The Eagles are 5-5. But what is this team beyond the numbers? Trying to figure out what this team really is…well that’s a lot tougher than it sounds.
There is a 3-game losing streak and a 2-game losing streak. There are a pair of 2-game winning streaks.
4 of the 5 wins are by 11 points or more. The other win came when the Eagles blew a big lead.
4 of the 5 losses are by 10 points or more.
In games with less than 3 turnovers, the Eagles are 5-2.
That last item may be the real key here. Sheil Kapadia once wrote that he hates when analysts say the key to a game is turnovers. That’s just lazy analysis. He’s completely right, but there are times when what is obvious is the key. The Eagles had 5 turnovers and lost to the Chiefs by 10. The Eagles had 3 turnovers and lost to the Giants by 8 points.
The turnovers in these games weren’t all forced. There was a muffed punt by Damaris Johnson. There was a bad snap by Jason Kelce. There were INTs thrown by Vick when he had a clean pocket. There was a terrible fumble by Matt Barkley when he could have thrown the ball away easily. These were Eagles mistakes, not plays made by the defense.
When the Eagles don’t make those kind of game-changing mistakes, they have mostly won this year.
The game won’t be solely decided on turnovers, but it sure does look like that makes a huge difference. Kelly doesn’t need to say anything different. His players know what to do and what not to do. It is just up to them to play a cleaner game.
(I left out the Dallas game since the Eagles already trailed 17-3 before Barkley started throwing his picks. They killed any chance of a comeback, but didn’t help build the deficit. )
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I am curious to see what the Eagles do on Sunday. This game is a big opportunity for them. They can improve to 6-5 and take sole possession of 1st place in the division. They can end the annoying losing streak at The Linc.
The Eagles can also show that they are becoming a good team. The Skins are a division rival, but a bad team. This is the kind of game you need to win.
The thing that Chip Kelly wants more than anything is consistent play. He wants the Eagles to start to play well every week and not just based on situations or matchups. If the Eagles avoid the mistakes mentioned above and execute plays as they’ve shown they can, they should play well and win this game. Doing that is tougher than it sounds. There is a reason that some teams struggle to find consistency.
This will be Nick Foles 3rd straight start, his most since last year. His presence in the lineup should help consistency. Mike Vick is a bit more of a hot and cold player. Foles had the crazy game against Dallas, but has played well other than that.
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While there is starting to be some buzz on the Eagles and more than a few in the media are starting to see them as the favorites to win the NFC East, there are no guarantees. The Eagles could easily lose on Sunday. That would drop the team to 5-6 and really get people talking about the home losses.
Depending on what went wrong in the game, there could be more talk about whether Foles is good enough, whether the defense is good enough or which particular spot needs to be upgraded in the offseason.
The 2013 Eagles feel like a team that could go 9-7 and steal the NFC East crown in a weak year, but this team could easily prove themselves to be just as mediocre as many thought back in the summer.
Sunday will be another hint as we try to find out the identity of this Eagles team.