The Philadelphia Eagles have kept their faint playoff hopes alive by beating the Miami Dolphins, 26-10. The win, coupled with a New York Giants win over the Dallas Cowboys, puts the Eagles just two games back in the division with three yet to play.
Now the Eagles only have to win their last three games while both the Giants and Cowboys lose two out of three.
Assuming the Cowboys beat the Giants in Week 17, the Giants will have to lose against either the Washington Redskins or the New York Jets in the next two weeks. The Cowboys would then have to lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and, of course, to the Eagles in the next two weeks.
The Giants could lose their next two games but beat the Cowboys in the last game of the season. This would allow the Cowboys to beat the hapless Bucs this week but then lose to Philly and New York (much more likely).
However, before you go any further…
It’s just not gonna happen!
Do not allow yourself to get sucked-in by the Eagles’ performance against the Dolphins. Sure, we could say that Miami was a much-improved team heading into Week 14 because they had won four out of their previous five games.
But make no mistake, Miami is not a good team. They started the season 0-7 for a reason, and it’s very likely that head coach Tony Sparano will be fired next month.
Thanks to three second-quarter turnovers by Miami and injuries to starting left tackle Jake Long and QB Matt Moore, the Eagles were able to beat a bad Dolphins team.
So, in effect, the Eagles had one quarter of good really good football and three quarters of mediocrity. This is nothing to get excited about.
Michael Vick completed just 50-percent of his passes for 208 yards with one TD and one INT. LeSean McCoy carried the ball 27 times for just 38 yards. The offense netted just 239 total yards for the game.
Sure, the defense had nine sacks and created three turnovers. But this was more about inept play from the Dolphins’ offense than strong play by the Eagles’ defense.
Reggie Bush still rolled up 103 yards on only 14 carries and as stated earlier, the Dolphins suffered two key injuries on offense. And it’s not as if the Dolphins are an offensive juggernaut to begin with.
So again, is this worth getting excited about? Would that type of performance be good enough to beat a playoff-caliber team?
No, it wouldn’t.
Even when this team does perform well, such as against Dallas and the second Giants game, they follow it up the next week with a complete stinker. Remember, consistency is one of the major things the Eagles lack this year.
Historically, the Eagles always seem to tease your emotions. Just when you think they might finally be able to break through, they ultimately disappoint you in one way or another.
We’ve been so close to greatness during the Andy Reid era, that anything less than a Super Bowl victory is considered a disappointment these days.
Here is a great example of how the Eagles can toy with your emotions:
Flash back to the 2008 season. The Eagles started out 2-3 and had everyone down on them. Then, they reeled off three straight wins and everyone was getting excited again. Then, they went on a three-game stretch that consisted of two losses and a tie.
The Eagles actually tied a horrible Bengals team and then got blown out by the Ravens in a game where Donovan McNabb was benched. If you remember, Eagles fans were again seriously frustrated and down on the team.
After that, they went on another three game win-streak and were 8-5-1 heading into Week 16. The excitement had returned again for the fans. The Eagles were looking good and they found themselves in a tight race with the Cowboys for a wild card playoff spot.
The Cowboys went into Week 16 with a 9-5 record, a half-game better than the Eagles. Dallas played on a Saturday night that week and lost to drop them to 9-6. The Eagles played the Redskins on that Sunday with a chance to go up by a half-game on Dallas.
Eagles fans were extremely excited at this point. And what happened? They played horrible and lost by a score of 10-3. 10-3! In a game that would have put them in the lead for a wild card playoff spot?
However, they gave the fans an awesome thrill because this set up a showdown in Week 17 between the Eagles and Cowboys in a game where the stakes were simple: if you win, you’re in the playoffs; lose, you go home.
The Eagles ended up having a memorable day and crushed the Cowboys, 44-6. All Eagles fans were in a state of euphoria!
Surprisingly, they actually went on to beat the Vikings and the Giants in the playoffs to earn their fifth NFC Championship game appearance under Andy Reid. This time, against an Arizona Cardinals team that they blew out during the regular season.
The Eagles went from barely getting into the playoffs, to being on the doorstep of the Super Bowl. Eagles fans were absolutely crazy with excitement. It seemed they were finally the team of destiny!
What happened? They lost. Ultimately, just another Philadelphia Eagles disappointment.
Again, this is what they do. They tease the fans into thinking they have a shot but always come up small when it counts.
Heck, you can look at the Chicago game this year for another example. Just when we all thought that the Eagles were turning the corner after convincingly beating the Cowboys, they lost a game to the Bears that had potential playoff tie-breaking significance.
That is when I knew that this year’s team just isn’t good enough. Had they beaten the Bears, that would have been the statement game they needed and it would have propelled them to better things.
However, they did not, so here is where we are: trying to cling to some ridiculous hope that a highly improbable scenario will play out that will put the Eagles in the playoffs.
I hate to sound like a pessimist, because I feel like I’ve only been talking about the negatives lately. Unfortunately, that’s what this team does to me so I get irritated.
But if you are the eternal optimist, you can still hope that the Eagles will make the playoffs. Just remember, it’s “buyer beware.”
If you wan to “buy” that the Eagles really do have a chance at the postseason, you better beware that you’ll ultimately find yourself feeling disappointed and empty at the end.