Three-And-Out: Predictions For the Stretch Run

mccoy_400Welcome to a special bye-week edition of Three-And-Out. Tim and Sheil make their predictions for the final five games.

Key player

Offense


McManus: LeSean McCoy

As we wrote about this week and discussed on our show Thursday night, McCoy has needed every ounce of his elite talent to keep the ground game up and running over the last several games. The open space that he enjoyed early on when Michael Vick was healthy has been filled with swarming defenders that are selling out to shut McCoy down. No longer concerned about the quarterback keeping the ball on the read option, the defense is able to flow towards McCoy without hesitation.

Recently, the 25-year-old has relied largely on his video-game like shiftiness to get his yards. With a lesser back, this offense might be in a little trouble.

McCoy put a scare into this organization when he grabbed for the back of his leg against Washington. The Eagles need him to stay healthy and fresh. He is on pace for 309 carries this season. His previous high was 273, set back in 2011.

Kapadia: Nick Foles

What's made me a bit hesitant to jump all-in on the Foles bandwagon is that I rarely see him do anything that makes me think: Wow. There aren't many QBs in the league who are capable of doing THAT.

But over the last couple weeks, I've had a bit of a revelation. What's made Foles so successful this season are the subtle aspects to playing the position. For example, he's a master at pump-faking one way and setting up a screen to the other side. On those same plays, he does a great job of waiting until the last possible second to deliver the ball over the top of the defender.

On deep balls, he knows how to look the safeties off with his eyes before delivering. And it's tough to not be impressed with the way he's taken care of the football. Foles has played 359 snaps and turned it over once - on a fumble where the line blew the protection and he got crushed. He's gone 162 pass attempts without throwing an interception.

Foles looked as comfortable last week as he's looked all year. He knew where to go with the football, put his passes in places where the receivers could pick up YAC and connected on throws downfield. The last five games will be about seeing if he can sustain this run and lead the Eagles to an NFC East title.

Defense

McManus: DeMeco Ryans

From management to coaches to players, everyone in the organization is quick to sing the praises of Ryans.

"DeMeco is the leader of our defense and he's having an outstanding Pro Bowl year and we couldn't be happier with everything DeMeco is doing for us," said Billy Davis. "He quarterbacks the defense ‑‑ we give him a lot of leeway.  He can get us in and out of defenses. Gets us in the best defense possible, and as the season has gone on we as a staff have gotten more and more comfortable in his ability to put us in good situations, and he has, and from there he's done a great job playing the middle linebacker position, between tackle to tackle, he is a force....We couldn't be happier with DeMeco."

Ryans has become sort of the central nervous system of this defense. He is critical to the operation, and has played every snap for this unit in nine of 11 games. The mileage is piling up. As Paul Domowitch first pointed out, the 28-year old is on pace to play more than 1,200 snaps this year. The most he's ever played is 1,074. The Eagles better hope this whole sports science thing works.

Kapadia: Fletcher Cox

Chip Kelly described him as a "disruptive force" recently, and I think that label fits the second-year player pretty well.

The sense I got early in the season was that Cox was frustrated with the scheme change. He had a great rookie season playing for Jim Washburn and all of a sudden was being asked to two-gap and do some more of the dirty work. But the coaching staff deserves credit for keeping him on track, and Cox's effort is paying off.

He's showing off his athleticism, constantly making plays all over the field in the run game. And he leads the team with 19 QB hurries. No other Eagle has more than eight (per coaches' stats). Cox's continued progress will be critical down the stretch. If he keeps up his current pace, he may have a shot at a Pro Bowl berth.

Prop bet of the week: Over/under on Eagles wins the rest of the way -- 3. Whaddya got?

McManus: I think three is the number. Here's the rest of the schedule:

Dec. 1: vs. Cardinals, 1 p.m.
Dec. 8: vs. Lions, 1 p.m.
Dec. 15: at Vikings, 1 p.m.
Dec. 22: vs. Bears, 1 p.m.
Dec. 29: at Cowboys, 1 p.m.

I can see the Eagles splitting the first two games out of the break. Minnesota looks like a win, and they should be able to pull one out against either Chicago or Dallas. That puts them at 9-7. Not a cakewalk, but all are winnable games. That finale in Dallas could be awfully meaningful.

Kapadia: Three makes a lot of sense, but for the sake of this exercise, I'll go under. In other words, I think it's more likely they go 2-3 than 4-1.

According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles' have had the seventh easiest schedule through the first 11 weeks. Things get a little bit tougher down the stretch. They have the 11th-toughest.

All five games are winnable, but there are some tricky matchups. Arizona's defense has played well. Containing Calvin Johnson is a challenge for every opponent. And Chicago has played tough despite the Jay Cutler injury. These should be competitive games down the stretch.

