Warning: Philadelphia Eagles fans could be serious jeopardy of having their hearts ripped out one last time before the end of the 2011 season.
Armed with the knowledge that the New York Giants lost to the Washington Redskins, the Eagles proceeded to go out and crush the visiting New York Jets to keep their playoff hopes alive for at least one more week.
Are the stars aligning for the Eagles? Are we beginning to witness some form of divine intervention by the Gods of football?
Or is this just one crazy year?
At 6-8, the Eagles still have a shot at winning the NFC East. All they need to do is beat the Cowboys and Redskins these next two weeks while having the Giants help out by losing to the Jets and then beating the Cowboys.
Absolutely! Both the Giants and the Jets played poorly in Week 15 but both will be fighting for their playoff lives in Week 16.
I can see the Jets vs. Giants game going either way. It’s pretty much a 50-50 shot as to who will win. It’s technically a home game for the Jets so maybe that’ll help them a little bit.
Looking at those teams on paper, the Giants have the advantage. The Giants seem to be the ones with better overall talent on both sides of the ball, especially on offense and specifically at the QB position.
There is little doubt that Eli Manning is far superior to Mark Sanchez. However, Manning and the Giants are very capable of playing as poorly as anyone while, at the same time, Sanchez is capable of playing a solid game at any point.
Sanchez is at his best when the Jets’ ground game is clicking. That’s good news for him because the Giants defense is ranked just 22nd against the run and allow 127.6 yards per game.
As long as the Jets’ defense does not allow Eli Manning to get hot, this will be a competitive game that might go down to the wire. Both teams had their pride hurt in Week 15, so I expect that both will be fired up and ready to get after one another.
On the other hand, the Eagles will have to beat the Cowboys this week. Dallas is coming off of a game where they thumped a poor Tampa Bay team and know that they control their own destiny to the NFC East title.
I’m sure Dallas will be using their last game against the Eagles as extra motivation for this one. The Eagles dominated them back in October, 34-7, and will be looking for redemption.
However, the Eagles will be the ones playing with less pressure and nothing to lose. All of the pressure to win will be on Tony Romo and the Cowboys. And when the pressure is on, Romo is about 50-50 as to whether he’ll rise up to the occasion or fold like a cheap lawn chair.
If the Giants lose and the Eagles win this week, it will set up a Week 17 scenario that goes like this: Giants win and Eagles lose, the Giants are in. Dallas just has to win and they’d be in. If the Eagles win and Giants win, the Eagles get in.
Therefore, all three NFC East teams would have something to play for. And all three of them play at a 1:00pm kickoff so nobody will know how it plays out until their game is over.
So, is the stage set for this improbable path to the playoffs? Is it possible, or dare I say even probable, that this scenario will play out?
Is there a Christmas miracle in store for the Eagles and their fans?
Sounds like a decent possibility, does it not? Maybe this is destiny…oh wait, hang on a minute…
Before you allow yourself to get sucked back in, go back a re-read this article from last week. Remember, being an Eagles fan is cruel torture sometimes.
They get you all hyped up, then frustrate you, then get you excited again, then disgust you, then fate steps in and won’t let hope die, then that gets you excited yet again…and that’s where we stand at this moment.
Throughout the years we’ve been here before, in so many ways. The Eagles have to be the one team where their fans go on the biggest emotional roller coaster ride almost every season these days.
If your team stinks, at least you know they stink and therefore expect nothing less than pure stinkage every week. With the Eagles, we all think they’re good and therefore expect to win.
However, they only ever partially fulfill expectations. They do just enough to keep you hopeful and wanting more, but they never fully satisfy you.
How does it always end up? In disappointment, that’s how.
I’m actually kind of mad now. I had resolved myself to accepting that this season was over. After witnessing the losses to the Bears, Cardinals and Seahawks, I was absolutely positive this season was finished.
Yet, here we are, still alive heading into Week 16. Not only alive, but even with a plausible playoff-making scenario at hand. Because of this, I’m starting to allow myself to get sucked back in!
But alas, such is the life of an Eagles fan. We all must be a little masochistic because we’re just gluttons for punishment. Our brains tell us to just give it up, we know it’ll be painful later if we fall for it again.
Our hearts tell us to never give up hope, that the Eagles still have a chance and until they’re chance is definitively gone, we will still invest ourselves emotionally because we just want it that bad.
We’ll know by kickoff on Christmas Eve whether or not the Eagles are still alive. For me, it’ll mean the difference as to whether I join my family for our traditional Christmas Eve activities, or if I glue myself to the television and allow for the possibility of letting the Eagles ruin my holiday.
Tough spot, is it not? Family time on Christmas Eve which means I wouldn’t be around a television (usually the Eagles are not playing), or allowing for a potential situation where my mood can be enhanced or downgraded based on the outcome of the Eagles/Cowboys game.
However, fate can help make things easier if the Giants beat the Jets because then the Eagles would officially be eliminated. I would then be at peace with this disappointing season and be able to enjoy the holiday without worry.
But damn, I hope they don’t. Go Jets! Go Eagles!