Last Sunday’s Eagles game could best be described as one of the strangest, most bizarre games in the team’s history. Perhaps it was due to the fact that Halloween was only a week away, with both teams handing out turnovers in the 1st half the way that one hands out candy on Halloween night.
First, it was Carson Wentz throwing out some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for the Vikings to snatch up, which put them in perfect position to score the game’s first touchdown at the Eagles two-yard line. But Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford, wanting to show how much he appreciated his former Eagles teammates, admirably played the role of “Mr. Goodbar”, giving the ball right back to the Birds by throwing his first interception of the year.
The follies continued with a muffed handoff between Wentz and running back Darren Sproles, leading to another turnover, which was immediately followed by Sam Bradford being stripped of the ball and the Eagles recovering, which was followed, a few plays earlier, with another Wentz interception.
If you were keeping track at home (and possibly pulling your hair out all at the same time) that was a total of five (count ’em, FIVE) turnovers within the first ten minutes of the game. Eventually both teams realized that the “season of giving” is not upon us quite yet and settled down somewhat, registering only three more turnovers (I use the phrase “only three” very loosely) in total the rest of the game in what eventually resulted in a 21-10 Eagles victory.
Amid all the sloppy play, the Eagles returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown courtesy of Josh Huff, resulting in the first time in their history that they’ve accomplished the feat in consecutive games. Now, if only Huff would stop acting like he’s leading the Penn State Blue Band and not end his touchdown runs with a somersault.
Both lines, which struggled mightily against the Redskins the week prior, also redeemed themselves well on Sunday. The defense was putting constant pressure on Sam Bradford, and the offensive line, including rookie tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, did a very good job against a formidable Vikings defense. Vaitai, or “Big V”, as he is known, was called for a false start on the Eagles second offensive play of the game, but his name was never heard again, which is actually a good sign when you’re an offensive lineman.
Lost somewhat in all the turnovers was the fact that the Eagles defeated a very good team. The Vikings were not only the last remaining undefeated team in the league…they are a team that has a Super bowl caliber defense.
It’s hard to decipher what the Birds are at this point. They’ve beaten two quality teams at home thus far in the Steelers and the Vikings, but their two other wins have come against bad competition in the Browns & the Bears.
The tough schedule they face the next few weeks will be very foretelling about how good this team really is, and this week’s Sunday night contest against the Dallas Cowboys will be HUGE.
Lose, and the Eagles are in a two game hole for the division lead with the Cowboys having a game in hand. Win, and they’ll share the same record with the Birds holding the tiebreaker. An Eagles-Cowboys game is always big no matter the record, but with so much at stake so early in the season, it doesn’t get much better than that.
With Halloween the following night, this game should be a “Thriller”, unlike last Sunday’s turnover fest, which had many quoting John Lennon, “Nobody told me there’d be days like these…strange days indeed”.
As for the outcome, I went out on a limb last week and picked the Eagles to win 23-9, which wasn’t too far off from the final score of 21-10. But this week seems much harder to predict.
Unlike the Vikings, the Cowboys strength is not their defense, but their offense, and their offensive line is stacked and will be much harder to deal with then the Vikings were.
The Cowboys have not lost since Week 1 against the Giants so perhaps they are due? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is what I’m banking on – Birds win 28-21. Buckle your seat belts for Sunday night…’cause no one’s gonna save you from the beast about to strike…
Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all times in EST and on Sunday unless noted otherwise):
Patriots at Bills 1:00 PM CBS – Game of the Week
Lions at Texans 1:00 PM FOX
Packers at Falcons 4:25 PM FOX
EAGLES at Cowboys 8:30 PM NBC
The Last Word – It’s good to see that this year’s World Series winner will be one who’s fans have been starving for a championship for quite some time (The Cubs haven’t won since 1908 & the Indians since 1948).
But while the Cubs seem to be everyone’s darlings this year, I hope that the Indians can pull it out. They are a small market team with a small market payroll, yet they built a team basically with platoon players who seem to be put in the right situations to succeed.
While there are no guarantees, the Cubs should be in the mix for the next few years. The Indians – not so certain of that. After years of futility, I’d like to see Cleveland experience it’s 2nd championship of 2016.