Maybe the Eagles really aren’t that good.
Yeah, they are 10-2. And yeah, up until Sunday night’s 24-10 loss to the Seahawks they were the favorites in the NFC to win the Super bowl.
And yes, we know, they are a team that had prior fired off nine straight wins including five straight with 30 or more points posted. The defense is stout. The offense has weapons.
But if the playoffs started today, they would be the No. 2 seed in the NFC. They have yet to win the NFC East, and their strength of schedule, which is the reason they are the No. 2 team, has seen them lost two of three times they have faced a team with a winning record.
Their wins, against the Redskins, Giants, Chargers, Cowboys, 49ers, Bears, Broncos and Cardinals were cake walks. Their Thursday night win against the Panthers came on a short week, and in a weird form as always happens on the Thursday night game.
Second year head coach Doug Pederson has shown that he is not consistently a voice of wisdom as he missed several opportunities — like failing to challenge an obvious forward pass on a third and eight that could have altered the game with Philly trailing by one score. And the second year quarterback continues to overthrow wide open targets at critical moments (when he’s not fumbing the ball through the end zone).
“You can’t make those mistakes against good football teams on the road and expect to win,” Pederson said Sunday night.
This is not meant to overlook the incredible steps forward the team has made. Wentz will be an MVP someday and this team will win a Super Bowl. But the expectations are too high for a team this young and inexeperienced.
They looked a little out of sorts against the powerhouse Seahawks and their 12th man. Week 14’s duel with the similarly easy-scheduled and youthful Rams should be entertaining but will not resolve much. The Birds, without a home game in the NFC championship game, are vunerable to playing in Minnesota or New Orleans and could make an earlier than expected exit in a chance to advance to the Super Bowl as the home team wins 80 percent of the time in conference title bouts. And another loss could slip Philly out of a first round bye, forcing them to play on the road even sooner.
Eagles fans should be excited. With Alshon Jeffery locked down long term and 20 of 22 starters set to return next year there are few teams with a brighter future. But that future need a stepping stone — and unfortunately for optimistic Eagles fans, 2017 is that step.