We all have those days at work where we’re running around like a chicken without a head, pulling our hair out and looking up at the clock, wishing it would end sooner than later.
And then there are days (albeit rare) that go very smoothly, giving us ample time to catch our breath and reflect.
Last Sunday was one of those days for the Eagles.
In a rather relaxed atmosphere that represented a family picnic in the stands (minus the family drama), the Eagles easily disposed of the New York Jets, 31-6, at the Linc. The game was never in doubt, and halfway through the 4th quarter, many had already started to make their way to the parking lots and subway for an early ride home.
Such a scene has been a rarity for this team since their Super Bowl winning season of two years ago, when it seemed they were beating everyone at home without much fanfare or stress.
But such a result should not have been a surprise to anyone. The Jets entered the game with their 3rd string quarterback (Luke Falk) under center, and he was quickly thrown to the wolves in the form of ten sacks by the Eagles defense.
The Jets should get a much better effort going forward, especially with Sam Darnold, their 1st round pick from 2018, returning to action this week against the Dallas Cowboys. And if Darnold is the real deal as an NFL quarterback, the team may have a bright future ahead of them.
But for now, the Jets are in the midst of the football equivalent of “The Great Recession”, with their stock having to rebound greatly before becoming a “buy” for their fans.
Meanwhile, the easy day at work feeling that the Eagles had last Sunday may not be returning till after Thanksgiving, with six consecutive games against winning teams looming.
What makes it even harder is that the next three will be on the road, which makes the Birds the only team in the league to have three consecutive road games this season.
Rumor has it that the schedule makers did that with the expectation that across the street, Citizens Bank Park would be abuzz with 45,000 fans cheering on their team in the NLCS & World Series, especially after all the free agent signings the local baseball team made this past offseason. But as we all know, things didn’t turn out quite as expected (and more on that later).
But the Phillies loss is also the Eagles loss, as they will be facing the Vikings, Cowboys and Bills in consecutive weeks, before coming home to face the Bears, Patriots and Seahawks.
The Vikings are a good team, but not a great one, and their biggest threat will be running back Dalvin Cook. Cook is an evasive runner and stopping him could be the key to getting a win for the Birds.
Philadelphia will be facing a familiar foe in quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was a member of the Washington Redskins from 2012-2017 until he signed with Minnesota before the 2018 season. Cousins is 5-3 in his career against the Eagles, and was the starter for Washington in all sixteen games from 2015-2017.
The Birds will once again be without wide receiver DeSean Jackson, which will hamper their ability to throw downfield. Expect Nelson Agholor and tight end Zach Ertz to get a decent number of balls thrown their way to compensate for the loss of Jackson.
Philadelphia will also continue to be without cornerbacks Ronald Darby & Avonte Maddox. And while their loss did not play a role in the Jets game, it could be a huge factor against Minnesota, who have a great receiving tandem in Adam Thielen & Stefon Diggs.
Along with stopping Dalvin Cook, the difference in this game could come down to whether the Eagles defensive line can put enough pressure on Kirk Cousins so that he doesn’t have ample time to throw to Thielen or Diggs.
This will be a tough game in a hostile environment, and in another dome no less. And while the Eagles will return to the spot where they erased their demons and clinched their first ever championship in the modern era, that will be of no solace to them come kickoff time.
That being said, the Birds are the better team in my opinion, and will come out ahead in a close one, 24-20.
Followed by the Phillies playing in the NLCS. Oh wait…scratch that.
The Last Word:
The Phillies managing partner is a “Middleton”, which might help to explain why the Phillies have finished in the middle of the pack the last two seasons.
Their president is a “MacPhail”, and the team’s mission to get back to the playoffs and World Series has been nothing short of a supersized “MacFail”.
Their general manager is a “Klentak”, which could be a synonym for “can’t draft” in some foreign language.
Put them all together and “Dollar Dog Days” may be the only thing putting fans in the stands next season.
Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all games on Sunday and in EST unless noted otherwise):
EAGLES at Vikings 1:00 PM FOX
Texans at Chiefs 1:00 PM CBS
49ers at Rams 4:05 PM FOX
Lions at Packers 8:15 PM ESPN (Mon)