The Eagles are rolling. So now is the perfect time to remind you the Eagles are being built with a formula that simply hasn’t worked. That’s right, the party pooper is here. (Photo by ALEX BRANDON/AP)
[Please Note: I know you’re rolling your eyes right now. We’re 11 games into the Chip Kelly era and I’m already whining. You’re 100%, absolutely, unequivocally, and totally right. I should just shut up and enjoy. But I can’t. And to be honest, I like Chip Kelly. I like this team. But I want my team to have a singular focus I can get behind.]
I’ve been putting this off for weeks because I’ve enjoyed having a relevant football team back in my life. Sadly, it’s time to put down the cheesesteak hat, remove the eagle wings and take a realistic look at my beloved Eagles.
It doesn’t take long to see the big, juicy, unavoidable pimple on the Eagles 2013 resume; whom have they beaten? It’s an absolutely fair question. Two wins over the dysfunctional Redskins. Convincing wins over the lowly Giants and Buccaneers. A blowout of the pathetic Raiders. A nice victory in Lambeau, though Aaron Rodgers was absent. Six total wins and not a single one against a respectable opponent.
Two weeks ago, the Carolina Panthers were riding a four game winning streak. The San Francisco 49ers were coming off five straight wins. Yet, despite their recent success, neither team could get out from under the “they haven’t beaten anyone” cloud. And rightfully so. There’s a significant difference between beating the teams on your schedule and only beating the bad teams on your schedule. At some point, a team must collect solid wins to prove they belong among the NFL’s contenders. The Panthers handled their business by taking out the 49ers and Patriots in consecutive weeks. The 49ers are still searching after falling to the Panthers and Saints in consecutive weeks.
So why are the Eagles showing up in articles as one of the NFL’s “good teams”? I don’t get it. The Eagles are 0-4 against teams I would consider “competent.” You could argue Nick Foles only played in one of those games and I would grant you that argument. It’s a very real possibility the Eagles are that much better with Foles under center. However, in their one and only opportunity to prove as much against a decent opponent, Foles and the Eagles mustered only three points in three quarters before Foles went down with a concussion.
There’s also the opposing defense issue. The Eagles haven’t played even a decent defense throughout their three game surge. I want to see Nick Foles and the offense against a legitimate defensive force. You know, a team that isn’t surrendering 24 points a game. Luckily for the Eagles, they only have one solid defense on their remaining schedule (Arizona), and the conference’s elite defenses (Seattle, Carolina, San Francisco, New Orleans) will be avoided until the postseason. But what then? Let’s just say I don’t like their chances since it’s a near certainty it’ll be the Panthers, Saints or 49ers marching into Philadelphia in early January.
And that brings me to the issue I had, have, and likely always will have with the Chip Kelly hiring. Explosive offenses don’t win titles… in any sport. Hockey? Hottest goalie brings home the Cup. Baseball? Starting pitching, lights out bullpen, clutch hitting. Basketball? If you can’t get stops in crunch time, you don’t win. (Hello, Clippers, Thunder.) In the NFL, Tom Brady is 3-0 with a great defense and 0-83 with an elite offense. When Peyton Manning won his ring, the defense carried the team through the postseason. The Ravens have two titles without a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback.
I know it’s early in the Kelly era. The Eagles aren’t even title contenders right now. But I can’t help but look at where the Eagles are headed and wonder how they’ll win a Super Bowl with a formula that hasn’t worked. Teams don’t have lock down defenses and explosive offenses. You have to choose. We all know which one Kelly will choose, and that’s why I can’t help but think I’ve already been dealt a losing hand.
Saints at Falcons
The Falcons were on life support five weeks ago. Two weeks ago they flat lined. SAINTS If I were Charles Barkley; Saints -9.5