Great Minds Don't Always Think Alike: The Fate of the Philadelphia Eagles

C KSenior Analyst INovember 9, 2008

I'm proud to announce a new little activity here on Bleacher Report. I, Christian Karcole, and a fellow writer, Scott Eisenlohr, will be conducting a weekly debate.
Each Sunday, the two of us will bring a topic to the table and debate it.
We will be alternating who posts the debate each week. This week, I am the one posting it. Next week, Scott will post it, and so on.
Here's how this will work:
The person who is not posting the debate will get the opportunity to choose the topic and take a side. They will then present their argument to the person who is posting it. That person will then respond to each of the others' points made in the argument. Any questions? Well if you do, then just continue reading and you'll find out what I mean.
This week's topic as chosen by Scott is: Do the Eagles have what it takes to get to the playoffs?
Scott's argument will be in regular text, while I will respond to each of his points in italicized text. Here it goes folks:
Scott: The Philadelphia Eagles are at a crossroads in their 2008 NFL season. At 5-3, they face a home matchup against division rivals and defending Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants.
Experts in Las Vegas earlier in the week posted the Eagles as a three-point favorite. Figuring that three-points accounts for home-field advantage, it makes this contest a pick 'em game.
Will the Eagles take charge, go miles ahead of the slumping Cowboys, reach the same station as the Redskins, and serve notice to the Giants? I'd like to think so, but I think not. Here is why:
1. The running game: Brian Westbrook is not the only back for the Philadelphia Eagles, but by far is the most productive. Correll Buckhalter filled in nicely while Westbrook was hurt but rarely plays a lot of snaps when Westbrook is on the field. The Eagles are a pass first, run-second team and have rushed for just 779 yards while the Giants tandem of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw have rushed for 1,301 yards.
The lack of dependence on the rush will not hurt the Eagles on Sunday night, as weather conditions are favorable. But as the weather turns cold later this month and in December, the Eagles better get the ground game going.
Christian: Scott, you bring up a good point with the rushing yards, but don't forget that Westbrook has been out for two-and-a-half games.
Also, the team does not soley depend on Westbrook's running. They rely a ton on his receiving, especially earlier in the season with the receiving injuries. Now, with the receivers back, a little less pressure will be on Westbrook, which can help his rushing yards.
Plus, when you look at Jacobs and the New York rushing game, you need to look at who they have played as well. The Giants have played bad defenses like: St. Louis, Cincinnati, Seattle, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Dallas. That's six bad defenses out of eighth games.
So yes, the rushing game hasn't been terrific for the Birds, but Westbrook has been out and has not been able to get into his groove and the cold weather will only help. The ball will be given to Westbrook to run more and more and his yards will just climb and climb.

Scott: 2. When is the last time Donovan McNabb played a full season? OK, that is true for many teams, but it's critical for the Eagles. And McNabb is a more effective player when he rips off a first down or touchdown inside the four-yard line. Who can stop him when he goes for 4th-and-1?
Christian: McNabb is healthy as can be right now, and he's on fire. He's feeling good and is leading his team to victory. He's much more accurate than he has been in the past, and he just looks good on the field altogether.
Also, he's becoming more and more mobile, as shown in some of his recent games.
In my opinion, there's absolutely no need to worry about his health, especially with this stout offensive line protecting him. They've allowed just 13 sacks in their first eight games.

Scott: 3. Lito Sheppard. The Eagles were right, going out and getting Asante Samuel to supplant the historically injured Sheppard. He has been worth every penny the Eagle overpaid him. But Sheppards' feelings and pride have been hurt and to this point; he has been relatively quiet.
He is not and never will be Terrell Owens. He has too much class for that. But when is he ever going to get rid of that jerk agent, Drew "Lee-toe" Rosenhaus? OK, that says nothing for his play. But with him being a nickelback and not playing every down, he will get burned for long touchdowns when he comes in every third play of a defensive series as the season progresses.
Oh, but how I love his play. Who among Eagles fans will forget Keyshawn Johnson kicking his helmet 30 yards when Sheppard jumped his route on a Monday night to preserve an Eagles win over the Panthers two years ago?
Christian: I don't think there's a problem here at all Scott. Lito's been very very quiet and is not complaining. That is because of his mediocre play. He's not playing terrible; he's playing just as he is expected with his role.
Also, I don't care very much about his agent. Agent's are agent's. They can't force a player to do anything. They just "advise" them with their money situations. Rosenhaus is a good agent who gets his money, so I have no problem there.
I just see no problem at all with the Lito situation as of right now. This will be a problem at the end of the season, but not now.

Scott: 4. Andy Reid's stubbornness. The Eagles' move to franchise tag tight end L.J. Smith looks more and more like a bad move. As another Bleacher Report writer said, when is the last time you saw L.J. Smith get YAC? Uh, never? If Reid was not so loyal and so stubborn, he would start Brent Celek NOW!
Also, see the running game notes above. This is, will be and forever, pass first team under coach Andy Reid.
Christian: Honestly, I cannot find a valid argument here. You're 100% right. His stubbornness will hurt the team. He does need to run some more in certain situations and needs to hand over all of the plays to Marty Morningwheg.

Scott: I hope I am wrong, but a bad snap (i.e. Tommy Hutton and Chris Boniol, who could forget) will account for a "what if?" loss on Sunday night.
I see the Eagles losing tonight by the score of Giants 21, Eagles 20, and I predict the Eagles to end up with an end of season record of 7-9.
Christian: As I said above, Donovan's in his groove and Westbrook should be getting into his shortly. The team should start to click very soon and this defense is only getting better.
Now I do not think the Birds pulling out a win tonight against the Giants (Giants win 17-10), but I do think the Eagles will come out with a positive end of season record at 10-6 with the Eagles making the playoffs as a wild card.
There you have it folks. That marks the end of the first debate.
Who won in your opinion? Let us know, down below.
Next week, Scott will be posting this as we will be taking on a new topic.
I hope you enjoyed this new little activity. Just one thing...We aren't the brightest at making clever titles, so we need your help.
Do you like this current title slogan? If not, give us some of your ideas. They are greatly appreciated.