Prediction: Do the Eagles make the playoffs?

McManus: I say yes. For one, the rest of the teams in the division have done little to distinguish themselves. But this is also about the Eagles, who seem to be trending in the right direction. I like the attitude I'm seeing, the defense is playing sound, disciplined ball and Foles is doing a very nice job operating Kelly's offense. Put it all together, and I think it adds up to a postseason appearance. What about you, Sheil?

Kapadia: I'm saying yes also. And I think it comes down to that final game in Dallas. I picture Howie Roseman e-mailing Kelly articles that suggested Monte Kiffin shut down his offense in the first meeting and steam coming out of Kelly's ears.

It will be a big moment for Foles. After laying an egg against Dallas the first time, he'll get a chance to redeem himself with the stakes even higher. The Cowboys are still dangerous through the air offensively, but they lack balance.

The Eagles leave Dallas with a win, a 9-7 record and an NFC East title.

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  • Justin

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed how good Foles is at pump faking. It’s something we saw rarely with Vick, and it certainly has been helping him. As for our final record, either 9-7 or 10-6, with me leaning towards 10-6. Loss to the Lions, Bears is a tossup.

    • BirdGang

      hahaha is there a person bad at pump faking?

      • sprawl

        Did you see how badly RG3 was staring down his targets Sunday? If we had some more veteran DBs they would’ve eaten him alive.

        • BirdGang

          No I must have missed that. Could you actually tell how bad he was staring down his WR or did you just hear someone say that?
          And that could be due to multiple things…not feeling comfortable in the O. Not understanding the plays…or maybe even feeling the pressure to win.
          But man Nick Foles is becoming my boy…he is my QB in fantasy and he is the QB of my eagles. But I would hate to see everyone say this man is the next franchise QB…just to have him play like crap the rest of the season. there is no need to compare this man to anyother QB in the league. He is Nick Foles and that is it.

          • sprawl

            I remembered some bad RG3-ness towards the end when I was watching the game again last night even though he had success with the passing game.

            2:30 left in the 4th and it’s clearly 1 read all the way for him. Fox even gives you some nice zoomed in replays of this particular play.

            2:05 left, ~30-40 yard throw for incompletion to his 1st read. He takes the snap and watches the guy run down the field for ~4 seconds before letting go.

            2:00 left, ~25 yard pass for the 1st down you actually see him turn his head a little as he makes a couple reads on the same side of the field before throwing. Yay.

            1:25 left he does another ~3sec stare-down to Moss on his right to try for a 10 yard pass and Boykin reads it all the way to jump in front and knock the ball away.

            Etc.

            Let’s enjoy Foles =)

  • jon h

    Guys, the choices for O and D seem fairly obvious – wondering who you think are the wildcards on each side of the ball.

    • jabostick

      If you’re saying wildcard as in someone whose play could swing dramatically/significantly (positively or negatively) and impact the game, I’d probably go Cooper or one of the OL. If Coop is playing lights out, the offense can be devastating. But a clean pocket for Foles is probably a bigger deal. Probably Lane or Kelce…

      On D, I’d say Kendricks, maybe. He might have the biggest ‘playmaker’ potential but has also been pretty inconsistent

      • nicksaenz1

        Going that route, I’d go Herremans. He starts pass blocking like he did last game and that line holds up for Foles just fine. He’s been the weak link for most of the season.

    • Joe from Easton

      Offense I’d say the true wild card (as in definition of wild card) is brad smith. What if chip installs a post-bye package where all of the sudden, during “blur time”, Foles is split out wide and Smith is the QB running RO with shady or DJax in the backfield or there’s a triple option for Foles to fake to mccoy, run, or dump to brad smith who hits the slot man down the seem? It all sounds crazy and is probably improbable, but it IS Chip that we’re talking about.

      On defense the wild card is Curry. Can he make a push for 50+% PT after the bye-week and give the Eagles a more legitimate pass rushing threat? If he can, then the defense definitely goes up a tier in my book.

      • Joe from Easton

        I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Brad Smith got in during his first game in Eagles green less than a week after being signed. Kelly knows he’s a “swiss army knife” kind of player and will probably come up with some gimmick plays for him at some point. Not saying that will be this season or often, but it’s fun to think about.

      • bill

        Smith IS intriguing, since they’ve already worked him into some snaps, but I don’t think it will be anything that crazy (I could be wrong though, obviously). I get the feeling they’re going to use him over and over and over as a decoy/motion guy. See what kind of attention he gets with his open-field ability. Then, when they’ve lulled defenses to sleep on him…BAM. It’s a play they’re going to keep in their pocket until they need it.
        Getting Curry more time would be a big help, but in a 3-4 2 gap system, the pass rush isn’t going to get significantly better until they get an edge threat at OLB.

