It is time for week 13 Fact or Fiction, will the Eagles get a first round bye? Who is to blame for the loss to the Bears? All that and more in this week's edition. For the second straight week, Troy Ballard will take on myself, Darren Grossman, but stay tuned because next week one of the Fact or Fiction readers is going to get his chance to go head to head with Eagles featured columnist Will Holt.
Want to be that reader? Shoot me a private message and I will add you to the Fact or Fiction rotation. The questions went out on Monday and answers are due by Tuesday evening.
So click begin slideshow and lets get started.
1. The Eagles losing to the Bears means it is unlikely they will get a first round bye in the playoffs.
Troy Ballard - Fact - It seems like this loss just about sealed the Eagles chances of receiving a first round bye. The Eagles schedule is looking more and more difficult, and the last thing the Eagles have on there minds is the first round bye. I'm sure that the top priority for the Eagles at this point in the season is just securing a spot in the playoffs.
The Eagles still have one last game against the Giants, and this time around it is in the New Meadow Lands, which is going to be the biggest obstacle in reaching the postseason. The Eagles narrowly picked up the win at home and I don't know if they will have the same amount of success, or luck whichever you prefer, against the Giants in their stadium. This may be the one loss that could cost the Eagles the postseason and it is going to be the biggest game of the season.
Then also the possibly threatening Dallas Cowboys, that are now just playing as the spoiler against the Eagles. I wouldn't be surprised if the Eagles swept the Cowboys this season, but it is still going to be a tough few games just like every other season.
It is going to be tough for the Eagles to win out against the Giants and the top priority should be getting into the postseason, and not focusing on a first round bye.
Darren Grossman - Fiction - I'm not saying they will get a first round bye, but they definitely still have a chance. Let's say the Eagles win 10 games, meaning they go 3-2 in their next 5 games, that seems doable, right?
OK, well, the Falcons get one first round bye. Clearly, the NFC West isn't going to get a bye, so that leaves the North. The Bears still play NYJ, NE, @Green Bay, @Minnesota, and @Detroit....You are telling me they can't go 1-4 in those 5 games? I could definitely see them going 1-4 in those games and finishing 9-7.
So then that leaves the Packers. They still play @New England, plus the Giants. If they lose both of those games, they would have to win their other 3 games to beat out the Eagles. That is assuming the Eagles go 10-6. I see 2 losses minimum for Pack and 3 for Bears, so 11-5 gets you a bye and 10-6 might get you one.
2. The Eagles loss squares fairly on the defense and coordinator Sean McDermott, who should be on the hot seat again after a poor showing.
Troy Ballard - Fiction - Sean McDermott definitely deserves some of the blame for the poor defensive performance against a relatively weak Bears offense, but I don't think that it would be fair to place all of the blame on him. There is no doubt that some of McDermott's calls during the game were very questionable, especially on the Bears third down plays. It seemed like McDermott was playing a conservative defense and was afraid to send the blitz at Cutler and this terrible offensive line.
But I think the main portion of the blame has to be placed on the Eagles players. I can't tell you how many times I saw missed tackles and blow coverages during that game, especially on Matt Forte. The Eagles line backers were unable to get Forte to the ground and seemed like they were playing on their backs the entire game. The Eagles secondary, was just pathetic. They may have been missing both starting corners, but that is no excuse to give up four touchdowns to Cutler.
This was just a poor showing all around from the Eagles defense and I don't think it would be fair to place all of the blame on McDermott. I am still holding my ground that McDermott has the potential to be a good coach. I don't think that a few poor seasons by the Eagles defense this season is necessarily reason to just boot the guy from the job.
Darren Grossman - Fiction - I don't think you can blame the Bears loss solely on McDermott but I also think he should still be on the hot seat because he is not a good coordinator. Look, the Eagles D played well the last couple of weeks but that was against a clearly depleted Colts team and a depleted Giants offense. If the Eagles miss the playoffs, it will be solely because of the defense. Even last week, the offense scored 26 points, that should be enough to win the game.
That being said, I don't think you can blame the loss just on McDermott. He can't tackle the guys, and the Eagles were without Asante, which hurt them greatly.
3. Not having Asante Samuel played a bigger role than anyone realized, with him, Eagles would have won.
Troy Ballard - Fact- I was shocked at how empty the Eagles secondary looked without Asante Samuel playing, I know that Eagles fans complain that he can not tackle, that he takes way to many risks, he can't cover physical receivers, and the list goes on. I think that any argument that states that Samuel is not a valuable asset to the Eagles defense should be totally dismissed following the Eagles last game against the Bears.
Samuel was clearly needed in a lacking secondary, and his veteran leadership and experience were missed. Without Samuel, Cutler threw to the right side of the field almost every single time he dropped back. The final stat line was almost nauseating to see how many ties Cutler was able to throw to the area where Samuel should have been playing. I feel like the Eagles defense was just lacking enthusiasm and effort throughout the entire game, and Cutlers ridiculous numbers reflected that.
