With a couple of days to put some perspective on the Chicago loss, I can't help but feeling that this loss is going to be one we look back on in late December. This is going to be that one game that makes you cringe every time you think about it. One loss is going to be the difference between making the playoffs or missing them, winning the division or losing it, home-field advantage or opening on the road. The thing that's going to define this season is whether this is the only one, or if there are more to follow.
After the jump we'll talk about the season so far, the upcoming schedule and some general thoughts on the team.
|1||St. Louis||Win, 38-3||1-0|
|2||@ Dallas||Loss, 41-37||1-1|
|4||@ Chicago||Loss, 24-20||2-2|
|6||@ San Francisco||--||--|
|10||New York Giants||--||--|
|14||@ New York Giants||--||--|
I was talking football with Mike from Green Pinstripes
the other day and we wound up lamenting the Giants' overtime win over Cincinnati in week 3. If you missed the game, the Bengals had every chance to knock off the Giants, in the Swamp, in regulation. That game should've been a loss for the Giants. Mike made the point, "Good teams find ways to win games like that."
Now, I'm not sure the Giants are a particularly good team. I'd like to see them play someone with a pulse before I crown their ass, but that's not my point here. The point is, while good teams seem to find ways to win those games, the inverse is also true. Bad teams find ways to lose games they should have won. Which immediately brought me back to the Eagles. We've seen two road games so far, two winnable games against a good team and a decent team. Both of them could have easily been wins. The Cowboys wouldn't have scored 41 points if Jim Johnson had kept the pressure on Romo the entire game, instead of going to a bend-but-don't-break coverage scheme and allowing the 'Boys to dink-and-dunk their way right down the field. The Eagles' O was scoring at will. It really should have been a win, but the Eagles found a way to lose.
Last week, you can point to so many plays as being the difference. If Akers makes one of the field goals he missed, the Eagles win the game 26-24 (they would've kicked the FG instead of going for it on 4th and goal from the 1). If DeSean Jackson doesn't muff the punt, they win. If McNabb and DeSean are on the same page and McNabb doesn't overthrow that ball for an INT, the Eagles win. If any one of those four plays goes the other way, the Eagles win. So many blown opportunities. Look at the schedule from last season, 6 of the Eagles 8 losses fell into this exact same category.
Which brings me full circle to my question. Are the Eagles a bad team? Maybe they're just snakebit. Maybe it's the Westbrook injury (although he was in there against the Cowboys). Maybe it's bad luck. However you slice it, though, if you believe that bad teams find ways to lose close games, then you've got plenty of evidence to suggest that the Eagles aren't a good team. Maybe it would be more accurate to say they aren't a clutch team. Whatever the cause, they need to fix this problem quickly. They need to find a way to win these games now, build up the confidence that if the game is close late, they will pull it out.
There's still no definitive word on Westbrook's status for Sunday's game against the Redskins. While the questions I posed above are difficult to answer, I think it's safe to say that this offense is bad when #36 isn't on the field. They need him back.
The Eagles really need to find a way to take this game against the Skins, follow it up with a win at San Francisco and head into the bye week with a 4-2 record. This division is going to be very, very tough. 3-3 wouldn't be insurmountable. 2-4 and you've put yourself in the situation where you have to finish 9-1 to have a shot at the division.