        • Joe from Easton

          Yea, I can see Smith being used in that way. It just offers a big play ability which when I think of “wild card”, that kind of comes to mind.

          Regarding a DE vs OLB in a 3-4 two-gap; I would generally agree with you, but there are anomalies, or “wild cards” haha. I think curry has that kind of potential. He’s disruptive whenever he is on the field, but is run support is still suspect and that will keep him off of it.

          • bill

            I agree with all that, the thing is – if he becomes a more disciplined 2-gapper (and therefore better run defender in the scheme), his disruptiveness will by necessity decrease, since much of his disruptiveness in the pass rush comes from his ability to penetrate with a quick first step.

          • Joe from Easton

            Very true sir. I didn’t really look at it that way. Damn; now I have to change my wild card prediction! I’ll go with Charlie Kelly.

          • bill

            If Curry could be as disruptive a wild card as Charlie, the Eagles will be in the Super Bowl!

    • theycallmerob

      wildcard-
      (o) Big Lane; time to earn that first round pick status. Good year, but about to go up against some great D fronts (ARI, DET, CHI still has peppers). also that time of years rookies supposedly hit their wall
      (d) Allen. If he can continue his strong play alongside the bad Chung/hurt Wolff, it will help the CBs tremendously. Some good individual talents coming up- Fitzgerald, Megatron, R. Bush, Forte, AD. He’s been laying some wood in run support. needs to stay physical and healthy

      • Joe from Easton

        I like it. I just gave a bleacher report follower (that was blasting allen) my opinion of how far allen has come.

      • Andy124

        Optimisitc Take:

        wildcard-
        O – Ertz. As DJax and Coop continue to make big plays on the outside and Shady makes plays in the running game, the middle of the field could open up more and more for an improving playmaking tight end. He could end up with some really big games down the stretch.

        D – Allen. The confidence is still growing and he hasn’t plateued yet. He’s gone from liability to solid already and play-maker status isn’t far away. We’ll also be playing some aggressive QBs who, combined with our high scoring offense, could be forced to challenge the deep safeties more often, giving Nasty Nate more chances to really impact the game.

  • GEAGLE

    man…I have no idea how these next 5 games play out..My I guess is 3 of 5, but this team is friggin HUNGRY, PROFESSIONAL and UNITED..young players in a new scheme drastically can improve as games get under their belt…I watched FOles last week and I was just blown away. He just isn’t supposed to do what he does THIS SOON..he makes it look easy to the point where people aren’t blow away, and THATS what’s the impressive part..Kapadia is so right! the kid just gets sharper and sharper at the nuances of the position. his confidence continues to grow! and soon enough you will start seeing the smart kid become a terror at the line of scrimmage. This time next year he will be the puppet master to opposing defenses, in a poor mans Peyton mode. Just wait til the kid starts pulling the it strings and forcing defenses to tip their hands pre snap, and we have a smart QB, and a smart center in Kelce to make the right Checks…we will become THAT much more Dangerous of an offense..

    United, young teams, who gain confidence every week and stay grounded, can get HOT!!! If this team really has the 1 game at a time blinders that they seem to be wearing, who is to say they can’t get hot and beat all 5 of these teams? I think how we come off the BYE week against a tough defense that we historically struggle against(Zona) is going to TELL THE STORY…If we lose steam because of the by week, then I will expect another loss or two….but if The bye week rejuvenated us and we come out sharp against Arizona……WATCH OUT!!! We will start coming down hill like a boulder that just keeps picking up speed with every game that passes…

    • Richard Colton

      Nobody pump-fakes like FOles. Nobody.

      • GEAGLE

        l0ve it!!! Nothing more dangerous than a hungry,confident and united team that gets Hot in December!!! Can we be that team? We will have to pass some pretty tough tests to do it…if we can get hot and learn to beat teams I like Zona,lions, bears and make Dallas pay, Niners and the Panthers won’t be that excited about coming to philly..

  • Andy124

    Over/Under on games flexed to prime time: 2

    • DEBO 215

      Push. Chicago and Dallas.

      • Andy124

        I was thinking Detroit and Dallas.

        • nicksaenz1

          Chicago’s run D is awful. Shady should have over a hundo in that game.

        • GEAGLE

          They better keep dirty Suh away from FOles!!!

        • DEBO 215

          I figure Chicago and Dallas because both us and Chicago will be fighting for playoff spots and the game against Dallas could be for the division. The Detroit game isn’t an elimination type scenario yet, but both of the two last games very well could be.

          • Andy124

            True. My reasoning was star power. Bush, Megatron, Stafford and Suh can make for a ratings pull.

