The Eagles beat a division rival by 20 points. Everything is good now. Or not. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Monday qualified as perhaps the most bizarre Eagles win I can remember. When the Eagles beat an NFC East opponent, it’s a good win. When they win by 20, it’s a party. Not Monday night. Instead of celebration, the Eagles’ victory over the Giants was confirmation of a season going nowhere fast.
We’re six weeks into the 2015 season. At this point, you are who you are. The Eagles aren’t a playoff team. The NFC East may crown them a playoff team, but at that point you’re just painting over a zebra’s stripes.
The Eagles aren’t good enough to impact the playoffs in any meaningful way. While I expect the running game to continue to improve, Sam Bradford isn’t winning you a playoff game. It’s just not happening. Bradford was awful again Monday night. His three interceptions were shockingly bad, even for him. His lone touchdown pass was badly underthrown. Hitting receivers in stride is a crapshoot for Bradford. Nice guy. Bad quarterback.
Granted, there’s a slight chance of the running game fulfilling its destiny, dominating opposing defenses and thus allowing Bradford to throw from play-action 85% of the time. Unfortunately, while the ground game has improved in recent weeks, the offensive line still struggles to move defenses. The Eagles didn’t really punish the Giants on the ground until the game was decided. For the offense to be anywhere near potent, the running game has to fire from the get-go.
Although the offense is a broke down locomotive, the defense is firing on all cylinders. The front seven deserves all the credit. Despite injuries to key linebackers, the Eagles defense has continued to impress. Outside of a poor outing in Week 4, the Eagles front seven has been great. In fact, when the front seven is getting after the quarterback, they’re good enough to hide the secondary’s weaknesses (cough, Byron Maxwell, cough).
The front seven devastated Eli Manning Monday night with relentless pressure and eliminated his check downs to backs and tight ends with swarming coverage. It’s been too long since Philadelphia had a dominant defense. The 2015 Eagles aren’t quite there yet, but that front seven has the makings of something special given the talent and relative youth of the group. It may sound strange, but the Eagles can go only as far as that front seven takes them. Without a strong pass rush, the secondary gets exposed and then too much pressure is placed on the offense to score points.
To recap, the Eagles avoided an 0-3 division hole, climbed atop the NFC East, beat the Giants by 20, and confirmed 2015 is a lost season. Like I said, bizarre.