Photo Credit: Journal Times
The Philadelphia Eagles have been an interesting team to watch this season, to say the least. They started off the season 3-0 with wins against the Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, and Pittsburgh Steelers led by the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State. After the Eagles obliterated the Steelers 34-3 at home and sacked Ben Roethlisberger 4 times against one of the NFL’s best offensive lines a lot of people thought that the Eagles would be contenders to win the NFC East. The Eagles went into their week 4 bye week with a 3-0 record. Now it’s about to be week 13 and the Eagles sit at 5-6, last place in the NFC East, 5 games behind the first-place Dallas Cowboys. They have gone 2-6 in the eight games since the bye week; only beating the Minnesota Vikings and the Atlanta Falcons. They have lost to the Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, and most recently the Green Bay Packers in week 12. With the loss to the Packers the Eagles hopes for a Wild Card spot suddenly look very, very dim. They would need to win out the final 5 games of the season and would need either the Redskins or the Giants to lose at least 3 of their last 5 games in order to make the second wild card spot. After the Eagles 27-13 loss to the Packers in week 12 most Eagles fans found themselves thinking the same thing…What happened to this team? And was this ever a playoff team?
This made most Eagles fans think back to before the season even started and how this team basically went through a mini rebuild this offseason after the disastrous ending to Chip Kelly’s tenure in Philadelphia. Eagles fans are now starting to realize that this team still has glaring holes at Wide Receiver and cornerback. While Carson Wentz looks to be the future at the quarterback position for the Birds they lack offensive firepower around him. There’s only so much a rookie quarterback can do to lead a young team when he has receivers who can’t catch the football. Before the season started I don’t think there were any Eagles fans who thought that we would even be in the conversation for a playoff spot. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year, this was supposed to be a year to watch all the young talent we have on this team to develop into good play makers. The only problem was the 3-0 start got all Eagles fan excited that we could possibly make the playoffs with a rookie quarterback. The reality is this team is close but not quite there yet.
The Eagles need to clear some cap space this offseason by either trading, cutting, or restructuring the contracts of some of the veteran players on this team. Players like Jason Peters could be on this team for another season or two if they can figure out a way to restructure his contract. Conner Barwin has struggled this season under Jim Schwartz’s 4-3 defense as a defensive end. He will most likely be released or traded to a team that needs an outside linebacker. Mychal Kendricks will most likely be used as a trade chip as well. Once the Eagles acquire some cap room they should try to acquire a receiver that can be an actual threat to NFL secondary’s whether it be via trade or Free Agency. Alshon Jeffrey of the Bears is most likely the biggest receiver name that will hit the free agent market this season. Other options include Terrelle Pryor of the Browns and Robert Woods of the Bills. They will most likely use the first round pick they acquired from the Vikings in the Sam Bradford trade to draft a cornerback in the draft. They could also possibly sign a cornerback like AJ Bouye of the Houston Texans who is set to become a Free Agent after this season.
For those of you who still truly believe that this team can make the playoffs they must win all of their final 5 games in order for it to even be a possibility. The Eagles would have to beat the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, and Dallas Cowboys. They would also need either the Redskins or Giants to lose 3 out of their final 5 games as well. So you know what needs to happen Eagles fans, and we all hope it happens but it won’t be easy and might not happen at all but anything is possible but remember…this team is on the right track.