2016 Week #15: Eagles at Ravens

If you happened to be living in a cave over the last few months and had no clue how the Eagles were doing, last Sunday’s game was the perfect microcosm of what had taken place this season.

There were flashes of greatness by their rookie quarterback, coupled with shoddy tackling by their defense and plenty of missed opportunities.  It was another game where the Eagles played well enough to win, but bad enough to lose it as well, which is precisely what they did.

Much like the cold, harsh reality of winter has arrived complete with snow, sleet, and freezing rain, the cold, harsh reality that this is nothing more than a rebuilding year has also set in for your beloved Birds, and their  3-0 start now seems like it took place in some parallel universe that only exists in one of M. Night Shyamalan’s movies.

Sure, the Eagles can still mathematically make the playoffs, but it would take a calculus professor from MIT to figure out exactly how, and a major miracle for it to actually come to fruition.  No, the last three games will be all about showing improvement and ending the season on a good note, while at the same time, possibly giving playing time to some of the younger players to see how they respond in live game action.

The only certainty at this point is that sometime in January, coach Doug Pederson and general manager Howie Roseman will sit down with the 53-man roster in hand, with Howie asking the all-important question:

“Well Doug-E you’ve got to let me know, should he stay or should he go”?

If Howie’s singing ability is on par with his draft picks, then a mediocre voice is to be expected, but that’s another issue entirely.  The bigger issue is, who does really stay and who does go?

The one positive for Eagles fans (if you can call it that), is that all three of the Birds remaining games are meaningful ones…at least for their opponents.  Both the Ravens and the Giants the next two weeks, and possibly the Cowboys as well in the last game of the season, are vying for a playoff spot or playoff positioning, so they will be trying to win at all costs.  Even though the Eagles reaching the playoffs is as likely as the Easter Bunny leading Santa’s reindeer, they will end the season with a chance to knock some of their fellow NFL brethen out of the playoffs, in the never coveted “spoiler” role.

That task begins this Sunday, when the Eagles face the Ravens down at M&T Bank Stadium.

It would have been nice if Baltimore had actually beaten the Patriots last week and maybe, just maybe, would have had a letdown against us before they face the Steelers on the road next week on Christmas Day.  But of course, the Patriots made our lives harder once again (just like they did by cheating in the Super Bowl in 2004… but who’s counting?)  by winning and keeping the Ravens in desperation mode.

Baltimore sits at 7-6, which is one game behind Denver & Miami for the last wild-card spot and also one game behind the Steelers for the lead in the  AFC North.

For the Eagles, going into Baltimore may be the equivalent of trying to remove a hornet’s nest without having any of the prior spray or equipment…this game could get ugly.

I think the Birds will stay with the Ravens for the first half, but by the time the 3rd quarter ends, you may be focused on that Christmas shopping you’ve been procrastinating about.

Ravens win 30-16, and for Eagles fans, ’tis not quite the season to be jolly…

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

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

Titans at Chiefs 1:00 PM CBS

Lions at Giants 1:00 PM FOX

Buccaneers at Cowboys 8:30 PM NBC

 

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