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Is the worst already over for the Philadelphia Eagles?

Oct 1, 2013, 3:33 PM EDT


In case you’re still searching for silver linings from the Eagles’ 52-20 drubbing in Denver two days ago—their third consecutive loss, and looking increasingly less competitive with each passing week—well the good news is there actually are some reasons to remain upbeat.

Go ahead and scoff at the mere implication the sky isn’t falling. If the Birds handle the New York Giants this Sunday (possible), and the Dallas Cowboys fall to the Broncos (likely), Philadelphia would actually take over first place in the NFC East. Ah, the joys of playing in a weak division.

It gets better. Anybody who checked the schedule is no doubt already aware the Eagles’ slate is about to lighten significantly compared to the first four games. Their opponents thus far have combined to produce an 11-5 record, good for a winning percentage of .688. The next 12 are just 16-32 with a .334 percentage.

And although it’s impossible to predict where many of these teams could be sitting one month from now, even just the immediate future seems favorable. Three of the next four opponents (Tampa Bay, Giants x2) have yet to win so much as a game so far this season.

Let’s face it: the Eagles are a rebuilding team, and were completely outclassed by the Broncos in Week 4. They also lost to another of the league’s five remaining unbeatens in the Kansas City Chiefs, and even that defeat took a pile of unforced turnovers in order to essentially give the game away. Throw in a last-minute loss to the San Diego Chargers, and the Birds had actually been competitive in every game up until Sunday.

Philadelphia easily could be at least 2-2 right now, if not 3-1 had they not completely imploded against the Chiefs.

Now the next four weeks pose a golden opportunity to turn things around. The Giants have been absolutely hammered by injuries, and have allowed opponents to outscore them 69-7 the last two weeks. Tampa Bay has hitched its wagon to rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, a third-round pick who was abruptly promoted to starter last week.

Even the first-place Cowboys coming to town in three weeks—while a challenge—is not especially frightening. They’ve already lost San Diego and Kansas City as well, so we’ll see how much better they fare against Peyton Manning’s armada.

The Eagles’ schedule toughens up again down the stretch, but there are still clashes with Oakland, Washington, and Arizona leading up to then. Between now and Week 14, the only intimidating game on the schedule is a trip to Green Bay in November.

Do we expect the Eagles are going to beat all the teams they “should?” Probably not, given they look like one of those teams themselves based on the standings. True rebuilding teams usually don’t run into too many honestly lesser opponents—although some of these franchises are in pathetic shape.

The point is, it’s much too early to give up on this season much less this coaching staff after four games, three of which the Birds were against quality teams with established NFL quarterbacks. The Eagles will have the opportunity to prove where they stand in the pecking order of unfinished products around the league beginning this weekend. Who knows, a last-place schedule may yet propel this team to a run to an NFC East title.

Chip Kelly and his squad have a lot to work to do, but if they knock off Eli Manning and the G-men in New York this week, that could go a long way toward turning the momentum back in the Eagles’ favor.

  1. Kai - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Just glad we’re done with the AFC West. Holy cow that’s a strong division. Even Oakland will put up a fight.

    • willh888 - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:53 PM

      One of the worst divisions on the planet in any sport in the last 10 years. It’s about time they put out a few good teams

  2. fknboz - Oct 1, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Our schedule is getting easier. That’s all well and good. Hopefully we’ve been losing worse and worse because we’ve been facing better teams and not because defensive coordinators have figured out how to stop our offense.
    We knew about our defense coming in. If anything, I’m surprised how well they played against the chiefs. The Broncos are what they are.
    I’m still good with Chip. A couple better decisions by Vick and better execution by desean and we’re 3-1. But the fact remains our offense has regressed each week. That seems like a problem. Regardless of matchups or numbers, when the pocket collapses in 2 seconds to an injury plagued Denver defense, Vick is going to be forced to think fast and make a play. We all know this isn’t his strength. Neither has the eagles strength been its offensive line. Either the big guys up front give Vick more time or Vick makes defenses hurt with good decisions and his legs. Other than that, I see a long season ahead, easy schedule or not.

    • erzug - Oct 2, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      In today’s Daily News article by Marcus Hayes, none of the coaches are putting any of the blame on MV. Also, regarding Jackson’s numbers dropping like an elevator over the past couple of weeks, could he be a victims of better defenses and our O’line’s faltering against the pass rush (as you mentioned)?
      Certainly, Peters having three fingers on his right hand taped together impacted his ability to hold his opponent on the inside of his jersey.

  3. will - Oct 1, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    how dare you say they are rebuilding kulp. howie will have you know that the birds are merely retooling.

    • erzug - Oct 2, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      If they were rebuilding, would they have tried to make Trent Cole and Brandon Graham (remember him?) outside linebackers? I don’t think so. Only 4 games in and Cole, who is being utilized as a pass rusher primarily anyways, has only two sacks – none in the last two games.

      I would have thought that Vick would be out of action by now, but he is playing smarter this year by going down early on runs and getting out of bounds when he can, so that might not be a given.
      I still think that Barkley is Chip’s guy, eventually, and will be starting before the season is over.

  4. hitnrun - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    I’m not going to pass judgment on Chip until he has another offseason to replace Andy’s junk with some actual players at QB and the non-skill positions, even if the Eagles go 4-12 again.

    With that said, it would nice to see the team lose games because they’re overmatched rather than because they’re lost and confused, giving up multiple special team touchdowns, or leaving their defense on the field for 40 minutes.

    I think things will start looking clearer after the inevitable Vick injury.

  5. john - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    I don’t even WANT to win the NFC East. What’s the reward? A first round playoff loss? No one in this division is going anywhere, and they’ll still be weak next year. Get a decent draft pick and plan for that

    • sfsu - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:45 AM

      The reward is that you’re only a couple of team plane crashes away from a championship

      • Hiccup - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:43 AM

        You’re kidding, right?…

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