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3 reasons the Eagles could upset the Denver Broncos on Sunday

Sep 27, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT


Somewhat lost amid all of the hoopla over the buzzsaw known as Peyton Manning is the fact that the Eagles are an NFL team with a chance to win a football game this Sunday. Sure, you hear a few people touting this idea, but it sure seems like most are chalking this up as a loss already.

To be fair, the Birds probably will lose. The Denver Broncos have been nearly perfect through their first three games, and the firepower in that offense is unreal. The person who figures out how to contain Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas and those running backs with Peyton Manning at the helm should instantly win some kind of lifetime achievement award.

The Eagles could go into Denver and get absolutely steamrolled and not one person would be caught off guard by that. The Broncos are 11-point favorites, and it’s probably safe to say we’re all prepared for the worst on some level.

But as the old cliché goes, that’s why they play the game. If you don’t think the Eagles have even a remote chance of pulling off the upset over Manning this week, well that’s your opinion, but it’s not one I happen to agree with. There are actually some relatively important details working in their favor going in to this encounter. Whether or not it’s anything that can swing the outcome remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t rule out any of this stuff coming into play.

Extra Rest/Short Week

As much as nobody wants to hear Peyton whining about the schedule after Philadelphia just played three games in 11 days, he has a point. The fact that the Eagles have 10 days between games and the Broncos have a short week with only six creates a significant advantage for the Birds.

For one, the Eagles should be a little less beat up than their opponent. Their players have nearly twice as much time to rest up, so at least in theory Philly should be the fresher ream.

What really seems to have Manning concerned though is the extra time the Eagles have to prepare. They already own the NFL’s second-ranked offense to begin with, and now Chip Kelly spent last weekend in his laboratory coming up with all sorts of ways to attack Denver’s defense. Oh yeah, I suppose defensive coordinator Bill Davis might benefit from the additional time to work on the game plan as well.

If this stuff didn’t make a difference, nobody would be talking about, least of all the opposing team’s quarterback. The players still have to go out and execute on Sunday, but their bodies should be ready, and the coaches able to put them in optimal positions to come away victorious.


The only injury that’s prevented anybody from practicing for the Eagles this week is Patrick Chung, who is dealing with a shoulder contusion and is listed as doubtful. Assuming he can’t go, rookie Earl Wolff will likely make his first career start, which is a little scary given the opponent.

That said, Denver’s injury report reads like a novel these days, and the climax is in the secondary. Seven-time All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey has yet to suit up this season, and is still limited in practice by a foot injury – even if he is active, he could be rusty. Bailey’s backup Tony Carter is dealing with an ankle himself and was limited this week. And at safety, starter Duke Ihenacho had not practiced at all as of Thursday.

Add in the suspension to outside linebacker Von Miller – the club’s most dangerous pass rusher – and you have a defense that very well could be vulnerable on Sunday.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball the Broncos lost left tackle Ryan Clady for the season last week. Any Eagles fan can tell you how difficult that is to overcome.

Other than Miller and Clady, we’ll have to wait and see who’s playing and who isn’t, but the real upset here would be if all three of those defensive backs returned in time for the game and looked their sharpest. Maybe the Broncos have people who can step up in a pinch, but it’s hard to imagine any team can be that deep. These injuries could potentially create a huge advantage for the Birds’ offense.

Offense Can Hang With Anybody

Not that the Eagles necessarily needed those other advantages, although they help of course. Yeah, Manning is great, but Philadelphia’s offense is right behind Denver’s in the rankings – they’re one and two.

The only thing that’s stopped the Eagles so far this season is the Eagles. In Washington, they took their foot off the gas pedal too early. Against San Diego, dumb penalties and lack of execution prevented them from running up the score. Versus Kansas City, it was entirely too many unforced turnovers.

You’re not going to get away with much of that against the Broncos, but even with all of that going wrong for the Birds, again, they have the second-ranked offense in the NFL – eighth-highest scoring offense. Theoretically, they should be able to run with almost anybody.

