The Philadelphia Eagles had a chance to relax this weekend since they were on their bye. But even though the Birds didn’t play, they were still impacted by happenings elsewhere in the league. Here’s an Eagles slant to some NFL Week 10 takeaways.
1 - The NFC East is up for grabs
With Dallas losing to Minnesota, the Eagles and Cowboys are both 5-4 with seven regular season games to go. The Eagles’ remaining schedule is easier than the Cowboys’ slate ... on paper, at least.
The Week 16 game between the Eagles and Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field could very well decide the winner of the NFC East. The Cowboys currently have the edge on the Eagles since they beat the Birds back in Week 7.
But the Eagles quietly have a big advantage of their own: the common games tiebreaker. There’s a realistic situation where the Eagles and Cowboys end up tied when it comes to: 1) overall record, 2) head-to-head record, and 3) division game record. In that event, commons games would be the next determining factor. And the Eagles are currently 3-1 against four common opponents that the Cowboys have gone 1-3 against this season. The difference comes from the Eagles having defeated the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets while the Cowboys lost to them.
There hasn’t been a repeat winner in the NFC East since 2004. The Cowboys will break that 15-year trend if they can hold on to the division lead. The Eagles can prevent that evil from happening and clinch a playoff berth in the process by finishing strong down the stretch.
2 - The Eagles aren’t immune to wild card fever
The Eagles should obviously have their eyes set on winning the NFC East but it’s not necessarily “division title or bust” when it comes to their playoff hopes.
The Eagles weren’t helped by the Vikings — who have a head-to-head tiebreaker over Philly — winning on Sunday evening. That was the only “downside” to the Cowboys’ loss.
Eagles fans should be rooting for the Seattle Seahawks to lose to the San Francisco 49ers tonight on Monday Night Football. The Eagles will have an opportunity to earn a head-to-head over Seattle with the Seahawks coming to Philly in Week 11.
3 - Matthew Stafford’s injury comes at a bad time
Prior to yesterday, Matthew Stafford hadn’t missed a game since 2010. The Lions’ starting quarterback was forced to sit out due to broken bones in his back (hm, sounds familiar) in a loss to the Chicago Bears.
The good news for the Eagles is that Stafford’s injury helps to eliminate the Lions from the wild card picture.
The much worse news for the Eagles is that Stafford’s injury gives the Cowboys a much easier matchup when they travel to Detroit in Week 11.
The Lions are now relying on Jeff Driskel, who posted the following stat line in Week 10: 27/46, 5.8 yards per attempt, 1 TD, 1 INT, 73.6 passer rating.
There’s a pretty good chance the Cowboys will advance to 6-4 next Sunday. The Eagles will have to beat the New England Patriots to keep pace.
4 - The Giants stink
Hardly a shocking revelation but worth noting nonetheless, especially with two of the Eagles’ remaining seven games coming against the G-Men.
The Giants currently own the NFL’s second-worst losing streak after dropping their last six games. Only the winless Cincinnati Bengals have been worse.
Daniel Jones has shown flashes of potential, sure, but the rookie quarterback has some serious ball security issues. Jones has now fumbled 13 times in nine games. Look how easy it was for Jamal Adams to pick Jones’ pocket for a touchdown:
Jones fumbled three times in four preseason games. He also fumbled 19 times in 36 college appearances at Duke. So, that’s 35 fumbles in his last 49 games played. Not great!
Let us never forget that the Giants opted to pass on Sam Darnold, who helped the Jets beat the Giants on Sunday, and Lamar Jackson, a 2019 MVP candidate, in order to draft a running back at No. 2 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. That running back by the name of Saquon Barkley rushed 13 times for ONE YARD against the Jets.
Long live Dave Gettleman.
5 - Watching other teams makes the Eagles’ wide receiver situation even more frustrating
Don’t worry, I won’t be posting the Eagles’ abysmal wide receiver stats here today. But I will still be complaining about Philadelphia’s pass catchers!
It’s just so crazy how you can turn on virtually any game and see receivers regularly make tough catches and/or regularly create separation. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Eagles had receivers who could do those things!?