    • cliff henny

      sounds like nfl is fixing alot of that. allowing cbs to take an early fox game and move it to 4pm timeslot if important. arent sunday night’s games announced for rest of season?

      • nicksaenz1

        Are there any Saturday games this year?

        • cliff henny

          maybe weeks 15-16, but nfl doesnt change days. should, fix mnf mess. nbc is laughing at espn over that now.

          • nicksaenz1

            Definitely is. These MNF games have been awful. That said, most TNF games have been, too.

          • cliff henny

            only watched eagles tnf game. rather watch big bang and reruns of alaska frontier

    • Alex

      Under. Dallas only flex. Lemme know where I can bet it.

      • Andy124

        Same place you can bet Sheil and Tim’s over/unders.

    • Spooonius

      is this week’s game flexed?

      • Andy124

        It’s flexed all the way to next week. :)
        There were initial reports that the Arizona game was flexed, but that has been dispelled.

        • Spooonius

          Ha! I’m still in denial about the bye week. Thanks for the update.

  • DEBO 215

    I’ll go one better and say they finish 10-6. I think they beat Arizona, Minnesota, Chicago and Dallas but lose to Detroit. I like them at 4-1 down the stretch, especially with the monkey off of their back at home now.
    I think Barwin will be their best defensive player down the stretch. He looks great right now.
    I’d like to say Shady is the key to this offense (He’s the best RB in the league not named Adrian Peterson, and it’s not close), but it is the health of Foles or Vick. If Barkley has to see a single snap, we’re boned.

    • jabostick

      I’m catiously optimistic about 4-1 too. Detroit’s secondary has looked horrific. That might be a major shootout but I don’t trust Detroit on the road. I’d be more worried about Chicago just because they can play a couple of ways offensively and their D is more stout. I’m interested in the matchup with Zona’s D but trust Chip with an extra week of prep. Minny is a win.

      Hopefully Dallas has Romo’d/Garrett’d their way out of the race before the finale. I don’t know if my body could take the anxiety/blood pressure spikes

      • cliff henny

        sorry, i want that Dallas game to be for all the marbles. and watch eagles dismantle the cowboys, see jerrah in luxury box getting redder and redder by the td. fox showing oregon off vs kiffen stat over and over as romo and dez have sideline meltdown

        • jabostick

          I know. The 44-6 game (and the events that led up to it) was so incredible. One of my favorite fan moments ever. I would just be so miserable if we lost, though. I’m getting anxious just thinking about it haha

          Either way, if it’s an elimination game, I’ll have to take the next day off work.

          • cliff henny

            could play saturday…but, yeah, probably still wont be right by monday

        • G_WallyHunter

          “we’re gooder than that tony! We the best in the league!” …. My god when I heard dez say gooder on that soundFX I laughed so hard

          • Joe from Easton

            Wow, wow.

        • Pennguino

          What about the psyc angle in that game on Foles. The first Dallas game is the only black mark on Foles’ career this year. All the pressure and all the marbles.

          Does Foles answer it with a Oakland type Game? If the team struggles…What will be the mind set of the players? Will they still have the fight or will the reflect back to the first meeting?

          I love how Foles is making the position look effortless. All of his mental work is leading to calm effortless showing on the field with great results. Doing what you say in Dallas would be a HUGE boost going into the playoffs.

      • BlindChow

        Chicago’s D has been pretty awful this year. This isn’t the Chicago we’re used to.

        • DEBO 215

          This is why I think they can get one on the Bears. Couple that with how our D is playing and also the fact that Cutler may still be out (more then likely), and I see them beating the Bears.
          Detroits offense just scares the shit out of me.

          • Joe from Easton

            The Eagles offense scares the shit out of Detroit! Go birds!!!

      • DEBO 215

        I agree that I’d rather not have to worry about beating Dallas, but I think it will keep this team in rhythm if they have to beat them. Complacency is contagious and could ruin their first round. I’d rather see them stomp Dallas on the road and go storming into the playoffs angry.

      • Adam

        Chicago has had our number for the last few years and my boss is a big Bears fan. I’d love to finally be able to stick it to him.

    • cliff henny

      be great! home playoff game against most likely Carolina. Cary Williams and steve Smith will start fighting pre-game and not stop probably till well after post game pressers. Cox will lay a bonecrusher on Cam and give crowd newton’s superman bs pose.

      • jabostick

        That would be a legendary shove-fest. Ice up, bro!

      • GEAGLE

        Crazy to say it, but I can’t say that I fear Carolina or the Niners coming to the Linc….I just don’t see our Oline laying down and getting bullied by the Panthers Dline, and I don’t see our Dline getting bulled by the Niners Oline

        Rather see Carolina. Strong front 7, but when we are On, I like shady against anyone..and if our Oline can have a strong game, Folesy should be able to torch that secondary. Cam is playing better than kAp, but I think we shut down Carolina’s run game easier than then it would be to shut down Gore.

