As Broad & Pattison Turns 2015 Week #5: Eagles vs. Saints

In honor of Halloween, Chip Kelly is planning to produce a horror film entitled “Nightmare on Broad & Pattison”.  And coincidentally, he has all the right characters to make it a success.

For starters, the first thing every horror movie needs is a good victim.  Enter Sam Bradford, who has already starred in Jeff Fisher’s St. Louis classic, “Assault on the Arch”, in which Bradford was the victim of season ending injuries and constant mediocre play around him.  Luckily, Sam does not have to deviate much from character in Chip’s film, since he has to deal with the constant fear of being pummeled by oncoming defensive lineman every time he drops back to pass.

Every good horror movie has some element of monsters, and in this case, the Eagles have a “3-headed Monster” in the form of Murray, Mathews, and Sproles, which is supposed to provide security and support for the beleaguered quarterback. Instead, it remains underutilized, which only intensifies the problems of this offense.

You want ghosts? The ghosts of the 2011 Dream Team linger with the way this team has started, and the nagging fear is that Byron Maxwell has been possessed by Nnamdi Asomugha, who was the Eagles 2011 prized free agent cornerback but ended up being a bust.

Ladies and gentleman, such is the state of your 2015 Philadelphia Eagles one-quarter into the season.  A season that held promise going in is turning into a house of horrors on a weekly basis.

In search of a silver lining, many will point to Chip Kelly’s first season in 2013, when the Eagles started off 1-3, but rebounded to go 9-3 the rest of the way and earn an NFC East title.  But that team was very fortunate during its 9-3 run, as their opponents included a 1) Putrid Oakland Raiders team that went 4-12, 2) A victory over the Green Bay Packers without having to face an injured Aaron Rodgers, and a 3) Win against the Cowboys on the last week of the season to win the division without having to face an injured Tony Romo (and that game was a close affair).

For me, this season is a parallel universe (in sticking with the Halloween theme) of 2012, when the Eagles started off 3-1, winning their first three games by a combined total of four points (the first time in NFL history that has ever happened).

That 2012 team was using “Just for Men” to cover its grays’ and dentures to hide the fact that it had no bite.  But once their flaws were exposed, that team quickly disintegrated, winning only one game the rest of the year en route to a 4-12 record and the eventual firing of Andy Reid after fourteen years as the Eagles head coach.

The 2015 Eagles are a polar opposite (at least record wise) of the 2012 team.  While their record is only 1-3 and they do have problems that need to be addressed, this team could have easily won three of their four games had a few things turned out differently.

Against both the Falcons and the Redskins, the Eagles offense showed up for only two quarters of football, yet both games were very close at the end. What happens if the offense plays well for even 2 1/2 quarters of football instead of just two?

In both of those losses, the Eagles kicking game let them down, missing crucial kicks which might have made the difference between a win and a loss.   Perhaps a healthy Cody Parkey gets them a 3-1 record instead of 1-3?

An inconsistent offense does not a Super Bowl team make, and this team will win nothing if this offense continues to play the way they have through four games.  But a 1-3 record when your team is getting blown out is one thing…this team, even with its deficiencies, could have been 3-1.

The silver lining is that maybe this team corrects its problems and plays a little more consistently on offense. Perhaps new kicker Caleb Sturgis redeems himself and starts to make some kicks that make the difference between victory and defeat?

Is this a possible Super bowl team like we thought before Labor Day?  Absolutely not – but beggars can’t be choosers. Let’s choose to hope for a competitive team that will give us a reason to watch every Sunday.

The Eagles face a crossroads of sorts when they face the Saints at home this Sunday.  This team has rebounded from a 1-3 start in the past to make it to the playoffs, just as they did two years back.  But they have NEVER started the season 1-4 and made the postseason,  a fact that makes this game even more crucial.

Regardless of the outcome, the Eagles offense, more so this Sunday than any other time this season, REALLY needs to get off to a fast start.  If this team can, at the very least, put a field goal on the board on its opening drive, it would give the fans some hope that this offense can actually move the ball BEFORE the halftime pomp and circumstance takes place (a field goal would also give their kicker a much needed boost of confidence).

But start the game with another “three-and-out” and the “wolves” from the stands will understandably be howling with anger, tired of the horror show about to be played out before them once again.

If the Eagles can pull out a win against what is a bad Saints team, there will still be an interest in watching the sequel of the 2015 season.  But lose, and the 2015 season becomes just another bad horror film…

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all times in EST and on Sunday unless noted otherwise):

Patriots at Cowboys 4:25 PM CBS – Game of the Week

Rams at Packers 1:00 PM CBS

Steelers at Chargers 8:30 PM ESPN

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