved in. They had to improve this season to get even close to that record, and they have not.

    Their defence is awful, and they are the first team since 1950 to not have an interception through eight games. Their offense, which was dynamic last year, suddenly can’t run the football and are not throwing the ball down the field.

    With a tough second half schedule, including games against New England, Dallas and another round against their AFC West Rivals, I can’t see Oakland getting more than 6-7 wins, which would be a flat out failure for this team.

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