Thursday, December 18, 2014

What they're saying: Are Eagles contenders?

Raise your hand if this thought crossed your mind Monday night while watching the Saints dismantle the Patriots:

What they're saying: Are Eagles contenders?

Can Andy Reid´s group compete with the likes of the Saints and the Vikings in the NFC? (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Can Andy Reid's group compete with the likes of the Saints and the Vikings in the NFC? (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)

Raise your hand if this thought crossed your mind Monday night while watching the Saints dismantle the Patriots:

Do the Eagles have any chance of competing with New Orleans?

That's the question. Because if you don't believe the Eagles can compete with the Saints or Vikings, then what's the point of fooling yourself for the next month or so? You've been down that road year after year with Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb. Some of you have made it clear that you've seen enough.

That's why I sense the excitement in this city has not reached a greater volume, even though the Eagles are at 7-4 and in good shape to earn a postseason berth. As we sit here before Week 13, the Eagles do not appear to be in the same class as the Saints or Vikings.

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I'm not here to wave the green and white pom-poms, but I am here to warn you that it's too early for that kind of proclamation. Hold off on the pretender/contender talk for a bit. Don't believe me? Just take a look at the last two years.

In 2007, the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants were 7-4 going into Week 13 and had just come off a 41-17 loss to the Vikings. They, of course, won three games in the playoffs before upsetting the previously undefeated Patriots.

Last year, the Cardinals were 7-4 going into Week 13 and were coming off a 37-29 loss to the Giants. The following week, they fell to the Eagles, 48-20 as we all ripped their 'D' for allowing 85 points in two games. Arizona, of course, went on to win three playoff games and was one drive away from winning the Super Bowl.

Keeping that in mind, here's a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week:

SI.com's Don Banks has the Eagles ninth in his power rankings:

Here's hoping Brian Westbrook's concussion issues don't signal the beginning of the end of his stellar NFL career, but it has become obvious that the future of the Eagles running game lies in the hands of rookie LeSean McCoy. Did you see McCoy's refusal to go down on his game-tying two-point conversion in the comeback win over Washington? You can't teach that kind of second effort and drive. You can only take advantage of it.

SI.com's Peter King has the Eagles 10th in his Fine Fifteen:

DeSean Jackson joined Brian Westbrook in dingland Sunday. In today's NFL, that could be trouble in a very big game next week at Atlanta.

ESPN.com has the Eagles ninth:

Donovan McNabb's leadership has helped with his young offense's skill position players.

FoxSports.com has the Eagles 13th:

They are still playing some of the sloppiest football in the league, but the Eagles won the past two weeks almost in spite of themselves (really Reid, an opening-kickoff onside kick against the Redskins?).

Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post says Brent Celek's contract compares favorably to recent tight end deals:

Although certainly not at the level of the top-of-market tight end contract awarded to Kellen Winslow in April ($36M, $20M guaranteed), the deal compares favorably with tight end contracts that set the standard a few short years ago: Antonio Gates in 2005 ($24M, $9.1M guaranteed) and Jason Witten in 2006 ($29M, $12M guaranteed).

Pete Prisco and Clark Judge of CBSSports.com agree with Donovan McNabb that Michael Vick will get a warm reception in Atlanta.

Prisco has the Eagles eighth in his power rankings:

They struggled some against the Redskins and now must go on the road at Atlanta. That won't be easy.

USA Today has the Eagles ninth.

Yahoo Sports ranks the Eagles' 4th-and-26 game as the eighth-best game of the decade:

Also known as "Freddie Mitchell's lone contribution to the '00s," Donovan McNabb connected with Mitchell on one of the most unlikely and memorable plays of the decade. Down 17-14, a penalty, a sack and a couple of incompletions put the Eagles squarely behind the 8-ball with a fourth-and-26. Mitchell ran a deep slant over the middle, Green Bay inexplicably played behind him, McNabb got him the ball and Mitchell made the play. It set up a field goal to send the game into overtime, where the Eagles were able to finish it off.

Pro Football Talk has the Eagles 10th:

With a trip to the Meadowlands on deck, the Eagles can't afford to let Chris Redman beat them.  

Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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