Once upon a time, not so long ago, not in a galaxy far, far away, but just a few blocks from Broad & Pattison, there was a football team that could not win a game at home.
It was not for lack of trying, or because the home crowd was not as intimidating as they were in their former stadium known simply as “The Vet”. No, the football team couldn’t win simply because they were bad. They were so bad, in fact, that they had lost ten straight games at home, and had to fire their longtime coach of fourteen seasons because of it.
Their new coach had started his first year 1-3, but had rebounded by the middle of the season to get his team to 5-5. But yet, that team still could not manage to capture a victory at home for whatever reason.
And then it happened. At home, against the Washington Redskins, the Eagles beat the ‘Skins to go to 6-5 and finally snap a 10-game losing streak at home. That was almost a year ago (Nov. 17, 2013) and since then the Eagles have not looked back.
The 2013 Eagles finished the second half of their season 7-1 en route to a division title and have started their 2014 campaign at 7-2. In addition, the team that could not win at home now cannot lose there, with their home winning streak at nine games after pummeling the overrated Carolina Panthers last Monday night.
While the marketing gurus over at Miller beer would have you believe that it was due to the “throwback” Miller Lite cans being served over at the Linc, it is clearly more than that. Eagles coach Chip Kelly not only has his team on the right track, but much like vampires, they seem to be quite adapt at sucking the blood out of their opponents at home during night games.
During the Birds last three home night games, they have gone 3-0 and have defeated their opponents by a combined score of 126-32, with much of the 32 coming in garbage time when the fans were headed to the exits and the backups were in mop-up duty.
While the other Philadelphia teams continue to try to find an identity, the Eagles know theirs and are a force to be reckoned with. The only question is, how far can they go?
This week provides a good test as the Eagles head to Lambeau to face the Packers. The Birds were fortunate to play there last year and not have to face quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was out with an injury, but this year will be quite different.
The Packers are 6-3, only a game behind the Eagles when it comes to the conference standings, and are almost impossible to beat at home. The Eagles are coming off a short week and have to travel on the road, which is a disadvantage for any team off the bat. So conventional wisdom dictates that the Eagles will understandably lose.
But this team, following the lead of their coach, is anything but conventional. Chip Kelly is like mad scientist “Bunson Huneydew” from the Muppets, sitting in a lab somewhere with his sidekick Beaker (played by defensive coordinator Billy Davis), conjuring up a gameplan from the “Kelly method” to defeat the cheeseheads and their loyal “Wis-can-sin” faithful.
My predictions: 1) Birds win on Sunday in frigid Lambeau field, 34-31, with Cody Parkey getting the game winning kick. 2) On the plane ride back, the Birds are listening to T-Pain’s “Can’t Believe it”. No need to buy me a “mansion in Wiscansin” though…
Amit’s Top 5 Power Rankings:
1. Broncos (2)
2. Cardinals (1)
3. Patriots (3)
4. Chiefs (4)
5. Lions (new)
Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all times in EST and on Sunday unless noted otherwise):
Bills at Dolphins 8:30 PM NFL Network (Thurs)
Seahawks at Chiefs 1:00 PM FOX
Lions at Cardinals 4:25 PM FOX – Game of the Week
Eagles at Packers 4:25 PM FOX
Patriots at Colts 8:30 PM NBC