The Philadelphia Eagles can still make the playoffs this season, even after suffering their fourth-straight loss in Week 5 against the Buffalo Bills.
Before the game against Buffalo, I wrote that the Eagles would only have a two percent chance of making the playoffs if they started out 1-4. That’s because only five teams since 1990 have accomplished that feat.
Two percent is still a chance, right?
In the words of John Rambo: “Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don’t turn it off!”
The season isn’t over just yet and I don’t hear any fat lady singing. As bad as the Eagles losses have been, there is still a sliver of hope to hang onto for just a little bit longer.
Right now, most Eagles fans want to fire everybody from the ball boy up to Andy Reid. Everyone just wants to clean house and start over with a new coaching staff and new philosophy.
Jon Gruden, Jeff Fisher, Bill Cowher and Rich Kotite have all jumped to the top of Eagles fans’ Dear Santa list. Okay, maybe not Rich Kotite, but you get the idea.
This is all for good reason, that I cannot deny. The Eagles have big problems and they all funnel right back to the main man in charge, and that’s Andy Reid.
However, replacing Reid is a topic we will all discuss ad nauseum if and when the Eagles are officially eliminated from the playoffs. For right now, I’d rather discuss how the Eagles can get back into contention this year.
What’s that? Just give it up Dave, they have no shot? I know things look extremely bleak right now but here are the positives to take away from the Buffalo game:
The defense actually stepped up in the fourth quarter by forcing two punts and not allowing a score. With the exception of the first drive by Buffalo, the defense actually played well the entire second half.
Again, taking away Buffalo’s first drive of the second half, the other four meaningful possessions for the Bills ended in three punts and one field goal. The field goal came after Jason Avant’s first fumble, which put the Bills in just about scoring position to begin with so we can’t fault the defense there.
Without the benefit of reviewing the game, it appeared to me that the Eagles defense made some adjustments in the second half. They ran some blitzes, started getting some pressure on QB Ryan Ftizpatrick, and defended the short passing game that killed them in the first half.
As for the Eagles offense, they again put up good numbers and moved the ball very well. The problem is the turnovers. You can’t turn the ball over five times and expect to win.
However, the fact that they were still in the game after that many turnovers is a positive. Two of the Eagles’ turnovers were somewhat “flukey” as well. The batted pass at the line of scrimmage and the bobbled catch that bounced up in the arms of the defender were somewhat unusual.
The good news is that turnovers are correctable mistakes. Jason Avant doesn’t fumble the ball too often, let alone twice in one game. And out of Michael Vick’s four INTs, only one was what I consider legitimate (the one to Bills LB Nick Barnett).
Overall, the Eagles have been in every game this season. We could argue that they should have won every game if not for a few bad mistakes.
As bad as the defense has been, the Eagles could be 5-0. There hasn’t been one game yet that this team did not have a chance to win.
Against Atlanta, if Jeremy Maclin catches that fourth down pass the game could have been different. Against San Francisco, if Jeremy Maclin doesn’t fumble at the end they probably would have won.
And again yesterday at Buffalo, if Jason Avant doesn’t fumble they may have gone in for the tying score.
Basically, this team is beating itself right now.
Yes, the Eagles defense needs to improve by 110% but they’ve still been in positions to win games at the end if not for those turnovers.
And again, turnovers are correctable.
Now, as far as reaching the playoffs, we have to figure that a record of 10-6 is what the Eagles need to attain. That means they have to go 9-2 the rest of the way.
So, let’s take a look at their remaining schedule:
@New York Giants
New York Jets
As things stand right now, none of those teams scare me. They are all very winnable games.
New England is the best team left they have to face and even they have some serious weaknesses on defense. Every one of those teams has problems and only three of them have winning records right now (Giants, Patriots, Redskins).
I’m not saying any of them will be easy because they won’t. However, none of them are that good to where you can pencil in a certain loss.
If the Eagles can beat the Washington Redskins in Week 6, they will only have one-less win than the division leader. And they’ll still have four more division games after that.
So, can the Eagles go 9-2 in the next 11 games? If they play the way they did in the second half against Buffalo, minus the turnovers, it is definitely possible.
Therefore, I’m not raising the white flag just yet. Tell the fat lady to stick a sock in it because it ain’t over just yet.
Nothing is over! Nothing!