Philadelphia Eagles: Why the 1-4 Eagles Can Still Make Playoffs
Having lost every single game since the the season opener against St. Louis, the Eagles are not looking good, sitting at a miserable 1-4 record.
The season is still early, but the majority of Eagles fans seem ready to give up. Only five NFL teams have ever gone 1-4 and then went on to make playoffs. History is against the team.
But Eagles fans should not yet give up. This team has the potential to make history in another way: by becoming the sixth team in NFL history to go 1-4 and make the postseason. It will be tough, as the Eagles will have to go 9-2 to reach the 10-win mark. But if any team can do it, it's the "Dream Team."
Here is why this Eagles team has the potential to pull that off.
1. The Eagles Have a Good Quarterback
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What do those teams have in common? They both had good quarterbacks in Steve McNair and Brett Favre.
And the Eagles happen to have one of the finest quarterbacks in the NFL.
Say what you will about Michael Vick, but he is a top five quarterback right now in this league. In the past two humiliating losses to San Francisco and Buffalo, he has thrown for 416 yards and 315 yards respectfully. He is averaging 267.2 yards per game right now and has already ran for 318 yards in just five games.
Yes, he needs to limit turnovers. Seven turnovers, even with half of them not being his fault, is unacceptable. But the new Michael Vick is not a turnover machine. He is one of the hardest workers on the team and will fix the problem.
A quarterback has a significant impact on the performance of a team through his playmaking ability and leadership. Vick does both very well.
He is as good at rallying a team for a comeback run as anyone else. Just look at last year's Eagles at Giants game if you want proof.
2. Key Players Will Soon Be Returning
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Against the Buffalo Bills, the Eagles struggled to get pressure on their mediocre at best offensive line. They also struggled to protect Michael Vick against a Bills team with few dominant pass-rushers.
But the Eagles will be getting help at those areas very soon. That help will come in the form of the eventual return of defensive end Trent Cole and left tackle Jason Peters.
Cole and Peters are among the best in the NFL at their positions. With Cole back, the Eagles will be able to continue to do one of the few things they have done well this season: get sacks.
And Peters will provide some much needed help on the O-line, helping to give Vick more than half a second to think.
Every team has injuries, but the Eagles are fortunate that they have yet to lose a significant piece of the puzzle for a significant chunk of the season (knock on wood). If they can pull out a win next week and allow Cole and Peters to return after the bye week, this Eagles team will have no shortage of weapons for a comeback run.
3. The NFC Is Very Weak
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Yes, 1-4 is pretty awful. But is it really as deep of a hole as most think it is?
Afterwards, the only other team to have more than three wins is the San Francisco 49ers (4-1), who are a good team, but not a great one by any means.
Then you have the Rex Grossman led Washington Redskins (3-1), New York Giants (3-2), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2), Chicago Bears (2-3), Atlanta Falcons (2-3), Seattle Seahawks (2-3) and Dallas Cowboys (2-2).
In other words, believe it or not, if the Eagles beat the Redskins next week, they are still in the hunt.
A win next week would place the Eagles at 2-4. The Redskins would fall to 3-2. Depending on how the Giants do, the Eagles would shockingly only be 1.5 games behind for the division lead.
There is also not a single team that was mentioned above (other than the Packers, Lions and Saints) that the Eagles in theory should not outperform.
Not to mention that the Eagles have so far only had one divisional game.
Therefore, luckily for the Eagles, if they get their act together the playoffs are certainly not out of reach on paper.
4. Andy Reid Has Led Comebacks Before
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People seem to forget that Andy Reid has rejuvenated struggling Eagles teams before and led them deep into the postseason.
Okay, maybe he's never had an Eagles team that has looked THIS bad or started this awfully. But nevertheless, don't count out his ability to fix the team quite yet.
Remember the 2008 Eagles? Callers on Philly sports radio shows were saying the same exact things they are saying now about the head coach. After a 5-5-1 record led most people, including Eagles fans, to leave the Eagles for dead, the consensus seemed to be that Reid's time in Philly had finally run out.
Do we remember how that season ended? With a 4-1 run to end the season, making the playoffs and advancing all the way to the NFC Championship game.
This 1-4 team has problems everywhere. But Reid has enough talent on both sides of the ball, and the right quarterback to turn this group of underachievers into another Cinderella story.
Reid has won more games and had more playoff success than any other head coach in franchise history. The least we can do for him as fans is to give him one last chance to right the ship.
5. Eagles Are Still Building Chemistry
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This is not meant to excuse the Eagles' poor play, but perhaps we are seeing the effects of a shortened offseason.
Other teams have underwent similar roster makeovers, but they also did not bring in so many new coaches.
Many expected the Eagles to hit a few bumps in the road at the start of the 2011 season. No one knew there would be this many bumps, but it is possible that the Eagles' struggles are still the result of growing pains.
Believe it or not, the Eagles have shown promise in each of their five games this season.
Even in their worst games, the Eagles have shown they can be a great team if they avoid mistakes. Against the Giants they were incredibly sloppy, but managed to improve greatly on the defensive side of the ball when they faced the 49ers. Defensive mistakes and turnovers would cost the Eagles the game, but they played a dominant first half for the most part.
Against the Buffalo Bills too, the Eagles started extremely poorly, falling quickly behind 21-7. But in the second half, they showed promise by rallying to put the team behind by only a touchdown. The defense too managed to force stops and to generate pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick. But foolish mistakes and turnovers by Jason Avant further cost the Eagles the game at 31-24.
The Eagles have shown what they are capable of in each of their five starts. They need to work on playing mistake-free football, and this team can soar to the top 10 of the power rankings.
Maybe losing a few games will ingrain that concept into the team's heads.