While the Eagles’ pass catchers are making the routine look impossible, Amari Cooper is out here making incredible catches along the sideline. My BGN Radio co-host said it well:
The Cowboys has 3 catches on that last drive that were better than any Eagles receiver has had all year.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) November 11, 2019
Even the college ranks offer more inspiration:
I’d take either LSU’s or Bama’s receivers over the Eagles’ receivers, right now.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) November 9, 2019
Perhaps the optimistic way to look at it is that the Eagles’ receivers can’t be much worse than they’ve been. Maybe having time to reflect during the bye will serve as a wake-up call that they really need to get their shit together, especially with DeSean Jackson on injured reserve. Maybe adding Jordan Matthews to the equation will make a difference. Here’s hoping but it’s hard to feel great about it since the Eagles might just be stuck with players who aren’t any good.
On that note:
The Giants drafted Darius Slayton (No. 171) not too long after the Eagles drafted Clayton Thorson (No. 167).— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) November 10, 2019
It’d be really nice if JJ Arcega-Whiteside could get more involved down the stretch. The coaches haven’t trusted him to play much to this point. The excuse that he’s not playing because he’s Alshon Jeffery’s backup and he hasn’t trained at other receiver positions is growing old. It’s Week 11 and he’s a second-round pick. JJAW needs to be contributing more than literally nothing at all.
6 - Minkah Fitzpatrick remorse?
Many laughed at the 0-3 Pittsburgh Steelers trading their 2020 first-round pick for Minkah Fitzpatrick but that move isn’t looking so bad now.
Minkah Fitzpatrick in 7 games with the Steelers:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 11, 2019
* 34 tackles
* 5 INT
* 2 FF
* 1 FR
* 2 defensive TD scored
* Pittsburgh is 5-2 in those games
It’s hard to kill the Eagles for not beating the Steelers’ offer for Fitzpatrick. The Miami Dolphins likely thought the Steelers were going to be giving them a top 10 pick given their winless record and the season-ending injury sustained by Ben Roethlisberger.
What I will criticize Howie Roseman for is failing to make any kind of big move that could create a spark. The Steelers acquiring Fitzpatrick isn’t the only example. Look at the Dallas Cowboys acquiring Amari Cooper last year and how much of a difference that’s made for them.
It’s not like Roseman is fast asleep at the wheel; we always hear about how the Eagles are in on rumored trade targets ... including Cooper!
I’m told the Eagles offered a second-round pick to the Raiders for Amari Cooper last week. Raiders held out for a 1. Got it today from Philly’s NFC East rival. Colts also had interest. @AroundTheNFL @nflnetwork— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) October 22, 2018
But for all that’s made about Roseman being one of the mots “aggressive” executives in the league, he’s failed to land a big fish lately. No Cooper, no Fizpatrick, no Jadeveon Clowney, no Jalen Ramsey. Nothing.
Now, this isn’t to suggest Roseman should be trading draft picks away willy-nilly. The Eagles need to be smart about how they use those assets considering they’re one of the oldest teams in the league and they’ve only made 10 selections in the past two years.
But while the Eagles’ patience might end up paying off, one must also weigh the impact that can be made by a big trade acquisition.
7 - The Sean McVay shine is wearing off
The Rams hit a point late during the 2018 season where they were figured out. The Sean McVay and Jared Goff combo just hasn’t been clicking like it used to be.
Jared Goff, last 16 games:— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) November 11, 2019
4,256 yards (7.0 Y/A)
79.2 passer rating
28 sacks, 219 sack yards lost, **5.75 ANY/A**
3 rushing TDs
He's basically high volume Mark Sanchez.
The Rams pulled Goff to put in Blake Bortles for a play at one point during their loss to the Steelers. Truly bizarre.
Sean McVay’s decision to insert Blake Bortles was “part of the game plan,” McVay said, and did not have to do with Jared Goff’s health. “Wanted to try to add a guy in the run game with Blake,” Goff said. “Just unfortunately didn’t work.” https://t.co/7tCTEOeQ20— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) November 11, 2019
Goff got paid more than Carson Wentz this offseason. Seems like a mistake by LA. His continued struggles could prevent the Rams from making the playoffs just one season after making it to the Super Bowl.
BONUS - The Falcons loss doesn’t look so bad now!
Okay, not really. The Eagles should’ve beaten Atlanta. But how about the Falcons beating the Saints by a score of 26 to 9 in the Superdome? So strange that Atlanta only has two wins this year and they’re over the Eagles and Saints.
Too early to say the Saints are some frauds?