It’s very possible the Eagles will have to score upwards of 40 points to have a chance to win on Sunday, but it’s not an implausible number. They probably could have done that in Weeks 1 and 2 with the most minor of tweaks. Now they have a Denver defense on a short week with a bunch of injuries, and you’ve got to think Chip has something up his sleeve with the extra days to prepare.

For the Eagles to have any shot at winning on Sunday, they’ll likely need a perfect storm of sorts. The offense can’t leave a bunch of plays on the field, and Peyton Manning can’t go all 158.3 on them which seems like a real possibility with their defense.

That said, I think there’s enough here to feel somewhat upbeat about the Birds’ chances on Sunday. I’m not bold enough to predict a Birds victory based on this, but I doubt it would even be the most shocking thing that happens in the NFL this weekend.

  1. 5 will always love you - Sep 27, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Shady goes for 202 rushing yards and 3 tds, 2 rushing 1 receiving.

    • Nive - Sep 27, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      Nice but can the D hold Peyton to under 450 yds and 5 TDs?

      • 5 will always love you - Sep 27, 2013 at 4:12 PM

        Probably not, but I’m thinking Charlie Garner and the Eagles upsetting the 49ers in San Fran years ago. haha

      • Ron - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:43 PM

        I was at that game. It was Rich Kotite’s final year as head coach of the Eagles. But if I remember correctly the following week Philly got their butt handed to them by the Cowboys And the 49ers went on to win the Superbowl that year.

    • Frank - Sep 28, 2013 at 9:05 AM


      No way Peyton loses to the turnover machine Vick.

      • sfsu - Sep 28, 2013 at 9:20 AM

        Then bet the game

    • BRYAN - Sep 28, 2013 at 6:46 PM

      Anyone remember the Movie and the saying “Any given Sunday”? They still happen!!

  2. willh888 - Sep 27, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    It’s the Eli Rule. Anything can happen in the NFL. Highly unlikely, yet possible.

    • deanyorgey - Sep 28, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      The Bronco’s don’t have to travel to the game so the airplane has no way of crashing…Bronco’s by 15

  3. Deepwater805 - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    One reason why Andrew Kulp is high on crack: this article…..

    • clubberlangphila - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:40 AM

      i agree, kulp makes some good points in a terrible way. i’m thinking he’s on dope, not crack. this post is riddled with grammatical errors, run-on sentences, fragments, incomplete thoughts, and bad punctuation. its been getting worse recently. step it up, level.

      birds win 40-38

      • luvwknd - Sep 28, 2013 at 7:04 AM

        clubberlangphila, you bash kulp then stick your own foot in your mouth with a STUPID prediction like Philly actually winning a game at Mile-High! Which is “Highly-Unlikely” (no pun intended)
        Broncos win 42-17

      • clubberlangphila - Sep 28, 2013 at 6:28 PM

        @luvwknd watch, kelly’s eagles are coming to mile high to make glue. having 3 games in 11 days is both a gift and a curse, gotta love the 10 days to refresh and prepare for the toughest game of the season. i think kelly’s eagles are right on track. i’ll stick with my prediction. vick’s won at lambeu in the playoffs. we just need to keep pace and not turn the ball over.

        as far as kulp goes, i’ve read better stuff of his. he makes solid points, just encouraging him to pay more attention/edit his prose.

  4. Ajit - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Anyone can be beat any time. Remember when the eagles with AJ feely in 2007 nearly upset the undefeated Pats?

    IT can HAPPEN. But, its going to be a very very tough task. The defense really is completely overmatched and the offense is too error prone. That might be acceptable against the chiefs most nights, but giving the broncos offense extra possessions leaves you with no chance. Ultimately, this game will rest on how well eagles function offensively. If they can kill the clock(something Kelly isn’t a fan of), they have a chance. Doubt it works.

