What a difference a couple of weeks makes. When last we spoke the Eagles were flailing in the basement at 2-3 with little-to-no hope on the horizon, a wounded franchise RB and more questions than answers. Now, they're back in the thick of things with a favorable schedule ahead of them. How did it happen? Well, I'd love to tell you it came through hard work and dominant football, but the truth is, a lot of it was luck and we really only saw maybe 3 quarters of solid football from the Birds over that the past two games. Still, two wins are two wins, and maybe this is the year that the lucky wins outweigh the lucky losses.
After the jump we'll do the usual. See where the Birds are now, and what they have to do to get where we want them to go.
|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||Win, 40-26||3-3|
|10||New York Giants||--||--|
|14||@ New York Giants||--||--|
Before we go any further, let's take an honest look at what's happened so far. The Eagles have 4 wins against teams with a combined record of 13-15, they have 3 losses against teams with a combined record of 15-8. They've outscored their opponents 194 to 137, a margin of 54 points, third best in the NFL, trailing only the Giants and the undefeated Titans. All three of their losses can be traced back to a play or two, which if you win those games is the sign of a good team, if you lose, them well, it's the sign of a team with a bunch of excuses.
When you look at the remaining schedule, it's easy to point at 5 games as wins, or at least games that should be wins: @ Seattle, @ Cincinatti, @ Baltimore, Arizona and Cleveland. That leaves the four conference games to define the season, if all goes according to plan. Of course, 3 of those should-be-wins are on the road, so who knows. Still, let's assume the Eagles don't cough one up they really should win. That puts the win total at 9. If they can split the remaining conference games and sweep the weaker teams, that's 11 wins. That's do-able. For every one of those winable games that isn't, another game needs to be made up in the division.
Let's zoom in a little bit, though. The NFC East has come back down to Earth over the past couple of weeks. The Giants lost to the Browns, the Rams beat both the Redskins and the Cowboys (who have completely regressed without Romo). It's a tight division, but the Eagles are still at the bottom, a half game behind the Cowboys. The good news is that the Eagles control their own destiny. Sweep the schedule and they win the East. The odds of that happening aren't great though.
What's a realistic prediction at this point, 10-6? A 6-3 finish from here on out. I think that's fair. If they play up to their abilities and keep Brian Westbrook, that should be a slam dunk. The only problem is this team hasn't really played up to their abilities since week 1. There are so many problems, starting with their playcalling, ending with thier kicker, that I'm not sure you can bank on anything.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves, standing between the Eagles and a 5-3 record is the Seneca Wallace-led Seattle Seahawks this Sunday in Seattle. The Hags are 2-5, coming off a win against the Niners. I'd like to see a big win. The type of win where you can rest McNabb and Westbrook for the 4th quarter. There's no reason they shouldn't dominate like this against this team, let's just get it done, huh?