Saturday, November 12, 2016

Eagle's Second Half Run Starts with a Battle of the Birds

A perfect 3-0 start gave way to a 1-4 run in their next five games so our beloved Birds find themselves at 4-4 on the year and at a crossroads in their season. A loss to Atlanta this Sunday at home will probably signal an end to any plans that involve a trip to the playoffs in Doug Pederson's first season as head coach and Carson Wentz's first campaign as the Eagles new franchise quarterback. However, a victory against another quality NFL team as underdogs at home could spark a run that might land the Birds in the postseason for the first time since Chip Kelly was a first-year head coach back in 2013.

That is just the way things go in the NFL this time of the year. One key victory here and there can quickly define the entire direction a mid-level team like Philly takes over the rest of its season. Like I mentioned last week, the future is so bright I have to wear shades; however another loss on Sunday could put me in the dreaded position of having to root for a team that might be forced to simply ride out the string in a NFC playoff race that should remain fairly wide open all the way to Week 17.

If the Eagles can somehow get past Atlanta this Sunday and go on to win four more games between next week's road matchup against Seattle and Dallas at home on New Year's Day, they would be 9-7 on the year and still in contention for a possible wild card spot in the playoffs. There is still a chance that the over-achieving Cowboys implode over the second half of their season to keep the race for the NFC East wide open. The fact that Philly still has three home games against each division rival on the slate over the final four weeks of the year could set the stage for a dramatic run to a division title.

Hope springs eternal as a die-hard Philly fan and the only reason why I think the Eagles can still make a run to the postseason is the few glimpses of success we have enjoyed over their first eight games. There is a solid argument that they should be 6-2 with added wins against both Detroit and Dallas. There is also some definitive proof that Carson Wentz could be a perennial Pro Bowl caliber quarterback in the very near future. Playing stout defense is once again a top priority and overall I honestly believe that the Eagles are only a few players away from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

The last time our Birds' backs were against the wall was against the then-undefeated Minnesota Vikings and I predicted a big win (after going 0-3 with my picks in their previous three games). A high-flying 6-3 Atlanta team is coming to town this Sunday and I am once again making a bold prediction that the only wings getting clipped in this Battle of the Birds will result in a pile of Falcon feathers on the turf at the Linc when the smoke finally clears!

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