At this point in the season, every Eagles fan in the country has hit the panic button. Many have completely given up and the calls for Kolb and a new coach are increasing every day.
I am hearing, “Thank God for the Phillies,” every day. And I don't get it. Our season is over, just like that? I don't think so.
Why is everyone giving up? Why are we so convinced that our season is over? Not one Eagles fan I have talked to believes we have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs. WHY?!
We did just tie the Bengals. That's terrible. But we didn't lose. We have a winning record.
We're 5-4-1 right now. Five wins, four losses, and one tie that should have been a loss. We're sitting in last place, exactly where we finished last season and in 2005, and where we almost finished in 2006 (thank you, Jeff Garcia).
The NFL is an up-and-down sport. One week a team is a playoff lock. Two weeks later, fans are counting them out. Two weeks later, they're considered NFC favorites.
Point differential nothing in the win-loss column. A win is a win, and a loss is a loss. But it does make me feel better about this team.
The Eagles don't win close games. They win blowouts. We haven't won a close game since we knocked off the 12-1 Cowboys in December of last year (a four-point win that would have been 11 if Brian Westbrook hadn't kneeled down on the one-yard line.).
We haven't lose a blowout game since the Cowboys clobbered us in Philly last November (38-17).
The Eagles have lost four games this year and not won a fifth. These have come by a combined 19 points. Take 21 points off the Rams game from week one, spread them out, and the Birds are 10-0. This isn't possible, obviously, but what it should do is open your eyes to the fact that this team is not as bad as we think.
And you know what? Why couldn't we make the playoffs this year? We're 5-4-1.
We won't win the division, but a wild-card berth is possible.
Eight teams from the NFC will compete for the final two-wild card spots over the season's last six games: the Redskins, Cowboys, and Eagles from the East; the Packers, Bears, and Vikings from the North (one of these teams will win the division); and the Panthers, Bucs, Falcons, and Saints (one of these teams will win the division).
The Bucs are the only wild-card team more than a game ahead of the Eagles (7-3). They have a difficult remaining schedule and project to finish with 10 wins.
The Falcons are 6-4, one-half game ahead of the Eagles, but they lost an October matchup to Philly. Atlanta has a brutal remaining schedule and could easily finish with a losing record, or at best, 8-8.
The New Orleans Saints have split their first 10 games. They have a 2-4 conference record and will just not be good enough to compete for a playoff spot.
The Cowboys and Redskins have each defeated the Eagles already. Neither is a great team—combined they have scored 411 points and allowed 411 points.
The Packers, Bears, and Vikings all have major holes. Green Bay is clearly the best team, but all three are 5-5. The Bears hold a head-to-head advantage over the Birds.
However, neither of these teams will win more than nine games this season, eliminating the possibility of a wild-card team from the NFC North.
The Eagles stand one-half game behind the collection of 6-4 teams in the NFC. They have a difficult remaining schedule (38-22 combined record), with three divisional games in the final month of play. They play two winning teams in five days, thanks to a Thanksgiving matchup.
Their only game against a team with a losing record is Dec. 15, at Cleveland—the only team to defeat the New York Giants this season.
Call me crazy, but I think the Eagles are going to the playoffs. This team is so good that in its worst games, it only loses by a handful of points. In the worst game I have ever seen this team play, we didn't lose.
You know how good teams get beat by really bad teams and it's like a wakeup call to them? The Browns beating the Giants. The Rams beating the Cowboys. The Rams beating the Redskins.
We just had our wakeup call. And we didn't even lose.
The Eagles also know that they might be playing for quarterback Donovan McNabb's job—possibly even Head Coach Andy Reid's.
The Eagles ended last season with three straight wins. They ended 2006 on a miraculous five-game winning streak, including three straight road wins against the division. They earned five straight wins in 2002 after the injury to quarterback Donovan McNabb. They are one of the best December teams in football.
They need to likely finish at 9-6-1 to reach the playoffs. This means four wins in the final six games. The Cleveland game is a virtual lock for a win. That means that Andy Reid, Donovan McNabb, and the rest of the Philadelphia Eagles need to win three of their five games.
It could happen, Eagles fans. It might happen. I think it will happen.
Get your finger off the panic button. Have faith. We're going to the playoffs.
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