Eagles Will Go 11-5, Win the NFC East
If you’ve been following the football writers, bloggers and ex-team executives — who once hated the media but now by the grace of a paycheck find themselves a part of it — the Eagles are somewhere between the moon and Santa Clara, California.
Joe Banner, the former CEO of the Birds, tweeted yesterday that the Eagles would win the 2015 Super Bowl, to be held this year in the sprawling San Francisco suburbs. This on the heels of Adam Schefter, ESPN’s football “Insider” who has the Eagles playing the Ravens for the big title.
And yet there is a conflict.
Power rankings of NFL teams come out every year at this time, and those power ranking haven’t been kind to the Eagles — if you feel that ranking them several places behind the Dallas Cowboys is unkind.
To wit, ESPN has the Eagles ranked No. 9 in the league right now, behind the following teams: 1. Seahawks, 2. Patriots, 3. Packers, 4. Colts, 5. Broncos, 6. Cowboys, 7. Steelers, 8. Ravens. That means ESPN, the Worldwide Leader, has three teams better than the Eagles in the NFC, which, if it plays out, means the Birds won’t win their division and will have to scrap to host a playoff wildcard game. That’s dangerous.
Fox Sports, on the other hand, also has the Eagles ninth in its power rankings, with the Seahawks number one, the Packers number four, and the Cowboys number five. The Birds, at nine, are only one place ahead of the Detroit Lions!
And for the coup de grace, how about those crumbs at CBS Sportsline. Here are the CBS rankings: 1. Packers, 2. Patriots, 3. COWBOYS, 4. Steelers, 5. Colts, 6. CARDINALS, 7. Ravens, 8. Broncos, 9. Seahawks, 10. BENGALS, 11. PANTHERS, 12. GIANTS, 13. Eagles. (The capital letters represent my incredulous reaction to those rankings. The Panthers? The Giants? Please.
I’m pretty sure that the CBS rankings are influenced by an old-school writer named Pete Prisco who is on record as a notorious skeptic of one Chip Kelly, the Eagles’ new-school coach. Prisco longs for the days when teams utilized a fullback and grunts on the offensive line who got their faces smashed for having no face masks attached to their leather helmets. The same goes for that meathead Heath Evans from the NFL Network. Somehow, these goofs dislike a team that averages 30 points a game with a high-paced offense. This year, assume the Eagles will go for 35 a game, and roll up a 50 spot against some poor sap.
Here’s my take: The Eagles are the third best team right now in the NFC, slightly behind the Seahawks (who actually have renewed energy despite the contract nonsense with Kam Chancellor from losing last year’s Super Bowl on a bonehead play call), and the Packers (who are without Jordy Nelson; and who would have ever thought the loss of a white wide receiver would cast doubt on a team’s chance of winning?). The Eagles are better than the Cowboys. You read that right. Despite Tony Romo and a great offensive line, the Cowboys aren’t as good as this year’s Eagles teams. The ’Boys will struggle on defense and their best player, wide receiver Dez Bryant, straps on a bomb along with his shoulder pads, if you know what I mean.
I got the Eagles at least at 11-5, which will win the NFC East and host a first-round playoff game, which they will win. It’s not the Super Bowl. But it’s progress. And this town, sports progress is enough to keep you looking forward to the next day.