The Philadelphia Eagles might not be anywhere close to eliminated on paper, but another embarrassing performance in a Monday night loss to the New Orleans Saints has confirmed that the Eagles are much closer to the bottom of the barrel than the cream of the crop.
This isn't the NBA or Major League Baseball, where a championship team can conceivably be purchased. No, in the NFL, success is far too reliant on factors that go beyond individual accomplishments from years past.
The Eagles have players with Pro Bowl résumés in the secondary, the linebacking corps, on the defensive line, in the receiving corps, in the offensive backfield, at quarterback and even on the offensive line. They have a quarterback who I'd argue has the most unique physical skill set in NFL history.
And yet they have a worse point differential this season than the Cleveland Browns (2-7) and the Carolina Panthers (2-6). Most are surprised they're 3-5 at the midway pole, but the reality is that they're a few bounces removed from 0-8. (Their three wins came by a combined four points.)
This team is preposterously weaker than the sum of its parts, and anyone foolish enough to believe they'll right the ship suddenly and recover before the Michael Vick era is officially deemed a failure is in need of a reality check.
The Eagles haven't won a game since Sept. 30 and are now 11-13 since a 2011 offseason makeover that drew comparisons to what the Miami Heat had done a year prior in the NBA.
The Heat have since been to two championships as a "dream team," while the Eagles would now need a miraculous turnaround in order to prevent frustrated owner Jeffrey Lurie from wiping the slate clean by handing a pink slip to head coach Andy Reid and release papers to quarterback Michael Vick.
A win next week over the division rival Dallas Cowboys would likely only delay those inevitable realities. If that happens, stay off the bandwagon. This team can't be trusted.
Monday night's debacle in New Orleans encapsulated what has foiled this talented but unfocused team for a painful season and a half.
They panicked and ditched the run in the red zone, scoring just six points on five possessions inside the 15-yard line. And when it was time to panic later, they were eerily calm...and slow, failing to exhibit a sense of urgency down two scores in the fourth quarter.
They couldn't protect Vick, who was sacked seven times by a defense that had just 13 of them until Monday night, and Vick again couldn't protect himself. (I've never seen a veteran quarterback lack awareness like him.)
They couldn't execute when opportunities presented themselves, and they couldn't avoid the game-changing mistakes that they've become infamous for making.
They couldn't block; they couldn't tackle.
They were out-coached by a team missing their head coach, and they were outworked by a team lacking spirit.
And that's what has made this whole saga so depressing. The Eagles continue to crush the souls of their fans, while we've yet to find evidence that they give a rat's ass. They had a huge opportunity Monday night, with the rest of the NFC East losing on Sunday, and they delivered an effort that would make uninspired look downright invigorating.
This is a team that has a lot of really tasty ingredients, but together they're poison. The recipe's all wrong and the cooks don't know what they're doing. It sounds complicated, but that's football. You can't just throw a bunch of names together and hope for the best.
Monday night confirmed it. Despite having one of the NFL's most supremely talented rosters, the Philadelphia Eagles are one of the league's worst teams.