Philadelphia Eagles Week 12 Fact Or Fiction: Eagles NFC's Best Team?

Darren GrossmanCorrespondent INovember 23, 2010

Philadelphia Eagles Week 12 Fact Or Fiction: Eagles NFC's Best Team?

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    PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 21:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs with the ball against Justin Tuck #91 of the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on November 21, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    We are going to play a game called Fact or Fiction. It is used in some form by other sites. Basically, this week, two Eagles featured columnists will square off in a game of Fact or Fiction.

    Each writer got six statements to evaluate. Each write must answer "fact" or "fiction" and why. This week, for the first-ever Philadelphia Eagles Fact or Fiction, it will be the battle of featured columnists as Troy Ballard takes on yours truly, Darren Grossman.

    I am also looking for writers or just fans that would like to participate in a feature column of Fact or Fiction.  If you are interested, shoot me a private message or post in the comment section. 

    Ultimately, I would like one featured columnist a week and one fan, or sometimes two fans, and sometimes two F/Cs. If I get enough interest, this will become a weekly piece, so check it out and let me know if you want to participate in a future edition.

    Questions were sent out Monday morning and answered Monday night. 

    Hit Begin Slideshow to see the first question and the answers.

After Beating the Giants, the Eagles Are Definitely the Best Team in the NFC

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    PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 21:   LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs with the ball against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on November 21, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    After beating the Giants, the Eagles are definitely the best team in the NFC.

    Troy Ballard - FACT.  The Eagles showed how dominant they are by taking down two straight NFC East rivals. The Giants have the best defense in the NFL and the Eagles' high-powered offense was able to outscore the Giants and move the ball. The Eagles have won against the two 'best' in the NFC now; beating the Giants and Falcons now puts them at No. 1.

    The only other team that I would consider in the running for best team in the NFC is the Green Bay Packers. The Eagles took a close opening day loss to them, and they have looked really good throughout the season.

    It's just that Michael Vick is now playing on such a high level, and he is such a dynamic player, that defenses can't stop him. Vick is showing week after week that he can move the ball against any defense.

    The Eagles defense is finally hitting their stride and coming up with big turnovers and shutting down some off offensive weapons in the NFL. The Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC, thus making them the best team. 

    Darren Grossman - FICTION.   I would say they are one of the best teams, but definitely the best? That's questionable because New Orleans has been coming on strong; so have the Packers, who already beat the Eagles this year, and, of course, Atlanta has the best record in the NFC. 

    I think the Eagles could beat anyone but I am not sure I would say they are definitely the best.

    Score: 0 for 1

Asante Samuel Is the Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL

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    PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 07:  Asante Samuel #22 of the Philadelphia Eagles against the Indianapolis Colts on November 7, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Colts 26-24.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Asante Samuel is the Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL.

    Troy Ballard - FICTION.  Asante Samuel is a good corner, no doubt about it. You could make the case that he is one of the best in the NFL.

    But he plays the high-risk-high-reward style of coverage. Samuel is able to make the big play and get crucial interceptions, but there are also quite a number of blown coverages that lead to big plays for the offense.

    Not to mention his competition: Clay Matthews is easily the best candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. I don't think that Matthews has had one bad game this season. There are just too many good defensive players in the NFL, and Samuel just isn't having the same amount of success as other players this season. 

    Darren Grossman - FACT.  l know this will not be a popular opinion, but I really believe Asante is playing better than any player in the league. There are guys with more tackles and more big hits, but no one is better at creating a huge momentum swinging play than #22. 

    ny Defensive coordinator will tell you the key to defense is turnovers. Teams who force turnovers normally win games.

    Samuel has seven interceptions in 10 games and he is a ball hawk—the guy is always around the ball.  Also he is a shutdown cornerback and often takes a good WR out of the game.

    If he was an offensive player, he would get league MVP considerations. If you go back to his last two games vs. Peyton Manning, he has four interceptions, plus his two vs. Eli Manning on Sunday. That's six interceptions and a fumble recovery, or seven turnovers in his last three games vs. QBs named Manning. 

    That says a lot.

    Score: 0 for 2

We Should Be Worried About the Eagles' Red Zone Offense

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    PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 21:  Jason Avant #81 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts after dropping a touchdown pass against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on November 21, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    The Eagles should be really worried about their red zone offense.

    Troy Ballard - FICTION.  The Eagles struggled immensely trying to get the ball into the end zone against the Giants, and they ended up having to settle for field goals on almost all of their drives.

    I remember this being a problem when McNabb was the QB and the Eagles just couldn't seem to find the end zone. But, you have to keep in mind that the Giants have the No. 1 defense in the NFL, and their red zone defense is lock-down.

