This week, our beleaguered Eagles travel to DC to take on the NFC East leading Redskins. Back in August, who would've thought I'd be writing that sentence in mid-October? So far this season, it's been like Bizarro NFC East, with the Eagles front office behaving like Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato in days of yore, and the Redskins plugging away and winning games. LOLskins, indeed.
You know what the Skins are really good at this year? Running the ball. You know what the Eagles couldn't do if you paid them? Stop the run. No really - these guys are well-paid, and look what's happened in the first five games. You know what it takes to stop the run? Solid linebackers and defensive players who can tackle. So our boys in green are 0 for 2 there.
The Philly news media and my fellow bloggers have been all about "this is a MUST-WIN game!" this week.
Yeah, so was last week's game against the Bills. And so was the Eagles week three home opener against the 49ers. And the week two matchup against the Giants.
The team needs to make MAJOR adjustments. Maybe to coaching, maybe to personnel, either who they have or where they're playing them (or both), and certainly to their approach to practicing and preparing for games and to playcalling. So, you know, everything. I don't see that happening until the bye week which, mercifully, is next week. Hopefully the team won't have given up by then, because they're going to go into it 1-5.
Redskins (God help me).
In the rest of the matchups:
Panthers at Falcons: The Panthers are on the rise and the Falcons have lost their 14-2 magic, but they are still damn hard to beat at home, and I don't see them letting a divisional game slip away, particularly with one of the NFC wildcard spots virtually guaranteed to the North at this point. Falcons.
Colts at Bengals: Adam Schefter started a tweet storm with his bit on SportsCenter this morning about what he would recommend - if anyone was asking - in the way of hypothetical, proposed trades. The next thing you know, someone tweeted "Dawkins being traded to Philly" as fact, and we were off to the races. But Schefter did have one thing right - the Colts should just trade everyone they can to get as many draft picks next year as possible to go with their new QB, Andrew Luck, and their new head coach, Peyton Manning. Bengals.
49ers at Lions: If you're not an NFC East fan, this is the game to watch in the 1 pm time slot. Both teams are way outperforming expectations this year. With the Lions, it's been building. Looking at what's been going on with that team in the past few years, anyone with half a brain in her head could see they were on the cusp of something great. This is the year it all starts coming together for them. In the meantime, you may remember the 2005 draft, when Aaron Rodgers was taken in the first round, but not until pick 24. Remember who was drafted #1? Yep, Alex Smith. For the past six years, he's looked like a HUGE bust. Then a little thing happened I like to call "Competent Coaching." Jim Harbaugh is having a tremendous effect on that entire football team, not least their QB. I give the edge to the Lions because I feel like their climb from the cellar of the NFL is on a stronger footing, because they're at home, and because their division is much tougher. Also, Team of Destiny! Lions.
Rams at Packers: There's at least one game per season where I advise one of the teams to forfeit. This would be that game. Just forfeit, Rams, and save yourselves the shame of being the first team in NFL history to lose by three digits. Packers, with the gimme pick.
Bills at Giants: I was reading Big Blue View and the Giants fans seem, to me, to be irrationally optimistic about their ability to handle the hot Bills. Face it guys: the NFC East is just not very good this year, and these Bills are not your daddy's Bills. Bills.
Jaguars at Steelers: You know what other long-tenured head coach's days are looking numbered? Jack Del Rio. Steelers.
Texans at Ravens: This is a tough one to call. Both teams have posted BIG wins over the Steelers. I know the Texans are dealing with some injuries at this point, and I know the Ravens are playing at home, but I have to go with my recently graduated Team of Destiny. Texans.
Browns at Raiders: Look for the Raiders to extend their Al Davis Memorial Winning Streak to two this week.
Cowboys at Pats: Even if Tony Romo doesn't completely melt down at some point during the game - which is starting to look like a weekly occurrence - there is NO WAY the Cowboys win this game. Yeah, I know the Pats have, statistically, the worst defense in the entire league. I also know that the Cowboys will NOT be able to keep up on offense. No way. Pats. Yes, that means three NFC East teams will lose this week. Told you we aren't very good this year.
Saints at Buccaneers: The Bucs seem to be regressing, which is too bad, because they were showing some promise. Back to blacked out games, Tampa. Saints.
Vikings at Bears: The Bears o-line is putrid this year, which just might be enough to keep the Vikings in this game. But I still think Lovie's team will walk away with a W, as long as Jared Allen doesn't completely flatten Jay Cutler. And even that might not be enough.
Dolphins at Jets: Finally, the Jets are facing an opponent they can DEFINITELY beat in the 0-4 Dolphins. At least they better, or Rex's head might literally explode on the sidelines. Jets.
On bye: Broncos, Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs, Seahawks, Titans