Philadelphia Eagles: 4 Reasons Eagles Could Still Make Playoffs
The Philadelphia Eagles suffered a demoralizing blow to their playoff aspirations on Monday night, but the Eagles could still qualify for the postseason.
At 3-5, the Eagles are mired in third place in the NFC East, and nine teams in their respective conference rank ahead of them right now in terms of playoff standings.
A 7-1 finish to the regular season would put the Eagles at 10-6, a record that would almost certainly be good enough. A 6-2 finish would make the Eagles 9-7, which would be right on the edge in terms of both the division title and the wild card.
The following slides cover four primary reasons why the Eagles could still make the playoffs.
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The raw talent to win football games is there. Michael Vick is arguably the game’s most dynamic quarterback when he’s playing well. LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin give the offense a slew of playmakers.
The skill is there on defense as well. Trent Cole and Jason Babin excel at getting to the quarterback and the cornerback position boasts a trifecta of players that have all been to the Pro Bowl.
The key is simply getting maximum production out of these players while minimizing mistakes.
2. New Systems Take Time
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Few teams were as affected by the offseason lockout as much as the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only were the new additions to the team not allowed to practice together, but the coaching staff couldn’t meet with the players to teach the schemes either.
Once the lockout ended, training camp began almost immediately, followed by the preseason and now the regular season.
This means Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had to almost learn on the job. Defensive line coach Jim Washburn instituted a wide-nine scheme and first-year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo has been using Asomugha in press coverage frequently.
This took time for the players to learn, and this is a growing process that will continue to require time.
3. The Schedule
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The Philadelphia Eagles have eight games remaining. Four of those—hosting the Arizona Cardinals, at the Seattle Seahawks, at the Miami Dolphins and hosting the Washington Redskins—should be relatively easy wins. Those teams have a combined record of just 9-23.
The Eagles have struggled this year against playoff-caliber teams. Their five losses have come to the 5-3 Atlanta Falcons, the 6-2 Giants, the 7-1 San Francisco 49ers, the 5-3 Buffalo Bills, and the 5-3 Chicago Bears. Winning the upcoming games against the Giants and Cowboys will be especially critical, considering they are not only NFC foes but divisional rivals.
As the Eagles’ remaining eight games are against teams with a combined 28-36 record, rebounding to make the playoffs can be done. It won’t be easy, but the schedule is favorable.
4. The Second Half
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The second half has been kind for the Philadelphia Eagles under Andy Reid. Since 2000, the Eagles are 57-39 in the first eight games, good for a .594 winning percentage. In the final eight games, the Eagles are 59-28-1, a .676 winning percentage.
Two of those late-season losses were in the ’04 season, when the Eagles rested their starters. If those games are removed, the Eagles are a .692 team in the second half.
The New York Giants currently lead the division at 6-2. The Giants have historically slumped in the second half. Since 2004, they’re a 47-17 team in the first eight games (.734) and a 24-32 team in the next eight games (.429).
In all seven seasons with Tom Coughlin at the helm, the Giants have performed worse in the second half of the season.
The Giants also face a brutal schedule, beginning with a matchup this week with the 7-1 San Francisco 49ers. Their last eight games are against teams with a combined .615 winning percentage. While the Eagles still have their backs against the wall, these reasons enough should restore some hope for Eagles fans.