        Can’t wait to play against Detroit and Chicago, we will learn a lot from those games

        • cliff henny

          no, 1st rd wouldnt be scare game, probably be underdogs, but so what. now 2nd game, in seattle or NO, just want good showing. but, that’s some serious cart before horse shizzy there!

          • GEAGLE

            Exactly…NO FEAR in first round…second round I wouldn’t expect a win, but hope for a respectable competitive showing in a loss we learn a lot from…..that’s my ceiling for THIS season..the basement is a meltdown where we miss the playoffs by one game

        • DEBO 215

          I think the only teams in the NFC that I’d say we don’t have a shot against are New Orleans and Seattle. They’re both just awesome. Not to say it can’t happen…but that’d be some long odds, lol.

          • GEAGLE

            I would agree…

            although Seahawks have a suspect Oline(sucks that we would have o play them on nthe road)
            ..
            And the Saints defense while much improved, is still suspect…WTF would we do about Jimmy Graham? Yikes!!,
            ..,
            Don’t want to go TO Seattle, and don’t want to face Brees, sproulh and Graham

          • cliff henny

            awesome…at home. gotta get good enough those teams have to come to philly

      • DEBO 215

        Love it.

  • Bdawkbdawk

    It does seem that Foles has been able to pump effectively. But watching him, it doesn’t seem like his pump is really quite dramatic or compelling. I really hope that it holds up as teams get more tape on him.

    • DEBO 215

      If it can hold the safety for a half a second, it worked. Doesn’t have to be pretty.

      • Bdawkbdawk

        I don’t disagree. I also think that pump fakes are more compelling if your opponents don’t have as much tape on you, or at least your move.

        • macadood

          there’s not much that film can produce. even if you try to train yourself to not react to his pump fake motion. all it takes is a twitch by the qb and it will produce some reaction from the defense. even an 1/8 second can help open up a window.

        • GEAGLE

          Smart kid, works at his craft…it’s all going to improve

          • Bdawkbdawk

            That’s what I hope. I just think its silly that we are trying to attribute Foles’ success to a very uncertain characteristic. All pump fakes are not created equal. That should be obvious. Otherwise people would be faking left and right and the QBs who faked the most would be the most successful.
            It’s like having a good offspeed pitch in baseball. Some pitchers are just filthy and can ring up whomever they face because of their “stuff” and pitch progressions, and some pitchers have intial success but, once the tape gets out, have trouble facing teams more than once.
            Will Foles continue to get guys to bite on pumps indefinately, or is he going to have to improve his time of release, arm strength, and decision making to continue this success? In any case, we will see soon, but it’s been half a season, in the words of that guy football fans like to quote, “Let’s put away the anointing oils.”

          • Kev_H

            For years former players and coaches have been saying that it’s about the eyes. The pump fake, even if it is a slight twitch, really helps sell it and moves the safety. It seems like most QBs are challenged just finding a receiver in the chaos and they zero in on their target. Foles seems to have a basketball player’s vision similar to what Kurt Warner was able to develop in arena football.

  • southy

    The bye is definitely coming at a good time. Rest up fellas, you’ve got a great stretch run coming up in December.

    (never thought I’d be saying this during 2013)

    • GEAGLE

      What a beautiful sound…say it again! Considering our 2012 season ended on halloween! meaningful football in December was all I could ask for

  • That Dude

    Sheil…not a troll question and not comparing Foles to Brady, but when you watch Tom Brady, “Wow. There aren’t many QBs in the league who are capable of doing THAT?” If you say look at Brady’s results, dont you have to say the same on Foles?

    • jabostick

      I hear what you’re saying. The ‘results’ argument with Brady, though, is based on the championships. There’s plenty of QB’s who have nice regular season runs (Derek Anderson, as a super unflattering example). Until Foles sustains it more regularly, it’s tough to use that argument.

      Comparing his skillset with Brady is fair though. I always find the ‘comps’ interesting. I don’t know who Foles’ best comp is. Maybe Big Ben?

      • Jerry Pomroy

        Probably somewhere between the two…?

      • aub32

        Because he’s big? They have entirely different games. Ben stands stout in the pocket wih defenders hanging of of him to make the big play. He also has a noticeably bigger arm.

        • jabostick

          I had trouble coming up with someone similar so I’m not sold
          on the comparison but, yeah, size is a big part of it. He’s a big QB, can take
          a hit, throws well on the run, isn’t fast but athletic enough that he can buy
          time. That’s more what I was thinking about.

