The Eagles close out the first half of their 2016 NFL regular season schedule this Sunday with a trip to MetLife Stadium to square off against the division rival New York Giants. They have gone 4-3 in their first seven games and if they knew how to finish games they would be 6-1 at the very least. A late fumble sealed their fate with a loss in Detroit and last Sunday night in Dallas they could not hold onto a 10-point lead heading into the final quarter.
I get the fact that this is a young team under first year head coach Doug Pederson. Philly has a rookie at quarterback and its entire defense has received a complete makeover under the guidance of Jim Schwartz as the new coordinator. We have already seen complete efforts on this side of the ball when this unit rose to the occasion to hold Pittsburgh and Minnesota to a combined 13 points. However, the loss to Washington and last week's late-game collapse tells us that this defense cannot be trusted to carry this team. Unfortunately, that is what Philly needs while Carson Wentz and Co. try and improve an offense that is ranked 29th in the NFL in passing yards per game (208.3) and 28th in total yards (317.7). The defense and special teams have helped to pad a 25.6 point scoring average that is ranked 10th in the league.
The big problem is that the Birds teased us with that 3-0 start followed by the upset over the previously undefeated Vikings. At closer examination, the team's first two wins were against Cleveland and Chicago, who are now a combined 2-14 and Pittsburgh and Minnesota are both highly overrated to take a bit of the luster away from those two wins. On the flip side, the Lions are a much better team than expected and winning division games on the road is always a tall task.
This Sunday's game against New York should go a long way towards pointing which direction Philly takes over the second half of the season. The remaining schedule is not in its favor with Atlanta and Green Bay at home sandwiched around a West Coast trip to Seattle over the next three games. A road game against Cincinnati is no picnic and the Eagles still have to get by Baltimore on the road. The other three games are all against division opponents at home to possibly set the stage for a fantastic finish.
Do not get me wrong, I love the new look of this team under Pederson and Schwartz and the future with Wentz at quarterback has never been brighter. That being said, I am just like all the other Eagles fans out there in my desire to watch a winning team now as opposed to waiting until these young Birds grow some feathers that can really make them fly.