Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The End or, The Inches We Need Are Everywhere Around Us

So how bad is it? Bad. Very Bad.

The Eagles lost again last night, giving them a 4-5 record and effectively ending their season. There is virtually no hope of the playoffs now. McNabb is banged up again. The team's weaknesses are obvious to everyone and easily exploited. Worse: They no longer have a championship swagger, the confidence that winning teams use to get the close ones.

How bad is it? The Eagles aren't just 4-5, they're 0-3 in their division. Before this season the Eagles were 22-4 in the NFC East over the last four years. Read that again 22-4. Those days are long gone. It isn't clear that the Eagles will finish this season with even one victory in their division.

And don't go buying the argument that this is just parity with the rest of the NFC East catching up. Yes, the Redskins, Giants, and Cowboys are each slightly improved, but none of them is as good as their records suggest and I'll be very surprised if any of them is good enough to win even a single playoff game. It's a mediocre division and the Eagles are locked, gimp-style, in a box in the basement.

How bad is it? Over the last few years Philadelphia was Cover City. Before this season, over the last four years the Eagles were an amazing 44-29 against the point spread--that's money in the bank. This year they're 2-7.

Mind you, the point spread isn't just about betting. It's a measure of a team's dx/dt, their slope: The spread is a good indication of whether a team is under or over-achieving. Forget their absolute record: The Eagles used to be an over-achieving team; now they're not.

How bad is it? McNabb should go in for surgery--now. There's no sense in keeping him on the field for meaningless games and risking more serious injury. Westbrook should be kept to a minimum of carries and the coaching staff should find out if Lamar Gordon is good enough to get 15-20 carries a game.

It's bad in Philadelphia right now. But we won't know how bad until next season. We know that Andy Reid can manage a reclaimation project; we know that he can manage a winner. Now we have to wait and see if he can manage a rebuilding year.

9 comments:

Damian P. said...

Hmmm...this probably isn't the best time to point out that my Bears are 6-3, with 5 consecutive wins and a two-game lead in the NFC North.

Then again, I'd be worried if the Bears couldn't beat teams like the Aints and the Niners. The big test comes against Carolina this Sunday.

No comment on Jesse Jackson's defence of T.O. yet?

Anonymous said...

If Philly fans were rational they would not be upset.
The reality is that the Eagles recent success over the past few years were due to their being a pretty good team in a weak division (their three main rivals being pretty disfunctional during the time) in the lesser of the two conferences. They are the greatest team that never won anything.
McNabb appears to be a good guy but has he ever risen to the occasion?
Their defense has been pretty good but do you think that if they saved their energy by foregoing the posing and preening after every single tackle that they might actually have something in the tank when the game is on the line?
I am really enjoying this meltdown for what it is doing to the Iggles fans - the most boorish, obnoxious and least educated of all fans on the East Coast. Fuck 'em!

greg said...

Gosh, Damian... This probably isn't the best time to point out that my Colts are 9-0, with... well, nine consecutive wins this season and a three-game lead on the AFC South. I fully anticipate the Panthers will give the Bears more than they can handle this Sunday.

Serenity Now said...

the Eagles are locked, gimp-style, in a box in the basement.

At least you know what headline to use when the Eagles make the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

When I lived in West Chester, PA during the mid-1990's; I remember the sports-news saying whenever there was trouble with the Eagles there was "unrest in the nest".

Anonymous said...

JVl, your Iggle analysis is flawed, as per usual. The NFC East is actually one of the stronger divisions in football, and will probably have two, and perhaps three entrants in the playoffs. Sadly, the Beagles will not be one of them. Your problems boil down to coaching. Any eighth grade coach knows that you use your best weapon. Reid finally remembered he had one of the top playmakers on his roster, Westbrook. Instant running game, IF you stay committed to it. Why he decided to throw at the end of the game is a mystery, but Jones must have pictures of him reading Hustler and drinking a double shot espresso.

Sean Hackbarth said...

My lousy Packers won Sunday which means they don't have the worst record in the NFL. The team isn't that bad. A string of injuries has crippled them this season. What I want is for the Pack to not win another game this season and draft Reggie Bush with the #1 pick. That should get Favre to return for one more season. With a decent free agent or two they could make a run for the Super Bowl.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Redskins, Giants, and Cowboys are each slightly improved, but none of them is as good as their records suggest and I'll be very surprised if any of them is good enough to win even a single playoff game.

I think this is just nonsense. I think the Skins will fade and be watching the playoffs on TV, but the Giants and Cowboys look like they're in the same class with the rest of the NFC leaders -- should they be afraid of the Bears and their rookie QB in the playoffs? The Seahawks? The Falcons?

Even the Panthers, who seem to be the class of the NFC by default, may not be that tough -- they've ridden the easiest schedule in the NFL (according to Sagarin) to a 7-2 record, and have only played 2 teams with a winning record.

I won't be at all surprised to see the Giants or Cowboys in the NFC Championship game.

James Wigderson said...

"I won't be at all surprised to see the Giants or Cowboys in the NFC Championship game."

Well, the Cowboys. The Giants have a quarterback that can't win on the road.