Eagles' 3-game road could define season

Eliot Shorr-Parks
October 07, 2019 - 7:45 am

Some considered the first month of the season just an extended preseason, considering how little the starters played during the month of August. That logic made the Eagles’ 2-2 start not very worrisome. 

Almost nobody considered the Jets a real NFL team, considering they are coached by Adam Gase. That takes some of the excitement from the Eagles’ dominating 31-6 win on Sunday, a win that moved their record to 3-2.  

With both the month of September and the Jets in the rearview mirror, however, the Eagles will now head out onto a three-game road trip that will gives us our first real, no-excuses look at the 2019 team and just how serious we should take them. 

The good news is that they head into a three-game road trip, with stops at Minnesota, Dallas and Buffalo, playing arguably their best football of the season. 

Sure, it was the Jets, but the Eagles’ performance on defense answered some real questions many had about this team. The defensive line dominated the Jets’ terrible offensive line to the tune of 10 sacks, highlighted by three from defensive end Brandon Graham, and one each from young defensive ends Daeshon Hall and Josh Sweat. The Jets’ offensive line is not good, but it wasn’t like the Eagles’ pass rush just made things tough for quarterback Luke Falk — they absolutely destroyed him. 

The Eagles won’t play many teams this season as bad as the Jets. They will, however, play some bad offensive lines the rest of the way — and we now know that they are capable of dominating the matchups they are supposed to win. 

Sunday was not as encouraging for the offense, the unit that will need to improve considerably if the Eagles want to survive this three-game stretch. 

Carson Wentz and the Eagles’ offense finished with just 265 total yards and two touchdowns against the Jets, a less-than-stellar showing that was filled with penalties and missed opportunities. They scored on their opening drive, a positive sign, but managed just 10 points on their next nine possessions. At one point, during a two-drive stretch in the middle of the second quarter, the offense actually lost a total of eight yards. 

Whether it is because of injuries or poor play, the Eagles’ passing game has been an issue over the last four games. Wentz has totaled under 200 yards in each of the last two games and has been under 60% completion percentage in each of the last four. They Eagles were able to ride a strong running game against the Packers for a win, and on Sunday, they got enough points on their opening drive to secure a victory against the Jets. 

Over the next three games, however, things won’t be as easy. The Vikings, Bills and Cowboys are all in the top 10 in the NFL in total defense. All three are also all in the top 10 in passing defense as well. Performances like the one the offense had on Sunday won’t get the job done. They are going to need much better to even keep things close against three very good defenses. The missed throws and penalties that have plagued the offense the last two weeks could put their season in jeopardy (again) if they don’t clean it up on the road. 

Te Eagles’ season started with expectations and discussions of having perhaps the best roster in the league, the MVP at quarterback and the possibility of a Super Bowl. They have not looked like that team so far, but despite the issues, stand at 3-2, tied for the NFC East lead. 

The Eagles don’t have to go 3-0 on this upcoming road trip. That would be tough for any team to do. 

They do, however, have to win at least two-of-the-next three games to keep the belief alive that this could be a special season. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!