    • sdk152

      Fair question, but I would say that there are several instances when I see Brady make a play and think: “Wow, there aren’t many QBs capable of that.” Then again, we’re talking about a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

      I agree that it’s tough to come up with a good comp. for Foles right now. Roethlisberger’s best characteristic is his ability to break away from sacks and make plays out of the pocket. Just a really tough guy to bring down. So I’m not sure that one fits.

      Thanks for reading. -SK

      • Jerry Pomroy

        I think those WOW moments will come in time if Foles continues to progress forward.

        He’s already got the mental acumen, his arm has improved from last year and he seems dedicated to improving his running ability/speed, his confidence is also building. As those skills/confidence improve, that’s where I think you’ll get some wows.

        • Andy124

          I said WOW when he hit that wheel route to Shady.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Yeah, I did too. I’m talking from Sheil’s perspective “Wow, there aren’t many QBs that can do that”.

            Like I said, I think those will come more and more as he works towards getting better and his confidence builds.

            I personally find his vanilla ensemble to be quite refreshing. That means he’s doing things with ease naturally & being highly efficient, albeit with just 11 starts under his belt. It also means that we aren’t witnessing a ton of broken plays where he has to WOW, based on proper execution.

          • Pennguino

            Yea that was definitely a WOW pass. About a second after the ball was snapped and you saw the LB reaction and the position Shady had before he even crossed the LOS I yelled “He’s got ‘em” My hope was that Foles would see it.
            We know receivers don’t run full speed. They are about 90-95% speed so they can kick it up or slow down a touch to track the ball. It looks like the QB was dead on but in reality the receiver is adjusting a little also. That first WOW moment for me was his first NFL pass. Avant came out of his break in the Dallas game and the ball basically ear holed him. There was no watching the ball or adjusting. That was all QB hand eye coordination. I thought WOW, I wounder how accurate this kid will be.

  • SeaDucks

    CK for President!! His leadership has overcome immense early controversy (Cooper), Players attempting to be Prima-Donna’s(Jackson), Providing a unifying message enabling questionable coaches to succeed(Davis), developing young players beyond their apparent ability(Foles), and not knee jerking or losing the team when the media and us fans were calling for his head after a 3 point 2 game losing streak. So much adversity handled and laid to rest allowing a unified team playing it’s best ball going down the stretch. There’s a lot of praise to go around, but it all starts with Chip Kelly. Lemonade from Lemons.

    Early in the season we lost more games for ourselves more then being beat by a better team. Keep our heads down, minimize the mistakes and it’s very possible to go 4-1. Go Eagles!

  • Kevin

    Here is hoping for the Trifecta… An 8-7 Eagles team meets an 8-7 Cowboys team for the Division. Eagles win meaning they become the third division team to knock the ‘Boys out of the playoffs on the last game of the year (Giants in 11 and Skins in 12).

    • G_WallyHunter

      I’d love to see the look on Jerrys face when a reporter asks him after the game “how do you feel about being eliminated 3 years in a row in the last game of the season?” Would be priceless

      • GEAGLE

        Yeah that would be pretty epic…although I’d rather get hot and run the table. Teams will cower at the thought of facing us…if we have to lose a game or two, I hope it happens right away and then get into the playoffs on a winning streak

        • G_WallyHunter

          I’m seeing 5-0, don’t care how optimistic it is lol, cardinals and Detroit at home are probably the toughest games, Chicago will be fun if cutlers back, even tho mcgown is no scrub to underestimate

          • GEAGLE

            I really don’t think it’s that crazy…I think this hungry young team will relish the opportunity to test themselves against some quality teams…I wouldn’t say we are the favorite in all 5 games, but there is just no way I look at any of those teams and think we can’t win that game…and if our sports science really is an advantage, now would be the time it really manifests itself…

            If we come out the bye week sharp, rejuvenated, foaming at the mouth and march right down field and punch in a redzone TD on the opening drive against that cardinals defense, I’m going to lose my mind and be all sorts of weapon X type jacked up…an impressive win against Zone, and I’m going all in on the RUN the TABLE WarWagon

          • G_WallyHunter

            Hell yes, zona’s a good first game to test this team out

    • BHOtheLiar

      How about a 9-6 eagles meets a 7-8 cowgirls that have imploded. With an injured romo and a new coach in the wings.

      Starts with a body bag type game this weekend and goes downhill from there for both NY and dallas. Followed by a much needed and crucial eagles win against AZ – followed by wins in chi and mn.
      That sounds a little more fun and relaxing to me.

  • nicksaenz1

    I have to go with Foles for key player player offensively. Not that Shady’s not key, but Shady’s facing stacked boxes. Another game or two of Foles taking advantage of D’s keying in on the run is going to force them to figure out other ways to play, which will likely result in one less defender in the box, if not, two less. Time will tell.

