Eagles vs Saints: Playoff Aspirations Aren't Realistic for Pair of 3-5 Teams

Darin PikeContributor INovember 6, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 5:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles is sacked by Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 5, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the Eagles 28-13.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints handled the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, at least when the Eagles weren't beating themselves. The Saints secured a 28-13 win to move to 3-5.

The Monday night telecast produced several comments that I found interesting.

The biggest assertion was that seven different teams have rebounded from a 3-5 record since 1990 to reach the playoffs. As such, the Eagles and the Saints are still alive to reach the postseason.

While it is possible for a team to rebound from this slow a start, neither of these teams has the capacity to go 7-1 down the stretch and reach the playoffs.

Perhaps if the Eagles' defense could merge with the Saints' offense a playoff team could emerge, but neither of these teams is complete enough to make the charge.

Starting with the Eagles, the offense is in shambles. They have a lot of talent, but that isn't what makes a great team or a great unit.

The 2011 Philadelphia team learned that weakness at a position group would cost wins. Last year, it was the linebacking corps. In 2012, it is the disappearing offensive line.

The front five can't protect Michael Vick and they don't create opportunities in the ground game. The lack of protection contributes to the turnover problems and keeps the team from sustaining drives.

As an example of that issue, Philadelphia gained 447 yards and had 24 first downs on the game, yet they only managed 13 points in the loss. 

This isn't a Vick issue. It is an offensive issue that starts with a complete lack of protection.

New Orleans has major issues on defense. The unit lacks continuity and has struggled to stop opposing offenses. They've given up 400 or more yards in all eight games this season.

There just aren't enough teams like the Eagles that will shoot themselves in the foot with fumbles and interceptions. 

Is it possible for a team to rebound from 3-5 to make the playoffs? Certainly, and it happens, on average, once every three seasons.

But it isn't going to happen in the NFC in 2012. It will take at least 10 wins to reach the playoffs this season and a 7-1 finish isn't realistic for either team.

The Eagles play Dallas and Washington twice, along with the New York Giants. A team can't surrender seven sacks against the Saints and expect to turn their play around overnight. 

The Saints, in the same fashion, can't continue to allow opponents to drive the field and still win games. 

They face Atlanta twice, the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants. They don't have the makeup of a 10-6 team, nor do they have the schedule to allow them to get there.

Both of these teams are at 3-5 because they have deficiencies in their teams. They are not great teams, as some have asserted. They are highly talented as individuals, but there are fatal flaws that undermine the team efforts.

They have the building blocks to succeed in the near future, but it won't happen in 2012.


Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.