After Sunday's 37-27 win against the Redskins, in which Miles Sanders
paced the offense with 172 yards and two scores, veteran players on the Philadelphia Eagles were casually comparing the rookie to some of the best running backs of the past decade.
According to ESPN.com's Tim McManus, left tackle Jason Peters thinks Sanders is a ringer for LeSean McCoy
"He is on that Shady level. He's smooth," Peters said. "He can catch, split him out, same as we did with Shady. He's going to be a good one."
Standout right guard Brandon Brooks, meanwhile, argued he's more like his former teammate in Houston, Arian Foster
"Arian at his peak, there was nothing he couldn't do: receive out of the backfield, making guys miss, taking the ball [the distance]. We ran a zone back then -- one cut downhill. He reminds me of him a lot," Brooks said.
Whatever comp you gravitate toward, the production can't be denied.
With all three of the Eagles' top receivers injured, and lead running back Jordan Howard
sidelined since Week 9 with a stinger, McManus believes Sanders is precisely the type of do-it-all player Philadelphia needed to emerge.
On Sunday, he played the role of lead back, rushing for 122 yards and a score, as well as the role of a reliable receiver, making six catches on as many targets for 50 yards, including a beauty of a third-quarter pass and catch with quarterback Carson Wentz
in the back of the end zone for a 15-yard TD.
That performance moved him past McCoy for most rushing yards as a rookie in franchise history (687) and ahead of DeSean Jackson
for most rookie all-purpose yards (1,120).
"This stuff doesn't feel real, but I don't want to make this about me," Sanders said. "It's great to be mentioned with those guys, to be in the same conversation as those guys, but I was focused on getting this 'W'. We know what we have at stake."
As McManus reminded readers, what's at stake is an NFC East title.
The Eagles need to beat the Dallas Cowboys at home Sunday to position themselves to claim the divisional crown. With Alshon Jeffery
and Jackson on injured reserve, and question marks continuing to surround the health of Howard and Nelson Agholor
, Sanders becomes a central figure in the season-ending drama.
Along those lines, it's worth noting that with Alshon Jeffery
on injured reserve and Agholor out, the Eagles' wide receiver snap shares were as follows against Washington on Sunday: JJ Arcega-Whiteside
92 percent, Greg Ward
77 percent, Robert Davis
With only three receivers active, Philadelphia went heavy on multiple tight end sets, and Sanders and fellow halfback Boston Scott
also saw the field together.
Over the last two weeks, Scott has a 15.7 percent share of the team's total targets. ESPN.com's Jim McCormick believes he could play an important role moving the chains for the Eagles this week. The Cowboys have yielded the ninth-most receptions to running backs this season.
Scott, after all, is 12th among all backs in fantasy points per game the past two weeks in ESPN PPR formats.
Last week, Ward was the only Eagles receiver with a catch (after a slow start, he ended up with a 7-61-1 receiving line). He has seen 18 targets in the last two games and last Sunday's was his first career touchdown.
Beyond that, ESPN's Al Zeidenfeld notes the Cowboys are allowing opponents to complete 74.3 percent of TE targets this season, tied with Arizona for the highest rate in the NFL. Zach Ertz
has seen double-digit targets in five of his past six games, due in no small part to all the injuries to the Eagles' WR corps.
Given all that, it's also worth noting that Wentz has thrown multiple TD passes in three straight games for the first time this season. Zeidenfeld believes Wentz should benefit from a spike in tempo against Dallas. The Eagles are 20th in pace, but the Cowboys rank fourth in