After starting 3-0, the expectations for the 2016 Philadelphia Eagles suddenly skyrocketed to “playoffs or bust.” Since then, they’ve dropped four of their last five games and now expectations have plummeted to “this year is all about Wentz’ development anyway.”
The Eagles are now 0-3 in the division, 2-4 in the conference, have obvious deficiencies at certain positions, have a rookie QB who is making some mistakes, a rookie HC whose decision-making is baffling at times and face a daunting schedule the rest of the way.
In other words, all hopes for the playoffs are gone.
Or are they?
I’ll admit, after seeing Carson Wentz and Jordan Matthews fail to connect on the final play last week, I thought that was it…that’s the season. However, with a little time to reflect since then, the Eagles aren’t dead yet.
First thing is they need to steal one from the Falcons this week. Atlanta is an offensively daunting team, but is lacking on defense. Think back to the Steelers game…they were built the same way.
The Eagles shocked everyone by keeping Pittsburgh’s high-powered offense out of the end zone on their way to huge blowout win. I don’t think that will happen against Atlanta, but if we can keep them to say, 24 points, that could be good enough to win.
I do think our offense is capable of putting up 27 points or more against Atlanta’s susceptible defense.
Plus, while Matt Ryan may be enjoying the best season of his career so far, he is still prone to mistakes with the errant pass, bad decision, or turnover. He’s also tied for being the 5th-most sacked QB in the league.
Matt Ryan is along the lines of Eli Manning…he can have flashes of brilliance and a play that makes you say “WTF?” in the same game. Let’s hope for more of the latter this week from Ryan.
The good part is the Eagles are playing at home where they’ve played their best football this season. The Falcons are not a juggernaut and the Eagles should be in desperation mode as they know their season hangs in the balance.
Another big win against a good team will once again put the Eagles back in the playoff discussion.
As far as the rest of the season, the Eagles should be competitive in every game. Yes, it’s a tough schedule, but they have only really played one bad overall game (vs. Redskins). They’ve suffered some close losses against the Lions, Cowboys and Giants.
If a few plays (play calls and penalties too) go a different way in the aforementioned three losses, the Eagles could easily be sitting at 6-2 or 7-1. In other words, it’s not as if they haven’t been competitive.
I think they will have a hard time winning in Seattle next week, but after that, every other game is winnable. Green Bay is obviously not the same team they once were, the Ravens and Bengals are certainly beatable, then they need to even-out their division series games in which all are home games.
10-6 or 11-5 is still within reach. Is it a long shot? Yes. Doable? Yes. Likely? TBD.
It has to start with a win against Atlanta. If that happens, the sun will come out again, the skies will be blue and the glass will appear half-full.
Lose and we can officially put the fork in them.