This isn’t hyperbole. The Eagles might actually be better off packing it up and focusing on 2017.
The team is inexperienced, thin at several important positions (cornerback, offensive line) and has more working against it than for it.
And while the squad will no doubt play its heart out for Doug Pederson and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz over the next 11 weeks, Eagles fans who were on the Wentz Wagon and thinking Super Bowl this February need to slam on the breaks.
Here are five reasons why the 3-2 Eagles will be much better off in 2017:
1. Their 2016 schedule
The Eagles have the toughest remaining schedule of any NFL team. In the coming six weeks alone, the Eagles host the Vikings (5-0), play the Cowboys (5-1) and Giants (3-3) on the road, host the Falcons (4-2), travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks (4-1) and then host the Packers (3-2). Brutal.
Philly also has another game apiece left against the Redskins (4-2), Cowboys and Giants, and also plays the Bengals and Ravens. Finding wins will be incredibly difficult, and it’s possible the Birds are Vegas underdogs in most of their upcoming contests.
2. Their 2017 schedule
Assuming the Eagles finish where they currently reside in the standings, in third place in the NFC East — or even finish behind the Giants for last place — Philly will get a much easier schedule in 2017. The NFL’s non-division schedule is comprised of playing other NFC teams who finish in the same spot in their respective divisionstandings.
Last year Philly won a meaningless game in Week 17 against the Giants to earn a second place schedule. Which is why the team is stuck facing such powerhouses as the Falcons, Packers and Seahawks this year. They will actually help themselves in the future if they struggle.
3. The division
The NFC East is much better than most people anticipated. The Cowboys seem poised to take a run at the title, with a schedule as easy as the Eagles’ was difficult (they have a last-place schedule). The Giants also have an easy schedule, but have shown big holes on both sides of the ball. Washington, which has won four games in a row, has played much better than many expected.
Philly — if they hope to win the division in 2016 — will need to win at least four of their five remaining NFC East games in order to have a chance.
The Eagles are young at their most important positions — particularly at wide receiver and quarterback — and the offense is learning. In 2017, Wentz’ second NFL season, the Eagles will have more chemistry and a better foundation to build on during Pederson’s second season. They’ll also, hopefully, have more experience at wide receiver, arguably their biggest area of weakness.
5. Lane Johnson
The Eagles will be able to achieve one of two things in 2017. They’ll have Lane Johnson at right tackle for the entire season (he was suspended 10 games for PED use last week, a penalty that is costing the Eagles offensive line mightily), or they will get out of a really big contract they just signed with him last offseason and open room in their budget to go after offensive linemen in the draft and free agency. Either would shore up the Eagles’ line, which is getting older and less reliable.