  5. sean - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:08 PM

  6. Jim Mueller - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Best chance for the Eagles is to convince Peyton to go out for pizza tomorrow night.

  7. dd - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    But the Eagles have a running QB! He runs when he is in trouble, He will be injured. He will lose the game. Dumb QBs are loved by the opposition. NFL defenses love to get their hands on an ignorant QB.

  8. kansas bob - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    This is the NFL, anyone can upset anyone else on a given weekend!

  9. WhatAJoke - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    If you think Philly is going into Denver and going to win you’re a crackhead. Denver’s going to put up 42 @ minimum and Vick will become Vick and Jackson will stumble against a Denver D that doesn’t have champ on the field. Your best bet is Avant…but let’s get real. It’s Avant. Shady Mc Ploy runs for less than 100 w/ 1TD…that ain’t going to win it ladies. Should have kept Andy. That Duck is going to run you into the ground.

    • hitnrun - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:36 AM

      Avant and Andy Reid? No love for Riley Cooper or words of praise for Jim Washburn?

    • willh888 - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:54 AM

      Shady McPloy. Extra point no good. Try again

    • sfsu - Sep 28, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      Then bet the game

    • jay - Sep 28, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      should have kept andy? What the hell does jason avant or andy reids fat ass have to do with this game? the only thing that matters is Peyton vs our secondary!! let me rephrase…petyon vs our borderline high school level safteys

  10. Jason R. - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:51 AM

    Good god, people. Kulp finally writes an article that’s not about everything about the Eagles being horrible and half of you trolls poop all over it.

    There’s a chance the Eagles win 41-38 and Kulp gave you three reasons why, Jesus. We all want to hope, he quantified it AND hedged it with “the only thing that’s stopped the Eagles is the Eagles”.

    Don’t worry, I’m sure there’s a “567 Reasons Why The Eagles Will Lose” article you can find.


    • JAMES FROM INDY MISSING MANNING - Sep 28, 2013 at 3:02 PM


  11. Hoka Hey - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:57 AM

    !) Peyton was not whining — but the Eagles need the extra time and they are going to need the exra rest because at altitude when you run the high speed offense you are going to need extra fuel in the tank.
    2) Injuries — Denver is basically putting the same team on the field as they had last week and the eagles are rated near the bottom in pass defense.
    3) The offense hasn’t hung with any offense They lost by 10 to the chiefs, beat the 0-3 Washington, and lost to the Chargers.
    GO BRONCOS!!!!

    • sfsu - Sep 28, 2013 at 9:17 AM

      So if the Broncos played below sea level, Peyton wouldn’t have been whining?

      • sfsu - Sep 28, 2013 at 9:18 AM

        Would have*

    • JEZ - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:04 AM

      You people are such simpletons. It’s week 4 of the season and everyone is going nuts over Peyton and the Broncos. This is the NFL not college or the NBA. The Broncos have weaknesses just like every other team and realistically the only decent team they played were the Ravens. The Giants and Raiders are horrible teams and will most likely be bottom feeders of the NFL.Even the so called “experts” are so quick to favor teams and sensationalize them when its almost always the hot team who scrapes by at the end holding the Lombardi Trophy. Season is young people sit back and watch.

  12. Joe - Sep 28, 2013 at 1:19 AM

    The Eagle’s main concern on Sunday should be taking notes and recovering from the loss putting them at 1-3. The Eagle’s offense may be fast, but Peyton is a surgeon at picking apart defenses.

  13. ben leonard - Sep 28, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    The eagle O rhythm will startle the NFL

  14. eagle for life - Sep 28, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    one hard hit on manning Denver is through. their backup has not taken any snaps in training camp. or in practice. Manning gets hurt bronco’s are through. better hope that doesn’t happen . 35 – 28 EAGLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • sfsu - Sep 28, 2013 at 9:16 AM


  15. roddo269 - Sep 28, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    cant root for a dog molester vick s a loser

    • ben - Sep 28, 2013 at 2:35 AM

      Roddo, Vick paid the price, now you have become a Vick molester.
      Is that really what you want?