    • SeaDucks

      Agreed. I see Foles eventually having the same effect as Vick for freeing up Shady. Teams will have to respect Nicks decisions and accuracy much more then Vick requiring pulling people out of the box- even if Nick runs like a crippled giraffe. Pay me now, or pay me later- Either way they’re going to pay.

      • southy

        Personally I like the scenario where they sell out to stop the run, dare Foles to beat them, and he throws for 300+ yards and a handful of TDs.

      • esther

        You’re kidding, right?

    • Spooonius

      I can see that. If Foles continues to play well, teams are going to have to abandon the whole “make this guy or that guy beat you” philosophy and play us straight up. Also, I wonder with all things being equal if a RB or a QB is more often the deciding factor in a game. I’m too lazy to do the research, but I suspect it’s the QB.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        Right you are, it’s the QB. Someone directed me to some very interesting stats early in the season. They pointed out basically what has the largest baring on wins in the NFL. The QB play came in at the top two spots by a landslide. However, while rushing yds were far down on the list, you still have to understand the importance of a good run game is to the play of the QB. Think about Foles play action stats that was outlined in an earlier article by Birds 24/7. Having a run game that is a threat with a highly efficient QB, is better than having a team build around an elite RB, with a so-so QB.

        I haven’t been able to find those stats again, but they were VERY telling that early on I thought we were toast as far as how successful overall we could be with a Vick-esque type of dual threat QB, that can run like hell but wasn’t the most efficient & intellectual QB, while also featuring Shady as the man & depending on getting 100-150yds/gm outta him. The balance & chemistry they have right now between Foles & Shady is spot on based on those stats.

        Plus the defensive side of the ball that had the most impact towards wins…Wasn’t yds allowed or sacks. It was points & turnovers.

        • BlindChow

          Running back play sure hasn’t elevated the Vikings’ QB performance…

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Well that’s just something MIN will need to “Ponder” over…

            But you made my point (or at least the point found in those stats).

  • Tom33

    Sheil – how do you say the Eagles will finish 2-3 and also 9-7? Doesn’t 6 + 2 = 8???

    • Spooonius

      Read it again. To the over/under question he says “Three makes a lot of sense, but for the sake of this exercise, I’ll go under. In other words, I think it’s more likely they go 2-3 than 4-1.”
      I think he just didn’t want to push.

    • jon h

      I think Sheil thinks they’ll get 3 wins, but he’s answering the question (unlike McM – sorry) and saying gun to his head he thinks they’re more likely to win 2 than 4.

      • southy

        This is why most over/under questions pose a number with a “.5″ at the end.

    • sdk152

      Yes, was just saying if I HAD to choose over or under. My prediction is that they go 3-2, finish 9-7 and make the playoffs. -SK

      • Jerry Pomroy

        More than reasonable.

        I keep thinking back at my preseason predictions. I had them either going 7-9, or if Chip & Co. could catch a few teams by surprise 9-7. I settled on 8-8. But to say that they’d be this far along and playing at this level, I didn’t anticipate. It makes me even more optimistic when they’ll be able to add some more pieces & have a better idea after a year of tape to make some adjustments schematically. They may very well have also answered a VERY BIG ?? at the QB position and catapulted themselves roughly a year or two ahead in the building process. That’s the icing on the cake!

        • Brennan Hildebrandt

          I’m telling you if you want to compete now! And for the next 5 years it will be wise to just keep adding weapons for Foles solidify the QB position offensive side of the ball and some key defensive pieces through the draft and free agency which will allow the transistion as smoothe as possible

  • addicted2mula

    Before the season I had the Eagles going 9-7 so I’m going tAo stick with that. Losses to Arizona and Detroit , But then again Dallas almost beat Detroit

  • Bri

    RE: Nick Folkes – Can we go back and re-read the comments section after the Dallas game? I would love to see what the regular contributors to this message board had to say. If I’m not mistaken, the comment section was filled with the same vitriol and anger we would expect. Foles was a bum, the team needs a top QB in next year’s draft, the rest of the season is going to suck, etc. etc.
    Oh how a few wins can change the perception of someone’s talent level.

    • GEAGLE

      Go read MY comments after the Dallas game

      • G_WallyHunter

        Ur comments don’t count for this guys argument lol, everyone knows u love FOles more than ur wife HA

        • GEAGLE

          Just think over reacting after on game is some FOOLISH BALDI type ISH, and I refuse to look like that baffoon

          In hind site I’m happy for the Dallas game..we got to find out what this kid was made of..NO PRESSURE like having put a horrible game like that behind you and go show a city what you are made of…

          I also liked that even when he was in quicksand and NOTHING he did went his way, he still didn’t completely unwind, didn’t throw any INTs…and as bad as he was, we were in THAT game

    • southy

      I remember coming on here and saying something like “so NOW does anyone think we can really win this division?” ¯_(ツ)_/¯

      I stalwartly stuck by Foles, though.