    The Eagles' lack of redzone success in the Giants game did not surprise me; the Giants defense is just too good. Vick and the Eagles offense are just too explosive, and there is no way that opposing defenses will be able to keep them in check and keep them out of the end zone.

    This was a one-game issue, I'm sure it will be resolved next week against the Bears. 

    Darren Grossman - FICTION .  It is true that you can not let teams stay in games by settling for field goals.  It almost cost the Eagles a win against the Giants and it will cost them a win at some point if they don't fix the problem. 

    They have to turn red zone chances into touchdowns and not field goals if they expect to go to the Super Bowl. 

    With that being said, you have a mobile QB in Michael Vick who can run it in from inside the 10-yard line. You have a dual threat in Vick and I think the Eagles will find the end zone plenty in the upcoming weeks.

    So I would not be really worried about it yet.

    Score:  1 for 3

Eagles Fans Should Have Renewd Faith in Sean McDermott

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    Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach Sean McDermott directs the defense  against the Dallas Cowboys November 14, 2005 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.  The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 21 - 20.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    With improved play the last few weeks, Eagles fans should have renewed faith in defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. 

    Troy Ballard - FACT.  Sean McDermott has been able to do an entire 360-degree turnaround with the Eagles defense. McDermott is running plays that get the defense in position to get turnovers, and it continues to show week in and week out.

    Obviously there have been some dark spots on McDermott's resume this year, but since those games he has has been able to change the Eagles defense into a turnover machine.

    The only thing McDermott can do at this point os get better. There is no reason Eagles fans should not have faith in McDermott, especially after what he has done the past few weeks. 

    Darren Grossman - FICTION. The defense has played well the last few weeks, but it will take more than that to have faith in McDermott from my point of view. 

    I think it's ironic that since the Eagles announced that Jauron would have more input in the defense, they have started playing better. McDermott might earn more faith over time, but a couple good weeks don't do it for me. After all, they still gave up 28 points to Washington two weeks ago despite the huge point differential.

    They shut down a depleted Colts team starting their third- or fourth-string RB and a Giants team without several offensive lineman and Steve Smith, so while they have played well, I am not sold yet.

    Score: 1 for 4

Eagles Will Finish 12-4 or Better

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    PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 07:  Head coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles against the Indianapolis Colts on November 7, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The Eagles will finish with a record of 12-4 or better.

    Troy Ballard - FICTION. The Eagles are on a roll right now. But the problem is that the Eagles have a number of tough road games before the end of the season.

    The most prominent one is the away game in New York. Not to mention the Eagles still have two games against the new and revived Cowboys.

    I would love to see the Eagles finish the season with 12 wins, but I just don't think it is possible with their current schedule. 

    Darren Grossman - FICTION.  I think Eagles lose when they play the Giants in New York, but other than that, I could see them winning the other five games. 

    I could also see them losing one more game, so personally I have to go fiction because I think 11-5 is more likely than 12-4. They could lose to Dallas or Minnesota late in the season, especially if they already have their playoff seed wrapped up, or they could lose at Dallas, which is playing better with Garrett at the helm. 

    The game at Chicago this week is no picnic either. With six games left, if they finish 4-2, they end up 11-5 and likely win the division, so that's the direction I'm leaning.

    Score: 2 for 5

The Chicago Bears Are for Real

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    CHICAGO - OCTOBER 24: Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears celebrates a defensive touchdown against the Washington Redskins at Soldier Field on October 24, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Redskins defeated the Bears 17-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Gett
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Chicago Bears, who the Eagles play Sunday, are a legitimate contender in the NFC.

    Troy Ballard - FICTION.  The Bears are a team that is just too hot and cold to be a legitimate contender. They have had some games where they look like they could be headed to the Super Bowl, and then others games where they look like they shouldn't even be playing in the NFL.

    They could be a threat, but there is just no consistency on the team. Jay Cutler is either red hot or ice cold, and their defense is either lockdown or can't stop anything. Give the Bears a few years and they will be a serious threat, but they just don't have all the pieces together this year.  

    Darren Grossman - FICTION.  Although a win against the Eagles would change my opinion. The Bears remaining schedule is brutal, I think Bears go 2-4 rest of the way or maybe even 1-5 and miss the playoffs.

    The Bears' remaining schedule: Philadelphia, New England, NY Jets at home and they play @Detroit, @Green Bay, and @Minnesota.

    It will be tough to win three of those games. If they lose to the Eagles, they have to go 3-2 the last five games to get to 10 wins—I don't see it happening.  

    Score:  3 for 6

    After a rocky start, Troy and I split the difference and went 3 for 6 for the week.  I would like to thank Troy Ballard for helping me out with PHIALDELPHIA EAGLES FACT OR FICTION. Did Troy or I misfire on something? Let us know in the comment section.  Want to participate in a fact or fiction? Shoot me a message.