      Breeze, you may be right, broncos may run Eagles ragged. But consider this…the game is yet to be played and the Eagle O has not yet reached the level the Broncos will face Sunday

    • Matt S. - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      Dog molester? Really…

  16. breezebebe - Sep 28, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    I may use HTML tags for style?

    How about you not requesting so much info just to comment?

    How scared are you Eagles fans, any hoot? See what I did there?

    Prepare do be embarrassed yet again. Good thing it’s only a late afternoon game.
    Nothing primetime.

    • sfsu - Sep 28, 2013 at 9:14 AM

      Then bet the game

  17. Chris McKay - Sep 28, 2013 at 7:02 AM

    Three reasons why the Eagles have no chance in this one: 1). Michael Vick, 2). Michael Vick, and 3). Michael Vick. He turns the ball over 3 times at least. Denver will win by 30.

    • sfsu - Sep 28, 2013 at 8:55 AM

      Then bet the game

    • Mike - Sep 28, 2013 at 6:54 PM

      I am an avid Eagle Fan and root for them no matter what. Having said that:

      1. Manning is one of the best at picking apart defenses as terrible as the Eagles
      2. I dig Vicks athletic ability but his penchant for turning over the ball so much frustrates the hell out of us.
      3. McCoy is a Beast and is a terror for defenses
      4. Eagles pass rush has sucked so far giving Manning way too much time to make the great decisions that he makes and especially against our weak secondary.
      5. Eagles have at least had a nice amount of time to recover and prep for this game…
      6. Eagles Tight Ends will be used more as receivers than blockers this game.

      All in all, a great game will be played…

      Final score Broncos 45 Eagles 41

  18. Frank - Sep 28, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    Vick will suck again, and throw dumb interceptions and fumbles, Peyton will thow four touchdowns.
    Drnver 45…Eagles 23.

    • sfsu - Sep 28, 2013 at 9:14 AM

      Then bet the game

  19. TONY T. - Sep 28, 2013 at 11:46 AM


  20. Matt S. - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    This escalated quickly.

  21. psudrozz - Sep 28, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    nice article kulp.

    i don’t think the eagles will win, but great points made.


  22. hitnrung - Sep 28, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    The problem with the otherwise perfectly plausible any-given-Sunday scenarios is that the Broncos defense has been absolutely bestial while the game is still in doubt. That more than the particular superlatives you can attach to Manning makes me wonder who can beat this team.

    I think that unit is the one that will make the difference. Chip Kelly’s offense has shown that it might be for real but it’s been far from fool-proof so far, and if the Denver D penetrates in the early quarters the way they have been, the shootout might be a pipe dream.

    • ben - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:17 AM

      My friends, you can watch survivir, bacherette, or any reality, yet, by far the real reality show is the NFL, live, big, skilled athletes, from all over the USA, are paid to wear the colors, represent a city and a region. The outcome is decided, not beforehand in secret meetings, not by blogs and commentators, beer commercals, or we fans.

      This contest will be decided by skilled competitors. Now, we get root for our team, our player, you the same. That, fans, is hope. No reality show does that for us.

      Go Eagles. Prove it.

  23. JMRA - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Reblogged this on Joe Montana's Right Arm.

  24. you were saying? - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    why would you even post this? they had no shot to upset the broncos. ever. not even a little bit.

    this entire team is awful. chip kelly will be back in college in about 3 years.

    this who blog is on the eagles’ dick for reasons i’ll never understand

    • ben - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:21 PM

      Your bronco executives…DUI’S; your best D player, banned, and your use of profinity, tell us all, broncos win on the scoreboard doesn’t make you a winner. Sad really, but a team does not make the man, you do.

  25. NJRob2012 - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    Turns out the one reason the Eagles didn’t have a chance: Skip Kelly’s offense stinks and Skip played scared. Case Closed.


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