Two Directions

The Eagles are at a fork in the road.


They are in last place in the division.  But they are also +71 in point differential (Points for minus points against), which is 3rd in the league.


Obviously in general, the more points you score, and the fewer points you allow, the more games you will eventually win.


The 2007 Eagles, who had a +36 point differential, are the only team to end the year in 4th place in the division and have a positive point differential since the realignment of 2002.  The 2007 Texans finished -5 with a 4th place record, the 2006 Dolphins were -23 and in 4th, the 2005 Packers were -46 and in 4th, the 2004 Bucs were -3 and in 4th, the 2003 Bills were -16 and in 4th, the 2002 Bills were -18 and in 4th.   Those were the best 4th place teams in each of the past years. The vast majority of 4th place teams were really bad teams and finished closer to -100 in point differential.


The 2007 Eagles, with that flukey scoring record of +36 and 8-8 win-loss record, were 11th in the league in scoring differential.


This suggests strongly that one of two things is going to happen.  Either the Eagles are going to start losing a lot of games by more than a few points and so end up with a negative point differential, or they are going to start winning a lot of games and justifying their scoring record in the win column.


Frankly, I can't think of any teams that have gone from so high up in point differential so late in the season to a total collapse.  Even the infamous 1994 Eagles were just +42 after 10 games (with a 7-3 record), and +61 after 9 games with a 7-2 record.  So we are talking a more epic collapse than the brutal 1994 collapse.  On the other hand, the 2006 Eagles were +70 and 5-4 after 9 games.  They finished 10-6 of course, including overcoming the McNabb injury, and kept their +70 after overcoming the 42 point loss margin to the Titans and Colts in Weeks 11 and 12.


The other thing is the Eagles are on track to score well over 400 points.  The most mediocre 400 points teams of recent times by record were:

2007 Cardinals, at 402 points (+5 point differential) and an 8-8 record

2004 Vikings at 405 points  (+10 point differential) and an 8-8 record

2004 Chiefs at 483 points (+48 point differential) and a 7-9 record

2002 Chiefs at 467 points (+68 point differential) and a 8-8 record

1999 Panthers at  421 points (+40 point differential) and an 8-8 record

1995 Vikings at 412 points (+27 point differential) and an 8-8 record


No team has scored over 400 points and ended up with a negative point differential.  And the 2004 Chiefs are the only ones to ever score over 400 points and not win 8 games.


For the Eagles to end up like those teams at around 8-8, 400+ points scored, with a +10 to +40 point differential, we'd have to finish up 3-3, score 140+ points on offense, and allow 170+ points on defense.  In other words, we'd have to watch offensive production drop by up to 3 points per game, and watch the defense start to give up at least 9 more points per game, going from 19 points per game to a minimum of 28 points per game and possibly as many as 34 points per game.


Does anyone here foresee the defense collapsing like this?  Or the offense regressing?  Its actually been going the opposite way.


First 5 games, offense 25.4 points per game, defense 19.4 points per game.  Last five games, offense 27.4 points per game, defense 19.2 points per game.  Anyone besides me want to hazard a guess that the next 5 games will see the Eagles score at least 26+ points per game on offense and allow 19 points per game on defense?  And won't that probably mean we are going to have a winning record over those 5 games?  It would be hard to lose 3 or 4 games and still come out with a +35 or more additional scoring differential.  We did go 2-3 to start the season, and +30 in scoring thanks to playing the Rams, but there aren't anymore Rams on our schedule.


So we are either in for one of the most epic collapses in the history of the NFL, a collapse that will involve the entire team - offense and defense, or much more likely I think, a great comeback year like 2006, 2003, 2000, 1991, 1989, 1988, and 1979.