It was bound to happen.
The Philadelphia Eagles are a good team, but not even the most avid fan should have expected them to go 15-1. They were going to lose again at least once — and maybe even twice — before the playoffs start.
That’s still not too shabby. If someone had told you before the season the Eagles were going to be 14-2 or 13-3 and win the NFC East going away, you would have been dancing in the street like Suzanne Muldowney, aka “Underdog,” in the West Cape May Christmas Parade.
Unless coach Doug Pederson suddenly turns into Rich Kotite and quarterback Carson Wentz starts playing like Bobby Hoying, that’s going to happen. It’s taking a little longer than expected, but the Eagles will win the division.
The Birds also remain strong contenders to secure home-field advantage in the NFC, though their chances of earning the top seed took a hit with Sunday’s loss to Seattle and Minnesota’s win at Atlanta.
So there’s no reason to panic.
The Eagles are in good shape, but the air of invincibilty that surrounded the team for almost three months is now as cloudy as the Seattle sky.
By the way, I don’t think I could live there. The city has a lot of things going for it — majestic mountains nearby, a vibrant downtown area, all the Pacific salmon you can eat, and a Starbucks on every corner — but the dreary weather is a real downer.
I’d much prefer the Los Angeles area, where the Eagles are practicing this week. Their workouts are being held at Millville native and Eagles’ season-ticket holder Mike Trout’s home away from home, Angels Stadium in Anaheim.
Give me warm weather, beautiful beaches, fish tacos, year-round golf and paddleboarding, and Disneyland any day.
As Albert Hammond once famously sang, “It Never Rains in Southern California.”
That’s not to suggest the Eagles don’t have to worry about a storm, however.
Their nine-game winning streak was impressive, but it was primarily built against teams that will be watching the playoffs on TV. Those nine opponents currently are a combined 40-68. Only one of the victories — a 28-23 triumph at Carolina (8-4) on Oct. 12 — can be considered a quality win.
They flunked their first major test against the Seahawks on Sunday night.
The Eagles’ juggernaut of an offense was more like a jugger-not. At times it seemed as if Wentz’s twin, Prince Harry, was in charge. The defense could not contain Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who made a case for surpassing Wentz as the NFL MVP.
And Pederson did not have his best game.
They face another big challenge this Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams (9-3), who are in first place in the NFC West behind quarterback Jared Goff and coach Sean McVay.
The Eagles could also lose that game and still be mathematically in good shape regarding their own division race, but their self-confidence would undoubtedly start to sag, along with their Super Bowl dreams.
That would make for some lousy weather in Wentzylvania.
(David Weinberg’s Extra Points column appears Wednesdays and Sundays in The Press.)
Contact: 609-272-7201 DWeinberg@pressofac.com