Four Reasons Why the Eagles Shouldn't Panic
September 22, 2013 in Philadelphia Eagles
By Phil Thompson:
Yes the Eagles lost their second straight game, and it was their second straight home game, but the Eagles and their fans shouldn't panic too soon. Here are the top 4 reasons why it is too soon to get worried and start assigning blame for the Eagles 1-2 start.
-Regardless of what happens on Sunday the Eagles can be no worse than 2nd in the NFC East due to their tie breaker of a division record over the Giants and Redskins (also currently have the head-to-head advantage here). While it is just three weeks having an early advantage means the Redskins and Giants need to catch up. Now that is of course going to make the five remaining divisional games crucial, but the Eagles have already shown they can expose the Redskins defense, and did so on the road. The Giants defense has been pretty shredded through two weeks so the Eagles should be able to run their offense effectively against them. Even if the Cowboys win and go to 2-1, Dallas has hardly looked like a premier team so far this season, so it is unlikely they will top 9-10 wins, which should be a doable total for the Eagles. In another division if you were only going to max out at 9 or 10 wins that might be trouble, but in the NFC East that will likely be enough to win the division.
2. Both of the losses are against the AFC:
-If you need to lose and don't want it to dramatically impact your playoff chances, it's best to lose to the other conference. While the wild card race could be tough, if the Eagles are in it, they will likely need a tie breaker to get the playoff spot. Having a better conference record will get the job done. Two early non-conference losses doesn't hurt the Eagles playoff chances that much and as long as they can start fixing their issues they should still have meaningful games in late December.
3. They are running the football effectively:
-The Eagles may have lost by 10 points, but their rushing attack is still doing quite alright. They had 260 yards on 28 attempts for a ridiculous 9.3 yards per attempt. Star running back LeSean McCoy had 158 yards on 20 carries for 7.9 yards per attempt. What's even more impressive is he did that despite missing some time and playing on a sprained ankle. As long as they have McCoy rushing like that (and Vick helping out), this Eagles offense is a threat. Though most of league is passing centric, running teams can succeed in this league and did so quite a bit. Last season the Redskins, Vikings, Seahawks, 49ers, Patriots and Texans all finished in the top 10 in rushing yards and made the playoffs. The Bears were also in the top 10 and while they didn't make the post season they did have a 10 win season. That is 7 of the top 10 teams that had 10 or more wins last season, not too shabby company.It is even more impressive to look at the top 10 teams in rushing attempts last year, as the Broncos are added to the mix. That is 80% of the teams finishing in the top 10 in rushing attempts that had 10 win+ seasons, and 7 of the 12 playoff teams. So the Eagles need to keep feeding the ball to McCoy and using Vick, Brown and anyone else to support him.
4. Their Schedule Still Favors them:
-The Eagles have lost two home games which always is rough to start the season, but they still can succeed this season, given a favorable schedule and a high powered offense. The Eagles still have games versus the Raiders, Buccaneers, Lions, Cardinals and Vikings, none of whom appear to be extremely tough so far this season. They also have 5 games against the division, none of whom appear to be big threats. If the Eagles can win 8 of those remaining games, they would have 9 wins and would be at least 4-2 in the division for any tie breaking purposes. Even if a 9-7 record isn't good enough for division or wildcard, that would be a really good season for the Eagles. they would have doubled their win total, been in the playoff race until the end, and set up a promising future.