The Eagles also finished the game with no turnovers, something that Samuel excels at.
Darren Grossman - Fact- Anytime you take a guy like Asante out, it kills your game plan. He has the ability to shut down one guy by himself, which allows you to double team other players or blitz more. The Eagles did not do a good job on defense making up for no Asante, but I am not sure they have the players to do a better job. Samuel is a great defensive back, he is one of my favorite Eagles, and I really think the Eagles need him on the field to have any chance to win games down the stretch.
I am scared of thinking about what Andre Johnson is going to do Thursday night if Asante Samuel sits again. The Eagles couldn't cover a terrible Bears WR corps, how are they going to cover a better Houston offense without Samuel?
Score: 2 for 3
4. The Eagles will not win more than 10 games since they lost to Chicago.
Troy Ballard - Fiction I think that the 10 win season for the Eagles is going to come much easier than most are anticipating. The fact that the Eagles have to play a down and out Houston Texans and a depleted Minnesota Vikings should lead to at least two wins. That leaves one more win to get to the 10 win mark.
The Eagles could easily do this against a sub-par Cowboys team, and avoid being swept in the series. One of these games is going to be played in Philadelphia and I really doubt that the Eagles will drop a game to Dallas at home. I am actually expecting the Eagles to sweep the Cowboys, even if they have shown some impressive performances. The Eagles are just a far more dominant team and will look to get some revenge following a last season wiping.
The remainder of the Eagles schedule should allow them to reach the 10 win mark. But the issue is, will that be enough wins to make it into the postseason?
Darren Grossman - Fact - I think they could win 10 games, but not more than 10 games. I know this might seem weird since I said they still have a chance at a first round bye, and I think they do, but this question says more than 10, which means they would have to go 11-5. I don't see that happening.
Honestly, in this parity riddled NFL season, the Eagles could go 11-5 or they just as easily could go 9-7 or 8-8. There are a lot more options for 10 or under, so I have to go fact here. If they lose one to Dallas and they lose to NYG, that's 10 wins if they win the other 3. I am not sure they beat Houston if Asante doesn't play.
Score: 2 for 4
5. Stewart Bradley is one of the 5 worst MLB in the NFL.
Troy Ballard - FACT - Unfortunately, I am going to have to agree. I really liked Stewart Bradley when he played in Nebraska and I was really excited when the Eagles drafted him. He had a few good seasons with the Eagles and following his ACL injury, he is just not the same type of player he used to be.
Bradley has shown little improvement as the season has progressed, and he just can't seem to find any defensive rhythm. He looks continually out of position and can get burned by some really non-receiving tight ends. Not to mention his tackling has been poor this season, and it showed more and more in the Eagles last game against the Bears. Another big problem with Bradley is he can't seem to get any pressure on the QB on any of his blitz packages.
Bradley isn't the line backer he used to be and the Eagles should look to move on.
Darren Grossman - Fact - I will go even farther, he might be the worst MLB in the NFL. I've never liked Bradley, people say he was good before he got hurt? Really? When? I must have missed that because there is not a more overrated player in the history of football than Bradley.
People act like this guy was amazing at one point in his career. This guy has always sucked and he always will suck. I think getting injured hurt him, but he was not any good before he got hurt. He is always out of position, he misses tackles, and he gets burned in coverage.
The only good thing about him is he is better than Omar Gaither, but MLB is the weakest part of our defense. We need to spend a high draft pick on MLB or a free agent, but the Eagles won't because like most Eagles fans, they are under this disillusion that Bradley is or was at one point a good MLB. The guy is a bum.
Score: 3 for 5
6. Eagles OL had their worst game of the season vs. Bears
Troy Ballard - Fact - The Bears were all over Michael Vick. Vick was under pressure on almost every play and he was forced to make quick throws without really being able to read the defense. I think Vick would have had some more success just taking the snap and running to the non-Julius Peppers side. I feel really bad for LeSean McCoy who was forced to make all of his own runs and try to make something out of nothing on every hand off.
The Eagles offensive line was just pathetic in this last game. They somehow were able to hold up against the Giants tough defense and give Vick enough time to look down the field. But they just flat out collapsed against the Bears defense. There were a host of penalties that costed the Eagles big and created third and longs, and eventually ended in a number of punts and desperate attempts to get first downs on fourth and longs.
Darren Grossman - Fact - The fact I am going fact here says a lot because the Eagles OL was dreadful a lot at the beginning of the year. Vick was constantly under pressure, I think if Kolb was the QB, he would have been sacked more than 10 times. Heck, he might have been sacked 15 - 20 times. The Eagles OL at times looked like they were not even there. I know the Bears front 4 is good, but that was ridiculous. They have to play better down the stretch or the Eagles are in big trouble. Luckily, Houston is not nearly as good up front.
Score: 4 for 6
After a contentious first week, Troy and I agree more than we disagree this week. Thanks for reading and next week, the Eagles F/C Will Holt will take on a bleacherreport.com Reader. Will that be you? Send me an e-mail and let me know or post on the board. GO EAGLES!