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Eagles at the Bye

Eagles at the Bye
Few people expected the Eagles to be 4-4 as they hit their bye week. (The Eagles return to action Nov. 11 when they host the Dallas Cowboys in a Sunday night game).

Yet despite the rough start, the Eagles control their own destiny. Of their remaining eight games, five are against NFC East teams – one against the New York Giants and two each against the Cowboys and Washington Redskins.

As stated frequently, the NFC East is down this season. The Redskins, despite a 5-2 record, have flaws and the same is the case for Dallas (3-4). The Giants (1-7) are a mess and a serious candidate to earn the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.

That said, the Eagles have to begin showing more consistency.

What is interesting is that other a 34-13 rout of the Giants, every other game has been decided by six points or fewer.

The Eagles have squandered several leads in games that turned into stunning loses. They led 17-3 midway through the third quarter in a 26-23 OT loss at Tennessee.

The Eagles had a 17-0 fourth quarter lead in a 21-17 home loss to Carolina.

It’s reasonable to think the Eagles should be 6-2, but that doesn’t matter.

The Eagles are scoring just 22.2 points per game and that is despite an impressive return by Carson Wentz.

After missing the first two games while recovering from knee surgery, Wentz is completing 70.7 percent of his passes for 1,788 yards, 13 touchdowns and two interceptions. The one knock against him is that Wentz has been prone to fumbling. He has lost five fumbles.

Wentz has also been hit a lot and has been sacked 21 times in six games.

So if that can be cleaned up, then the offense should become more effective.

The defense has been up and down.

In an opening 18-12 win over Atlanta, the defense looked like world beaters.

The net week in a shocking 27-21 loss at Tampa Bay, the Eagles allowed two, 75-yard touchdown passes.

The pass rush hasn’t been as effective, especially with several injuries across the defensive line. The Eagles have 22 sacks (while having allowed 26).

Fletcher Cox is enjoying another Pro Bowl season, but he has been double-teamed all the time and others will have to step up. Cox has a team-high four sacks.

The Eagles have greatly missed the contributions of underrated safety Rodney McLeod, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third game of the season.

The cornerbacks have been inconsistent and one reason teams such as Tennessee and Carolina have made late-game comebacks is that Eagles are having their regulars on the field longer. Last year the Eagles were able to rotate the defensive line but this season due to injuries, players such as Cox are out on the field much longer.

That said, everything is in front of the Eagles. The second half schedule isn’t easy. Besides Washington, the Eagles play three other current division leaders – the LA Rams, New Orleans and Houston.

With parity in the NFC, the Eagles could make the playoffs as a division winner or wild card, although the winning their division is likely their best bet.

One thing is certain – if they don’t show more consistency in the second half, then reaching the playoffs will be an even more difficult task than it already is.
           

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Author: Marc Narducci

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