For all the talk of how the defense has failed to meet expectations in Philadelphia, the stat that most clearly separates their good and bad games is offensive turnovers. In their three wins, the Eagles' offense has turned the ball over just three times. In their four losses, they've given the ball away 14 times. Their offense has recovered six of their 12 fumbles, which is average, but it's been distributed irregularly; they recovered all three of their fumbles against the Giants and both fumbles against the Cowboys last week, but just one of the other seven fumbles in their other five games. It's a shame, too, because teams just don't stop the Eagles on offense, as no team in football has punted less frequently. On the other hand, only the Chargers have turned the ball over more frequently. If Philly solves the turnover problem, they make the playoffs. If not, they don't. It's that simple.
New York Giants
We forget to see this coming every season with the Giants; we get distracted by something and forget that the Giants are known for their second-half disasters. Since 2006, the Giants are 30-10 in the first half of the regular season and 18-22 in the second half. Their pass defense has declined in four of those five seasons, but the biggest reason why is usually that their schedule gets much tougher. 2011 is no exception. Their narrow victory over the Dolphins last week was the final pushover left on their schedule, as the Giants now have a home-and-home left with the Cowboys, home games against the Eagles and Redskins, and this absurd out-of-division slate: Patriots, 49ers, Saints, Packers, Jets. You know how newspapers prepare obituaries for aging public figures before they pass away? I am guessing the New York Post already has its op-ed pieces about the Giants quitting on Tom Coughlin written. It would be a great shock if the Giants were still in first place on Christmas Day.