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How Good Can the Eagles Be In 2014?

This feature is a weekly piece on titled From The Eagles, featuring Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. The intention is to provide a perspective directly from the Philadelphia Eagles in this forum for the great fans who visit BGN.

OK, so they're 5-1 and the tone has changed out there from "They are lucky to be 4-1" to "They are only two yards away (against San Francisco) from being 6-0." That's how much impact the 27-0 win on Sunday night over the Giants had regarding the opinion the media and some fans have about the Eagles.

If you're only as good as your record, then the Eagles are really good. They've carved out five wins in six games and have overcome some inconsistencies and some injuries to reach the bye week tied for first place in the NFC East.

And instead of looking back, we look forward with this question: How good can the Eagles be this season? Are they legitimate contenders for a deep playoff run?

"All you have to do is watch the playoffs, and it really does come down to who gets hot late. And if you had to say, 'Alright, which team in the NFL right now would you pick out and say, this team is likely to be a lot better at the end of the year than where they are now, I think it has to be Philadelphia,' " said NBC's Cris Collinsworth last week, prior to the win over the Giants. "They have injuries along the offensive line and they're going to get those players (left guard Evan Mathis, center Jason Kelce) back, defenses aren't going to hold down (running back) LeSean McCoy the way he's been held down so far, and defensively they've been playing without (linebacker) Mychal Kendricks, who has been Mr. Sunday Night Football. He's been unbelievable on Sunday Night Football. This is going to be an interesting team.

"They are really dangerous. When they get their players back and get everyone into shape and on the same page, could look like a completely different team than they look now."

The Eagles are taking this thing one day at a time - Win the day!, remember? - but we've got some dead time to think about the rest of the season. Health is a huge factor going down the stretch, so if the Eagles can get Mathis and Kelce back in mid-November and keep the rest of the offensive line intact, that group should be very good in the final weeks of the season. And if the offensive line is good, McCoy is great and if McCoy is great, the play-action passing game functions and if the play-action game functions then this offense will be extremely difficult to stop.

Of course, the Eagles have to display better ball security - they are currently minus-5 in the turnover ratio department - and the red-zone offense much improve (they rank 29th in the league in touchdown percentage). Quarterback Nick Foles has to make great decisions and display patience in big moments. His high turnover rate this season is statistically abnormal compared to his first two seasons when Foles threw only 7 interceptions in 582 pass attempts and lost five fumbles in 20 games. A return to normal for Foles is great tonic for the offense.

The defense is making strides, as evidenced by the domination on Sunday night. The pass rush has picked up in a big way, and that's really the key for the season moving forward. Look for coordinator Bill Davis to remain aggressive with his pressure packages and rely on his defensive backfield to play confidently in coverage. The Eagles will give up some plays, because that's the nature of the NFL these days, but they'll have more takeaways and more sacks and will be prepared for the physical nature of the postseason.

Special teams? Already the best in the league, so if the Eagles can stay healthy there - will Darren Sproles miss the game in Arizona? - and if Cody Parkey continues to kick as he has, then the Eagles will win field position battles every week and maybe even sway a game or two in December and January.

Yes, then, the Eagles are good enough to make a deep run. It's far, far down the road. So many things are going to happen between now and January. But the Eagles have the goods to be a force in the postseason. The pieces are here. The season is going to be a joy to watch, right to the very finish.

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