After two very mixed result pre-season games, many of us are vigorously arguing glass half full and glass half empty viewpoints of our outlooks for the Eagles. One argument that can be made is that the Eagles season will come down to the three games against the uncommon opponents of the Panthers, Bucs and Bengals.
Here's the thinking, (and it deliberately does not go chronologically): for fairly obvious reasons, it's not hard to see the Eagles beating the Browns and Cardinals and losing to the Ravens, 2 wins, 1 loss. It's also not hard to see the Eagles winning both games with the Redskins (they are not very good, RG3 is a rookie and the Eagles continue to match up well), 4-1. It's also not hard to see the Eagles splitting with the Giants, which tallies to 5-2. I wouldn't touch the games of Pittsburgh, Lions, Falcons and Saints with a 10 ft betting pole. I know they are 4 in a row, with a bye in between and that any of these teams can beat the Eagles. Can't see the Eagles sweeping that line up or not getting at least one win - besides they Eagles play well after a bye, but then again they gain no real advantage from two of those being at home...let's just call it 2-2 over that stretch and get out of that Area 51......so that would tally to 7 wins and 4 losses. It's hard to keep beating the Boys both games and I don't have the confidence in this team to give them both wins there, so i pencil in a split, for a 4-2 division record, probably can't reasonably expect more than that and that gets us to 8-5.
That brings us to the week 12, 14 and 15 games of Carolina, Tampa Bay and the Bengals. Well, well....ego suggests we take all 3, end up 11-5 and maybe win the division. BUT, these are exactly the type of games that the Eagles can struggle with. Panthers are at the Linc and on prime time....uh oh. Eagles bring out their best penalties in these home prime time games, and Cam Newton is for real. The Bengals made the playoffs last year but do they strike you as a team that has ever had any real consistency under Marvin Lewis? The Bucs, well, they'd have to improve a whole lot from last year, let's just say that. If the Eagles are truly going to do anything meaningful this year, they have to win 2 of these 3 games, if not all.
The Eagles will lose their fair share of games this year, no doubt. Any way I cut it, they lose 6 based on these factors 1) Vick will miss several games 2) our safeties are not good (there's 2 losses right there) 3) the post-JJ Eagles defenses have developed a nice habit of allowing 1st downs on 3rd and +10 yards 4) penalties, as usual 5) Marty's offenses struggle to have long time consuming drives when really needed or to run 2 minute offenses although admittedly both of these areas improved in recent years 6) better teams abound
I land at 10-6 with a Win in the first round if a favorable opponent and a Loss in the first round if not. The Giants, 49ers, Bears, Packers, Saints and Lions all present serious barriers on the road to the SB. This is not the AFC, where any team getting into the playoffs will have as good a shot as anyone else.
I'm really neither glass half full or empty but objectively, as much as I'm a homer, i just can't justify this team getting to the Super Bowl., though I'll root like hell and hope i'm wrong. I certainly was about the Giants last year.
On the other hand, I do see a real chance at another 8-8, it wouldn't take much for that to happen.
Okay, bring it. Just do me a favor and save "all this from two pre-season games?!" - it's not.
It's from loving this team so much that I follow them as close as anybody else and because, dammit, I"m going to have fun this season, no matter how many times Michael doesn't slide and DJack doesn't give his all and Kurt Coleman shows up late to the real action. Because for every one of those, Philip Hunt is going to hammer some quarterback, Shady is going to leave someone's jock on the field, Kendricks is going to compete for Defensive rookie of the year and DRC is going to have one helluva season!
So lighten up and just have some fun with our Eagles and the impossibility of knowing any of this!