The Eagles emerge from their bye week as one of only three undefeated teams left in the NFL. 16-0 is happening. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
But seriously, let’s talk about the rest of the season. I’ve found myself getting carried away with future expectations since the Eagles drubbing of the Pittsburgh Steelers ten days ago. I entered this season with reasonable goals; 6-9 wins, undue everything Chip Kelly did the last three years, and if possible, develop Carson Wentz. Needless to say, those expectations are long gone. Now thoughts of a playoff berth, a division title, and maybe even a deep playoff run creep in.
I hate to be the urinator here, but I’m doing this for my own good. I’m feeling way too high about the Eagles after three weeks and need to spell out some factors working against them the rest of the season.
First of all, a bye week after only three weeks is just brutal. The Eagles must now play 13 consecutive weeks of NFL football without any extended time off. Injuries will begin to mount, bodies will only get more sore as the season continues and the Eagles will have no respite in sight.
In addition to no rest, the Eagles remaining slate is no cake walk. Look at this lineup beginning Week 7; MINN, @DAL, @NYG, ATL, @SEA, GB, @CINC. Those are four difficult road games with home games against the three top teams in the NFC sprinkled throughout. The Eagles best shot at making the playoffs is to enter their Week 7 death march at 5-0. While I’m in no way writing off the Eagles’ chances during such a rough stretch, it’s also hard to imagine them emerging from that gauntlet better than 3-4, and even that would be a minor miracle.
Speaking of opponents, it’s been widely noted the Eagles haven’t played the NFL’s best to start the season. Some, if not most of that noise was put to rest after the Eagles steamrolled the Steelers. However, the Eagles and Carson Wentz haven’t met a respectable defense yet. While stats can be misleading this early in the season, it’s still worth noting both the Pittsburgh and Cleveland defenses rank in the bottom ten in yards allowed per game. Chicago and Cleveland also rank in the bottom half of the league in points allowed. Furthermore, none of the Eagles three opponents rank among the NFL’s top 19 defenses according to Football Outsiders Defensive Efficiency Rating.
There you have it. Those are the most obvious factors working against the Eagles’ drive to 19-0. So next time you find yourself dreaming of the Eagles hosting the NFC Championship Game (I did this. Even cleared the calendar), remember we’re not even a quarter of the way through a long season and the obstacles ahead are daunting…
…even for the greatest quarterback the NFL ever has or ever will know.