    • SeaDucks

      Guilty as charged. I also said nearly the same thing about the Defense. That’s why I’m a fan, not a coach. Good to be wrong in these cases

      Someone else had mentioned it before- And i have to agree. I wonder when NF really suffered the concussion in the Dallas Game.

    • theycallmerob

      not really. in fact, here they are for your reading pleasure:

      http://www.phillymag.com/birds247/2013/10/22/22-struggles-nick-foles/#disqus_thread

      http://www.phillymag.com/birds247/2013/10/21/game-review-eagles-offense-vs-cowboys/

      some of those “regular contributors” were down, but it was too early to be conclusive; 90% of the posters on those threads were Vick fanboys (and seem to have migrated on from our boards)

      • cliff henny

        right?! glanced thru, 3 or 4 “regs” that arent around much anymore.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          I actually was just thinking the same thing earlier before this subject came up. I can name 3 off the top of my head that have since gone into hibernation once Vick went down, stayed down & Nick started having success in response to his stinker vs DAL.

      • bentheimmigrant

        Strawmanning is so much more fun though. If I recall, I was disappointed and worried, but didn’t want to call off his entire career.

    • cliff henny

      i’ll be honest…beginning of the yr was 99% sure qb shopping in ’14, after dallas game 100%. he was awful, no one knew he had these 3 games coming. thought he was competent backup, hoped for more.

    • Explorer51

      Here are a couple of posts that I wrote after the Dallas game; I was making the point that every QB has a bad game from Michael Vick’s dud against the Eagles in ’05 to Tom Brady’s abomination against Buffalo in a year that he won the Super Bowl:

      “Foles obviously had a horrendous game; but it’s not the first time a QB failed and it definitely won’t be the last. But wasn’t he named the NFL Offensive Player last week? We have to put everything into context. Because it was Dallas and the whole QB controversy thing that many…fans and media alike…kept pushing, it is magnified. However, many of the best QBs, including Michael Vick in his absolute prime, had tough days in big circumstances. Do you remember this stat line: 11-24, 136 yds, a pick and no TDs, QB rating of 46.5, 4 rushes for 26 yds? You should…it was Vick’s bomb against the Eagles in the NFC Championship game in January ’05. Compare that to Foles equally bad output: 11-29, 80 yards, no picks and no TDs, QB rating of 46.2, 3 rushes for 25 yards…in the 7th game of the regular season. Bad games can happen at inopportune times but that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of a player’s career.”Yes, the Eagles were very good that year but Atlanta was the #2 seed in the NFC with a 12-5 record so they were pretty good as well…and Michael Vick was at the top of his game. My point is that every QB has dreadful games in their career which don’t end up defining them; here’s another example: Tom Brady, first game of his third season against Buffalo, 31-0 loss, 14-28, 123 yds, 0 TDs and 4 picks, no rushing yards, 22.5 QB rating. Interesting to note that the next week he killed the Eagles 31-10 and only lost one more game that Super Bowl winning year.

  • Kev_H

    I’m surprised by Sheil’s take since he’s normally a pretty sophisticated observer. I’ve been on the Foles-train because he plays like a vet with his eyes, pump fakes, and decisions plus he is never satisfied. Jeff George and Jamarcus Russell were full of stunning feats but that’s not what the NFL is about.

    • reb

      Bonus points for the Jeff George reference.

  • Adam

    I’m fine with not being wowed by many or any throws Foles makes. Because for some QB’s, for every “Wow, how did he do that?!” throws, there’s some “Wow, what the hell was he thinking!” throws.

    • Chris

      That’s exactly how I feel about Eli…I also hate his huge head. But some throws are excellent, some are wayyyy off target.

  • EaglePete

    if its all McCoy then someone please explain Christain Ponder to me? Coaching matters and good players help, also when you take into account how thin this team is at WR it bodes very well for Foles.

  • Dreday410

    I think media want to see the Division come down to week 17…but I have a feeling it will end before that with Eagles winning by 2 games

  • greenblood20

    What’s made me a bit hesitant to jump all-in on the Foles bandwagon is that I rarely see him do anything that makes me think: Wow. There aren’t many QBs in the league who are capable of doing THAT.

    Quite frankly Mr.Kapadia: WTF? Did you notice Foles jersey in Canton for tying the record for most TDs in a game? This could be the single most WTF statement I have read in some time. Get a cup of coffee and think about it before you write it…WOW