Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Division Up For Grabs
Well, someone’s gotta win this mess, and the Eagles seem to be in as good of position as any to do it.
Though on a bye this past week, their standing within the division got a bump up thanks to an 0-2 performance out of the NFC East. Eli Manning tossed a personal-best six touchdowns but Drew Brees did him one better, tying an NFL record (held in part by Nick Foles) with seven TDs in the Saints’ ridiculous 52-49 win over the Giants Sunday. Meanwhile in Seattle, Dez Bryant returned to the Dallas lineup but was held to just two catches for 12 yards and the Cowboys fell 13-12 to the Seahawks.
And so, through eight weeks, here’s where things stand:
The Eagles emerge from the break a half-game back of the Giants, who they currently hold the tie-breaker over because they won their head-to-head matchup. They will square off again in the regular-season finale. Plenty of meaningful ball in-between now and then, starting with Sunday night’s matchup between the Eagles and Cowboys in Dallas.
The Cowboys haven’t won a game since Jordan Hicks knocked out Tony Romo in Week 2 with a collarbone injury. Romo, placed on the injured reserve/designated to return list, is not eligible to play until Week 11 against Miami. The Eagles can deepen the hole Romo would be forced to dig his team out of with a win on Sunday.
How to handicap this race overall? For starters, here’s a look at each team’s remaining schedule:
|10||MIAMI||NEW ENGLAND||@Tampa||NEW ORLEANS|
|Opponent W-L||32-34 (.484)||34-21 (.618)||31-24 (.563)||31-26 (.543)|
As you can see, the Eagles are facing the easiest slate in terms on overall winning percentage, though Detroit (1-7) really drags down the group. As it stands currently, just two of their remaining opponents (Arizona and New England) have winning records.
The Giants appear to have the most difficult schedule, with New England (7-0), Carolina (6-0) and Minnesota (5-2) still remaining. The Cowboys still have the Panthers, Packers (6-1) and Jets (4-3) to deal with. Washington will face a pair of currently-undefeated teams in the next three weeks along with a Saints team that has won three straight to get back to .500.
Heading into Week 8, Football Outsiders calculated that the Eagles had a 37 percent chance of winning the division and a 41 percent chance of making the playoffs. Odds are, those numbers went up a touch following this weekend’s results, and will climb higher still with a win in Dallas Sunday night.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Vinny Curry is being shopped, according to a report.
“They can’t have all big-money guys..they’re going to have to make some choices.” Weekend Reading.
“I thought Chip was his first name. There are people named Chip… right?” So many good responses in Josh’s player’s poll.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Tommy Lawlor is not on board with the idea of trading Curry.
I would hate to see the Eagles deal Curry. I’d actually like him to get an extension. The problem is that Curry may not have interest in staying here as a role player when he can pursue a starting gig elsewhere. He loves being an Eagle, but careers are short and money is money. This is the final year of his deal so there is logic to trading him. If he leaves in March, you get nothing for him. (Reminder that comp picks only come when your team doesn’t sign free agents…Eagles tend to be active shoppers)
Player for player deals make for fun talk, but aren’t real common. Most likely someone would give up a pick for Curry. Miami just lost Cameron Wake for the season. You wonder if they’d be willing to pony up a good pick since they’re still in the playoff hunt. The Giants would probably love Curry, but you don’t want to deal him in the division. The Colts could be another team that would make some sense.
Albert Breer names a pair of Eagles assistants among a group of coaches that could “catch the eyes of college programs” looking for a new head coach.
Ryan Day, Eagles quarterbacks coach: Day could be of interest to a major conference school looking for a jolt. At 36, Day played for Chip Kelly at the University of New Hampshire, and coached under him there, as well. He also worked under Urban Meyer and was Boston College’s offensive coordinator before landing in Philly.
Pat Shurmur, Eagles offensive coordinator: He’s been in the NFL for the last 17 seasons, so spending the three working under Chip Kelly would probably enhance his standing among colleges. And he knows the Big Ten well, having played at Michigan State and coached there for a decade.
Bye week is over. Team returns to work tomorrow. We’ll keep tabs on the trade deadline winds until then.