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Eagles-Bengals, the most forgettable matchup in team history

Win, lose or draw

Bobby Hoying #7...

The Eagles play the Bengals on Sunday, which historically has been one of the worst head-to-head matchups for the Eagles in their history. The Birds have just a .292 winning percentage against the Bengals, which is their second worse opponent after the Bears at .280.

And man have they been bad games.

The most memorable, and that’s using that word charitably, was the 2008 tie, which the simple mention of is enough to make Eagles fans throw whatever objects are within arm’s reach. Sorry.

Older fans might remember the 1997 44-42 shootout win between Bobby Hoying and Boomer Esiason. That was a fun game. Both QBs threw four TDs, combined for 691 yards and the Eagles won on a last second Chris Boniol field goal, which was impressive because Chris Boniol was awful. So was Bobby Hoying, but not on that day.

Other not-at-all-exciting chapters in this cheap novel are “Bryce Brown: starting running back” as the Eagles lost 34-13 on Thursday Night Football in 2012; the 2004 Eagles Participation Trophy Game as the Eagles rested anyone remotely useful in the season finale, Koy Detmer and Jeff Blake played at QB, Reno Mahe and Eric McCoo (anyone even remember him?) split running duties, and Billy McMullin caught two of his three passes that season; and who can forget (the answer is ‘everyone’) the Rich Kotite Coffin Nailing in the 1994 season finale when the Eagles lost 33-30 to Jeff Blake, who had a passer rating of 45.6 as the Eagles blew a 27-10 lead.

So if history is any indication, and thankfully it isn’t because nobody from any of those games is playing on Sunday, this installment of Eagles vs Bengals will be forgettably bad for one of these teams. Or both if there’s a tie!

Four Downs

1 Schwartz media availability: so what?

The past couple of weeks have seen a media-talks-about-itself-media-talking-point of Jim Schwartz not speaking to the media outside of his weekly press conference. Schwartz is absolutely right when he says that he shouldn’t speak to the media after a game because they and fans need to hear one voice: the head coach. He meets with the media every week, and they can ask him whatever they want. He’s not ducking responsibility.

Funny, I don’t recall this being an issue after wins.

2 Just play Nelson Agholor

Benching Agholor after his disaster of a game in Seattle was deserved. He served his time and the Packers game showed that despite him being a negative, the Eagles weren’t suddenly going to become a good offense without him. Now though, there’s just no reason to keep him out. He doesn’t have to regain his starting role, and he shouldn’t just slot back into it like nothing happened, but it’s time to see if the benching helped.

He’ll probably play anyway with Jordan Matthews limping.

3 My Cleats, My Cause is cool for players, kind of lame for the league

This week players are wearing specially designed cleats to promote and raise money for various social causes, which is a great idea. But it also highlights some of the more absurd rules and regulations the NFL has. The NFL is really strict at policing their uniforms, and it’s ridiculous. The fine for being the third man in a fight? $6,076. The fine for a personal message of any kind on a uniform? $6,076. Kicking a player only costs $9,115. So writing “love your neighbor” on your cleats costs almost as much as kicking a guy in the balls with cleats.

Let the players have some customization. Billy “White Shoes” Johnson would just be a forgotten name if players couldn’t have a little fun.

4 The Cowboys post-Thanksgiving scheduling is suspicious

Last week I pointed out that the Eagles haven’t played a Sunday afternoon game the weekend of Thanksgiving in five years. That’s a nice advantage for fans, who have been able to get some extra time in the holiday weekend out of it, which is especially nice if they travel.

The Cowboys have had an even bigger advantage: it’s been five years since they played a Sunday game the week after Thanksgiving. In 2016 and 2014 they played back-to-back Thursdays, and in 2015 and 2013 they played on Monday night. In four straight years they got extra days of rest over their opponent, either by a longer week between games or their opponent having a short week that they didn’t.

Meanwhile the Lions, who like the Cowboys also play a yearly Thanksgiving Day game, have played a Sunday game in three of those four years.

Must be nice having an owner with so much power in the league.

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