Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Eagles can win the NFC East

As so often happens this time of year, some teams, like the Packers and Bears, have receded via injuries and harsher schedules, and some teams, like the Eagles, have risen through improved health, and experience. And in December, those are the dangerous teams.

The Eagles can win the NFC East

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Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)
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The other day I was asked on Philly Sports Talk if the Eagles would win the NFC East.

I thought for a moment and figured, why not?

"Yes,’’ I said.

"Wow," said Michael Barkann, the host.

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But is it really `Wow’? Given the graduation of their defense, what you’ve seen from Nick Foles, the less publicized talents of special teams players such as Donnie Jones (and now, again, punt returner DeSean Jackson), is it really a stretch to believe the Eagles can win three games against teams hovering near the .500 mark and a fourth against a 3-8-1 Vikings team that has surrendered more points than any team in the NFL this season?

Is it really that hard to finish 11-5?

Or 10-6?

That’s a rhetorical question. The bigger question is whether 10-6 will be enough to get you into the playoffs. My, how things have changed. Just a few weeks ago we were discussing the possibility of winning the division with eight or nine victories. But as so often happens this time of year, some teams, like the Packers and Bears, have receded via injuries and harsher schedules, and some teams, like the Eagles, have risen through improved health, and experience.

As good and careful as Nick Foles has been, his defense has bailed out this team two weeks in a row with big, critical plays. That’s the kind of stuff that makes believers not just of us, but of themselves.

And in December, those are the dangerous teams.

True, the record of the teams remaining on the Dallas schedule is slightly worse than that of the Eagles, but it’s hardly significant and neither is intimidating. The Cowboys’ remaining opponents have a combined record of 21-26-1. The Eagles remaining teams are 23-24-1. You could even argue that a game against a Green Bay team that may have Aaron Rodgers two Sundays from now makes the Cowboys schedule the more daunting of the two.

The Eagles play both the Lions and Bears at home.

A few weeks ago we all also believed the only way to reach the postseason was to win the Division. But there are currently three teams at 7-5, one game behind San Francisco for that final spot.

The Niners still must play Seattle and then, on the last day of the season, Arizona. The Cardinals have St. Louis and Seattle to contend with prior to that game.

Granted, this is a more nebulous road to the postseason. But 10 wins might just do it.

Anyway, we can all drop the Wow now. Whether they pull it off or not, the Eagles are clearly among the teams that have improved the most since the start of the season.

And isn’t that what you wanted to see?

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