Halfway between weeks three and four, the long view for the Eagles is muddled. The defense has looked like the best in the league (against Pittsburgh) and the worst (against Dallas). The offense looked unstoppable for the first nine quarters of the season, then everything changed.
Don't let the final score from Sunday fool you, the Eagles opened the game moving the ball with ease. On their first three drives the Eagles ran 29 plays for a total of 161 yards and put 10 points on the board. Those numbers would've been higher if not for Tony Hunt's fumble on the first drive. In their final 10 drives they ran 36 plays for a total of 82 yards, scored 3 points (on a 5-yard drive), turned the ball over twice and punted 5 times.
It's not hard to figure out why the offense ran into a wall.(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
After the jump we'll take a look at the schedule and try to quantify what Westbrook's injury could mean from here on out.
|1||St. Louis||Win, 38-3||1-0|
|2||@ Dallas||Loss, 41-37||1-1|
|6||@ San Francisco||--||--|
|10||New York Giants||--||--|
|14||@ New York Giants||--||--|
The obvious question first: How long will Westbrook be out? According to him, he's going to do everything he can to be on the field this Sunday. He also said it was like a high-ankle sprain. If that's an accurate assessment, I think it's unlikely that he'll be on the field in Chicago.
So the next question: Can the Eagles beat the Bears without him? Well, if Brian Griese can throw for 407 yards against the Bears defense, the Eagles should not have a problem moving the ball. If the Eagles defense can hold Steven Jackson, Marion Barber and Willie Parker to 123 yards on 45 carries (2.73 yards/carry) over the first three games, the Eagles should not have a problem shutting down the Bears' running game. If you shut down the Bears running game that means Kyle Orton has to beat you. I just don't see that happening.
Long story short, the Eagles should be able to win this game with or without Brian Westbrook. I have two huge concerns with the Westbrook injury. The first being that he rushes back before he's 100%, it never really heals and he lacks explosiveness the rest of the season, or he makes the injury worse. The second concern is that the Eagles don't want to push it, and keep him on the shelf for the next three weeks, then let him rest over the bye week, and we don't see him again until week 8 vs. Atlanta.
The biggest story of the season is Westbrook's ankle, if he makes a miraculous recovery, I can very easily see them heading into their week 10 matchup against the Giants at 7-1, if the injury lingers all bets are off.
My game preview will be up on Friday and I may even swap some words with our resident Bears blogger, Ricky from Tremendous Upside Potential