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The Eagles need Sam Bradford more than he needs them

Bradford and the Eagles haven't been the happiest of marriages.

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Each week Patrick someone and Dave discuss the week that was and will be. It's Two Guys Internetting Football!

Dave: Hey Brandon. (Patrick is out with an injury.) Don't go all Sanchez on me filing in. Never go full Sanchez.

Anyway, I must admit I am not not at all looking forward to Sunday night's game against the Cardinals. One, because Arizona is really, really good. They have one of the best offenses in the league, one of the best defenses in the league, and they're well coached. That's obviously a great combination. And two, because the Eagles are really, really inconsistent. The upside to being so inconsistent is that it's actually more likely a team pulls off an upset, such as the Patriots game, but the downside is there's a good chance of getting blown out, such as Tampa and Detroit. So maybe the Eagles are due another upset to even things out? It wouldn't be the first time this season the Cardinals lost in an upset, their first loss came against the Rams, at home. With 17 of the Rams points coming off of defensive and special teams turnovers, which is the Eagles recipe for a big win. To borrow a phrase from Patrick, what say you BLG?

Brandon: Glad to be here. No need to worry about me going Mark Sanchez on you here. I’m more of a G.J. Kinne in this situation. Just a guy who has always been waiting for this great opportunity but was never given the chance … until now. Or a guy who has always been waiting to compare himself to the GOAT, G.J. Kinne. Either way.

This is a bit of a weird game since the Eagles don’t really need to win. Wins over the Redskins and Giants will allow the Eagles to clinch the NFC East, so this game might be more about style points. The midnightgreen Birds have won two games in a row. How will they look against a red Birds team that’s really, really good? Oh, wait, you just asked me that. Yeah, it’s hard to know what to expect from this Eagles team. My best guess is that they’re able to build off some of the momentum we’ve seen in recent weeks. The defense has returned to playing at a high level after being downright despicable against the Bucs and Lions. I trust them to keep the game respectable, at least. I’m more curious to see what the offense can do. There’s been a lot of talk about Sam Bradford has improved recently, but he’s still not exactly lighting the world on fire.

What do you make of Bradford’s recent performance and all the talk of a potential contract extension?

Dave: GJ Kinne! I should have known. That they don't need to win does make this game feel strange. It's a little like the Bears game in 2013, another December Sunday Night Football game that they didn't need to win to make the playoffs. Maybe that lack of pressure let them play extremely relaxed and was a reason why they blew the doors off the Bears that night. Here's hoping it was and history repeats itself.

As for Bradford, we're sort of back to where we were in the off-season, where we are projecting what we want Bradford to be. (Side note, one of the characters in Luther just referenced My Wife and My Mother In Law. The synchronicity of life is too much sometimes.) I don't think Bradford has played well, especially in the last two games. He's got a 59.8 completion percentage and 5.9 yards per attempt in those games, which is an awful combination. To the eye, he hasn't been more accurate and hasn't been a better or quicker decision maker from earlier in the season.

People are pointing to him being 6-2 in his last 8 he finished. Well, record was a defense of Nick Foles when they traded him, and that hasn't carried over in St. Louis, because assigning a record to a player is really bad logic. Alex Smith is 7-1 in his last 8, so by that logic he must be even better. And Bradford has thrown just 11 touchdowns in those 8 games. In his favor he hasn't turned the ball over, which is obviously nice, but it's more of the same from his time in St. Louis--his low turnover rate is directly linked to his poor yards per attempt. He's played better as the season has progressed, but he was so bad that he had no where to go but up. He's in "game manager" territory, which is fine if you have an otherwise really strong team. The Eagles don't.

And yet with all that right now he's probably the best realistic option for 2016. They've won too many games to know they will be in position to draft a QB, and the QBs who will be available in the offseason aren't the answer. The least worst option would be a short contract. But would Bradford even want that?

Brandon: I have a hard time believing Bradford will be willing to sign a team-friendly deal. The Eagles need him more than he needs the Eagles. He has all the leverage, and he knows it. That’s why I think he made those "noncommittal" comments earlier this week when asked about his contract situation.

The Eagles do have some leverage of their own. Bradford’s injury history and lack of butt strength works against him. So is the fact that he currently ranks 27th in passer rating, 28th in yards per attempt, and 25th in touchdown passes. Still, I don’t think Bradford will come as cheap as most wish.

Now, I know I’m the one who brought the contract thing up, but I think it’s a little silly we’re even talking about it at this point. The Eagles still have three big games to play. The final two are obviously the most important. We need to see how Bradford performs in those (and then in a playoff game?) before we can totally assess his financial future.

Getting back to the Cardinals game, let’s talk about your favorite guy: Bruce Arians. The Arizona coach talked about how the Eagles were one of a few teams to cancel their interviews with him. Those teams apparently thought Arians was going to get the Chicago Bears job, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. The Cardinals won out by being patient and landing him. It’s interesting to wonder what the Eagles would be like right now if they hired Arians and not Chip Kelly. How do you think things would be different?

Dave: Now there's a what if....

I wonder if Arians would stick with Foles, or insist on getting Palmer. Let's say for the sake of argument they got Palmer. The Cardinals did go out and restock their entire QB depth chart when arrived, so I could see getting Palmer with Foles as the backup. Palmer would be throwing bombs to Jackson and Maclin, however McCoy wouldn't have led the league in rushing in 2013 but he'd still be on the Eagles and a little fresher as he wouldn't have run for over 300 attempts a year. So the offense would be a hell of a lot better. But the Eagles as a whole, at least the 2013 & 2014 editions, might not have been. It's not like we were envious of their situation before this year. Like in Arizona, Arians (and Todd Bowles) would have inherited a good foundation on defense, but there's no guarantee that Howie Roseman would drafted similar to Steve Kein. Would he take Mathieu? Buchannon? The secondary is a real strength for the Cardinals in part because of draft picks but also in part because of players they inherited, but until this season, under Kelly's vision, it's been a weakness for the Eagles.

Maybe they make the playoffs last year. Maybe they win a playoff game either last year or the year before. Certainly they'd be better this year. But so what. We'd all have perfect lives if we operated in hindsight.

For sure though local diaper sales would have skyrocketed.