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History suggests Eagles not doomed after 2-2 start

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Too early to panic.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s only reasonable to be concerned about the outlook of the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles after the team’s disappointing loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 4.

This Eagles team has some real issues. The secondary is struggling. The offensive line is failing to adequately protect Carson Wentz. And so on.

But if history is any indication, it IS too early to panic.

Let’s look back at the last 10 Eagles seasons to put the team’s current 2-2 record in context.

Last 10 Eagles seasons

Season Record after four games Final record Post-season
Season Record after four games Final record Post-season
2018 2-2 ? ?
2017 3-1 13-3 Won the Super Bowl
2016 3-1 7-9 Missed playoffs
2015 1-3 7-9 Missed playoffs
2014 3-1 10-6 Missed playoffs
2013 1-3 10-6 Lost in Wild Card round
2012 3-1 4-12 Missed playoffs
2011 1-3 8-8 Missed playoffs
2010 2-2 10-6 Lost in Wild Card round
2009 3-1 10-6 Lost in Wild Card round
2008 2-2 9-6-2001 Lost in NFC Championsip Game

Starting 3-1 is obviously better than starting 2-2, but it hasn’t always been a great indicator of future success. The Eagles failed to make the playoffs in three out of their last four 3-1 starts. Two of those four seasons failed to produce winning records; the Eagles went 7-9 in 2016 and just 4-12 in 2012.

Starting out 2-2, meanwhile, has hardly been a death knell for the Eagles. Here’s a look at how Philadelphia has fared in those situations dating back to the expansion of 16 game seasons in 1978.

History of Eagles starting out 2-2

Season Record after four games Final record Post-season
Season Record after four games Final record Post-season
2018 2-2 ? ?
2010 2-2 10-6 Lost in the Wild Card round
2008 2-2 9-6-1 Lost in the NFC Championship Game
2003 2-2 12-4 Lost in the NFC Championship Game
2001 2-2 11-5 Lost in the NFC Championship Game
2000 2-2 11-5 Lost in the Divisional round
1989 2-2 11-5 Lost in the Wild Card round
1983 2-2 5-11 Missed playoffs
1978 2-2 9-7 Lost in the Wild Card round

The Eagles averaged 9.8 wins in their last eight seasons starting out at 2-2. They failed to make the playoffs only once and they made it one game away from the Super Bowl in three of those years.

That’s probably a lot more encouraging than you would’ve guessed, right?

Of course, just because it’s mostly worked out for the Eagles in the past doesn’t mean it’s going to play out the same way this year. Football Outsiders’ model only gives the Eagles a 41.2% chance to make the playoffs this season. This old chart from FiveThirtyEight shows 2-2 teams generally have a 36% chance of making the post-season. That figure is significantly worse than the 63% of 3-1 teams who make it to January.

But while there’s reason to be concerned about the 2018 Eagles, there’s also room for optimism. Wentz is healthy and is coming off one of the best games of his career. The Eagles still have six games at Lincoln Financial Field this year, which is significant since they have the best home record in the NFL from the beginning of the 2016 season (17-3).

So, it’s like I said earlier. No need to totally freak out just yet.

Poll

To what extent are you worried about the 2018 Eagles? (5 being the most panicked)

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    1
    (152 votes)
  • 31%
    2
    (431 votes)
  • 41%
    3
    (566 votes)
  • 12%
    4
    (166 votes)
  • 3%
    5
    (41 votes)
1356 votes total Vote Now