Reasons to still be hopeful about the Eagles

Eliot Shorr-Parks
December 02, 2019 - 7:36 am
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Let’s all lie to ourselves. 

There is no question that after the Eagles’ embarrassing loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, it takes a certain level of denial to have optimism for the rest of the season. That much is clear every time the Eagles play. They are a team that for whatever reason is easy to talk themselves into, but a team that is clearly not a good. That has been the case for over a year and likely isn’t changing anytime soon. 

The reality is, however, that it doesn’t take that much bending of the truth to see this team going on a run into the postseason. 

The Cowboys suck: This isn’t a repeat of Eagles’ fans favorite chant — that might just be the honest truth about the other team competing for the NFC East title. The Eagles are a mess on the field, but the Cowboys are an internal disaster. Jason Garrett could lose his job at any time. Dak Prescott contract value seems to change each week. Jerry Jones is clearly unhappy. None of those things should be happening on a playoff team. The Cowboys schedule is also looking harder than it used to, as the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams are improving each week. Considering the Cowboys have struggled to beat any team this season that is even decent, and are currently falling apart at the seams, losing both of those games isn’t a stretch. It is still very possible the Eagles get a chance against the Cowboys in three weeks with the division on the line. 

The schedule only gets easier: The Dolphins are the poster child for a terrible team in the NFL, but the reality is that there were some tough components to the Eagles’ game in Miami on Sunday. To start it was on the road. It was against an unfamiliar AFC opponent. It was against a new head coach, and it was against a veteran quarterback. They won’t have to deal with those issues in their remaining games, all against NFC East teams that they are very familiar with. Both New York and Washington are lead by rookie quarterbacks who have been mostly terrible this season. The Eagles are 9-0 against Washington and New York since the start of the 2017 season. Even with as bad as they are playing, there is a very good chance they go 3-0 in their remaining games not against the Dallas Cowboys. 

Miles Sanders: The offense is a mess, but the development of rookie running back Miles Sanders continues to be encouraging. Sanders finished with 83 yards on 17 carries against the Dolphins and looked much more confident running between the tackles. He also pulled in five catches for 22 yards, including a touchdown, and continues to be an impact player in the passing game. With so many question marks on the offense, knowing the team can count on Sanders is huge. 

The defense is still playing well: Sunday was very, very ugly. There is no getting around that. What it also was, however, was a veteran quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick playing at a very high level and making some awesome throws. It was also receiver DeVante Parker making some amazing catches. Add in some terrible penalties, and that is how the Dolphins scored 37 points. It wasn’t defensive breakdowns, it wasn’t terrible play by individual players. In fact, heading into the final month of the season, there is still reason to be optimistic about the defense. They have held their opponents under 20 points in four of their last five games, and six of the last eight overall. Facing rookie quarterbacks the majority of the rest of the season, there is more reason to believe what we saw on Sunday from the defense is a bad outing as opposed to what will happen the rest of the way. 

It is all on Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz: This one is simple and short as it really comes down to this — if you believe in Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz, you should think the Eagles will get in the playoffs. Four games left, one game back from a playoff spot, an incredibly easy schedule and essentially a win-and-get in game against a quickly sinking Dallas Cowboys. This is not some insurmountable task or a playoff scenario that needs crazy things to happen. It really comes down to Pederson and Wentz showing they are special. 

If they are, then Eagles fans have no reason to worry — and don’t need to lie to themselves to convince this team still has a shot at the playoffs. 

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

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