Clinching a first round bye should’ve been good news. After what I saw in yesterday’s victory over the lowly, injury plagued, New York Giants, I’m not so sure of that anymore.
The good: 1) The Eagles pulled out a victory in a tight 34-29 game yesterday. A game that could’ve easily been a letdown or trap game for the Birds. 2) The Eagles clinched a first round bye and guaranteed themselves at least one home game in the playoffs. (playing at the Linc is a huge advantage) 3) Nick Foles was not terrible. As a matter of fact he was damn good, even if it was against a bad Giants defense. Foles went 24-38 for 237 yards & threw for four Touchdowns, but more importantly, did not turn the ball over once. That’s pretty much the most you can ask of a backup QB who’s thrown into the fire in week #14 of an NFL season. A backup who had few, if any reps with the starting receiving corps all year.
Now for the bad. It’s just one thing. THE DEFENSE! How do you let an Eli Manning led, totally depleted, New York Giants offense put up 504 total yards and 29 points against you? It’s not like the Eagles defense has been terrible all year, or the Giants offense has been great. The very worst part about Eli Manning carving the Eagles defense up the way he did yesterday was how he did it. Passes right over the middle of the field. Short passes, medium passes, long passes. All of the damage was done right in the middle of the field. I’m having trouble understanding how the defense was not able to adjust to this simplistic offensive attack, even after the halftime break. One excuse I will give the Birds defense is that the Giants spent an enormous amount of time in a hurry up offense. Things like this won’t allow time for you to get your correct personnel into the game for certain defensive attacks. I understand that. But still, it was obvious that the middle of the field was Eli’s sweet spot from the very beginning of the game. And make no mistake, the defense came up with a huge game-winning stop at the end of the game, but the secondary of the Eagles was exposed….BIG TIME. They were jumping routes all day, and Eli was capitalizing off of their mistakes. It makes me question the secondary. Have they been getting by on the great play of the defensive line all year? Is the secondary really this terrible? I don’t know what’s going on, but the Eagles defense needs to figure it out, and do it quickly. Minnesota is still in hot pursuit of the home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Eagles have the inside track on that for now, but one loss could derail the whole thing. The Birds have games against Oakland and Dallas left on the schedule. With the loss against Dallas last night, it’s looking like Oakland won’t have much to play for. BUT Dallas is going to be a different story. Even if the Cowboys don’t have sh*t to play for when the Birds face them in the final game of the season, they will still love to beat their division rivals. Especially if the Eagles need that game to lock up home field throughout. Oh….and Zeke will be back, AND HE’S GOING TO BE PLAYING ANGRY! I’m happy the Eagles found a way to pull out a tough win yesterday, but I’m very cautious. Now is not the time for the defense to have a breakdown. DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS, and I’m not sold on the Eagles defense being capable of pulling that off right now. I hope they prove me wrong though!