At this point, we all know that Vince Young, among other Eagles players, described themselves as the dream team during the offseason. "I feel like we're the Miami Heat of the NFL," said Jason Babin, one of the free agents acquired by the Eagles. Since that point, we've all laughed and taunted the Eagles as we watched them start the 2011 NFL season at 2-4. As they lost four straight games we all mocked them saying, "Yeah, dream team, huh?" However, is it so far fetched that the Eagles truly are the Miami Heat of the NFL?
The Miami Heat started the 2010-2011 NBA season horribly. Through the first two months of the NBA season the Heat had a laughable 10-8 record. This was only a few months after Lebron James predicted eight championships for his new team. Many credited the Heat's slow start to the fact that the "big three" seemed to be out of sync and unable to play together. Sound familiar?
The Eagles, thus far, have not quite been able to gel together and play like a team. We have to remember that this season is coming after a four and half month lockout. These players have been together on a football field for less than three months. We also have to remember that these are professional athletes. They get paid to play the game. This unfamiliarity will not last long. In fact, it seems like it is ready to stop immediately.
The Eagles' four losses were to teams that have a combined record of 17-9. That includes a one point loss to the 5-1 San Francisco 49ers, a four point loss to the 4-3 Atlanta Falcons, and a seven point loss to the 4-2 Buffalo Bills. The remainder of the Eagles' schedule includes only four teams that currently have a winning record. They also get to play the 0-6 Rams and 1-5 Cardinals.
Besides the run defense (23rd in the NFL) the Eagles have played good football, statistically. They are currently eighth in pass offense, first in run offense, and tenth in pass defense. Now they just need to take their pretty numbers and start using them to pull together wins. I believe that they will. Expect to see the Eagles catch fire, just as the Miami Heat did last year. After starting 10-8, the Heat used the last four and half months of the season to go 48-16, finishing the year at 58-24.
The Eagles could easily win seven to nine of their last ten games and fight for a wild card spot. It helps that the Giants are only two games ahead in the NFC East and the Eagles get to play them again this year. The other divisions are not particularly strong either. We all know the west will only send one team. Each of the other three have a chance to send two teams, but the Eagles are as good as any of the other teams that will be competing for a wild card berth (i.e. Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, and Dallas).
The opportunity is there for the taking. The important part is that the Eagles have a chance to live out the "dream" they so confidently claimed a few months back. It is obvious that they have the talent to be one of the most dominant teams in recent memory. However, if they keep playing to the level of the Miami Heat in the early part of last season, they may be playing out a nightmare created by none other than the Philadelphia Eagles.