The Philadelphia Eagles had a chance to relax on Sunday since they play the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. 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 14 takeaways.
1 - Cowboys losses are the best part of the Eagles’ 2019 season
I already wrote about the Cowboys’ Thursday Night Football loss to the Chicago Bears but I can’t stress this point enough. The most enjoyable football watching experience for Eagles fans this season hasn’t been watching the Eagles. They’ve been thoroughly unenjoyable to watch outside of the Week 4 Packers game, really.
I don’t know about you but yesterday’s Sunday without the Eagles felt pretty good to me. It was a relief to know there wasn’t a likely chance of pain and frustration. There was no dreading the toxic aftermath that comes with the Eagles losing. Watching no stakes football was much more pleasant for a change.
One didn’t even have to worry about the Cowboys winning since they had already lost on Thursday. Dallas is crumbling and basically begging the Eagles to win the division. We’ll see if the Birds can capitalize. Even if they can’t, though, at least the Cowboys are looking like a one-and-done playoff team at best.
2 - The Rams’ win helped the Eagles
Staying on the Cowboys theme, the Eagles should be happy to see Los Angeles has bounced back following a blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The 8-5 Rams are just one game behind the 9-4 Minnesota Vikings in the NFC playoff picture. The Rams have every reason, then, to fight hard in their Week 15 road game against the Dallas Cowboys.
If the Eagles win their next two games (vs. NYG, at WAS) and the Cowboys lose to the Rams, Philly can officially clinch the NFC East with a win over Dallas in Week 16. Doing so would allow the Eagles to rest their starters in Week 17, which is a crazy thing to be typing after just watching the Birds lose their last three games.
The Cowboys losing to the Rams also opens up the silly scenario where the Eagles could win the division despite losing to Dallas in Week 16. The Eagles would need win all their remaining non-Dallas games in addition to the Cowboys also losing at home to Washington in Week 17. So, probably not happening, and the Eagles really don’t deserve to win the NFC East if they can’t beat at least Dallas once.
To be fair, no team truly deserves to win the NFC East at all.
3 - Washington has been eliminated from the playoffs
Washington would’ve been mathematically alive for the playoffs in Week 15 had they beaten the Green Bay Packers. Alas, they did not, and were therefore officially eliminated from winning the NFC East.
Washington was obviously never winning the division anyway but the Packers loss ensures they won’t have anything to play for — aside from pride — this Sunday against the Eagles. Such a development hardly guarantees an Eagles win but it’s the more preferable scenario to enter.
It’s worth noting that Washington could be dealing with some new injuries ahead of next weekend’s matchup. Derrius Guice reportedly suffered an MCL sprain and could be out. Rookie quarterback Dwanye Haskins could be playing through an ankle injury he picked up in Green Bay.
4 - Less than one week until the Week 15 BGN Road Game Watch Party!
Some are saying this is the most relevant and important takeaway from NFL Week 14.
Just try to envision it. The Eagles beat the Giants on Monday night. They’re then three more wins away from winning the NFC East. You come out to the BGN’s watch party at Pistolas Del Sur next Sunday and have a blast watching the Birds pick up a win over Washington to set up a huge Week 16 matchup in Philly against Dallas. You know want to be there!
You can [CLICK HERE to RSVP] on Facebook so we can get a better head count of who’s all coming.
5 - Should the Eagles trade for Odell Beckham Jr.?
This question has come up with OBJ reportedly wanting out of Cleveland and the Eagles needing help at wide receiver.
My BGN Radio co-host Jimmy Kempski put together a good breakdown of the pro’s and con’s over at PhillyVoice. BGN’s Michael Kist also made an astute point:
I don't look at the 2020 WR draft class & the Eagles' future cap situation & think "let's send a ton of draft capital & spend a bunch of money for a player that was in Cleveland for less than one (1) season before requesting a trade."— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) December 8, 2019
Maybe it's just me but that sounds dumb.
The Eagles should think about adding OBJ if the price is right. They should not be going out of their way to acquire him at any cost.
The Eagles really need to get younger, healthier, and less expensive at receiver. Avoiding adding an unusual locker room dynamic also seems ideal. The Eagles should do their homework on OBJ but he hardly seems like the slam dunk answer to fix this team’s receiver issues.
Should the Eagles trade for Odell Beckham Jr.?
This poll is closed
6 - Watching other teams makes the Eagles’ wide receiver situation even more frustrating
This is the exact same takeaway I had watching games during the Eagles’ Week 10 bye. You turn on any NFL game and you regularly seeing wide receivers make plays that you know the Eagles’ wide receivers either can’t or don’t make.
The thing that especially stood out to me yesterday was how a number of teams are getting receivers wide open down the field. Is that even allowed? It wasn’t just like quarterbacks were hitting guys in stride, either. There were receivers so wide open that they were fully facing the line of scrimmage, almost as if on a punt return. Why can’t the Eagles have this?
One of the receivers I saw get open down the field used to play for the Eagles. You may have heard of him? Mack Hollins!
BREAKING NEWS— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) December 8, 2019
Mack Hollins just induced a 30-40 yard defensive pass interference penalty pic.twitter.com/SeAvBuc96D
If Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t woefully underthrow Hollins, this is a touchdown. Think about that. Hollins scoring on a big play touchdown just days after joining the Dolphins after being cut by the Eagles. Meanwhile, all I can think about is Mike Groh talking about how it was “challenging” to incorporate Golden Tate into the Eagles’ offense last season.
But back to the state of pass catchers elsewhere in the NFL. In addition to receivers actually creating separation, it was fun to watch players pick up yards after the catch. By stark contrast, the Eagles have the most tackleable group of players in the NFL.
Per #NextGenStats, there are 70 WR/TE that have a + expected YAC per reception. There isn't a single Eagles' WR/TE on that list. Of the qualifiers...— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) December 8, 2019
Dallas Goedert: -0.1
Nelson Agholor: -0.7
Zach Ertz: -0.7
Alshon Jeffery: -1.0
The Eagles must make an effort to get faster, quicker, more elusive, and more dynamic. No more slow, plodding skill players!
7 - Frank Reich and John DeFilippo aren’t doing so well right now
Losing Reich and Flip undoubtedly hurt the Eagles’ coaching staff. This idea that they were the true masterminds behind the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory and Doug Pederson deserves zero credit is always silly to me, though.
Reich’s Colts are 1-5 in their last six games, including three losses in a row. Reich was obviously dealt a tough hand with Andrew Luck retiring so shortly before the season; I’m not trying to kill him here. Still, the Colts have choked their way out of a very winnable AFC South, and Reich shares some of the blame. He’s not this infallible being.
As for Flip, well, he was fired by the Minnesota Vikings last season and it doesn’t seem out of the question that he’ll be one-and-done as Jacksonville’s offensive coordinator if/when Doug Marrone is gone and the Jaguars hire a new coaching staff. The Jags dropped to 4-9 with a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Benching Nick Foles for Gardner Minshew clearly didn’t make a difference. There should be a quarterbacks coach job waiting for you back in Philly, John.