Julio Jones and the Falcons return to Philly to witness the aftermath of a blaze they could have extinguished. (Photo by Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
A Super Bowl title will not change me as a sports fan. I still expect everything to go wrong. I can’t help it. It’s woven into the fabric of my being. So forgive me for the following sentences, but they need to be said…
I’m too lazy to fact check this, but banner nights don’t do champions any favors. They’re emotionally spent before the first whistle blows. Sure, the Philly crowd will be bonkers and Doug Pederson’s Eagles are MONSTERS at home. However, the offense is banged up and looked completely out of sync in the preseason. I’m still not convinced I was wrong about Nick Foles. That Minnesota – New England stretch in the playoffs could very well be the exception and not the rule. Foles looked like garbage in his first three starts last season and he was a hot mess this preseason.
Let’s not forget the Falcons also have something to prove Thursday night. In the Divisional Round of last year’s playoffs, Atlanta completely muffed an easy interception just before the half. What would have assuredly been a Falcons field goal turned into a Jake Elliott 53 yard bomb that brought Philadelphia to within one (10-9) and gave the team much needed life. Had Atlanta held on to that interception, they head into the half 13-6 AND have possession to start the 3rd quarter.
Enough about last season. It’s entirely possible the Eagles head into their Week 9 bye at 4-4. The Patriots are notorious slow starters. You can’t just win a Super Bowl and flip a switch to reach that same intensity in September. It’s a process. The Falcons, Vikings, Panthers and Jaguars are all expected to be contenders this season. Winning three of those matchups would, in my opinion, be a miracle.
Assuming they’re not winless (or something close to that); the Eagles should at least consider sitting Carson Wentz until after the bye. Wentz is only 25. There’s a good chance he’s the franchise quarterback for the next decade, at least. Don’t rush him back. Though the knee has been deemed healthy for return, it doesn’t mean the knee is ready for NFL contact. An ACL tear is a one year injury. Bringing him back after the bye week would give Wentz 11 full months to recover as opposed to nine months if they were to run him out there in a week or two. Furthermore, the NFC East isn’t strong. The Eagles could probably sneak away with the division at 10-6. It won’t come with a first round bye or home field advantage throughout the postseason, but I’d trade both of those advantages for a healthier Wentz.
Who cares, though, right? We just won the Super Bowl for the first time in all our lives. We should be happy and just enjoy football. This is the honeymoon season, after all. NOPE. We’re Philadelphia fans. I heard people saying we shouldn’t boo this season. I booed 3 minutes into the first preseason game. We can’t lose our edge. We can’t let success change who we are or why we care so much. No skipping games for picnics or birthday parties. No missing games because “the Colts are bad anyway.” We watch, we scream, we suffer, we find something to drive us mad, even in victory. This is who we are. Own it. Love it. Pass it down to your children. Winning mustn’t change us. Win or die. EAGLES If I were Charles Barkley; Eagles -1