The remainder of the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles’ schedule will only determine what slot the team will pick come the 2012 NFL Draft. The notion that they can still win the division is, well, just ridiculous.
Zero and zilch come to mind when thinking about the chances of the Eagles winning their remaining four games. While it’s possible that the Giants will lose two more games, I seriously doubt that Dallas will lose three of their last four.
Therefore, the only thing riding on these last four games for the Eagles is draft position.
The Eagles will finish somewhere between 4-12 and 8-8. The draft slot difference between these two records is quite significant.
Cincinnati, Buffalo and Denver all finished with a 4-12 record last season. Their draft slots were all in the top five picks (two through four).
This season, there looks to be three teams that will finish worse than 4-12 (Colts, Vikings, Rams). This means that the best slot a 4-12 team can get would be at pick No. 4.
On the other end, Oakland and Jacksonville both finished with an 8-8 record last year. That earned them the 16th and 17th slots in the draft.
So, the Eagles will very likely end up somewhere in between the 4th and 17th pick of the draft. Which slot would you rather see them have?
The difference in players they could draft between those two slots will be huge. Not only in the first round, but throughout the entire draft as well.
Furthermore, the higher the Eagles’ pick, the more excitement you will feel when April comes. If you’re anything like me, you almost get just as excited for the NFL draft as you do when football season begins again.
By winning a few meaningless games at the end of the season, the Eagles could feasibly drop 10 slots in the draft. Is that worth it? Is going 6-10 that much better than going 4-12?
Is going 8-8 and missing the playoffs any better either? Yeah, you could say that by going 8-8, the Eagles didn’t have a “losing season.”
However, what does it really matter in reality? If anything, I think going 8-8 would actually be worse for this team.
Think about it for a minute; if the Eagles win out but miss the playoffs, it could give them a false sense of security and complacency heading into next year. It may not force them to make some key changes we all know they need to make.
If they were to go 4-12 or 5-11, there is no way they could feel complacent. There would be a sense of urgency to turn this thing around and perform at a much higher level next year.
Therefore, there are actually two good reasons for the Eagles to not win too much more this season.
I’m not going to say to root for the Eagles to lose, because I just can’t do that myself. I’m approaching these last four games with a neutral position; if they win, that’s fine. If they lose, that’s actually better.
Put it this way, I’m in “future mode” now when looking at the Eagles because this season is shot. They should play some younger players just to get an idea about what they have on the current roster.
Let’s see Casey Matthews back in the middle full time again. Start Jaiquawn Jarrett at strong safety and give him the last four games to get good experience. Get Greg Lloyd some playing time at linebacker.
These are the things the Eagles should be doing right now but can’t while they’re technically still in contention for the playoffs. We will probably see the young guys more once they’re mathematically eliminated from playoff contention (which will be soon).
I don’t expect the Eagles to lose all four of their remaining games. I just hope they don’t screw up their future by winning them all either.