Tha Sports Junkies 101

Are These 3-1 Eagles Real Contenders?

real contenders Keith Allison via Flickr


The Eagles Will Have To Prove They Are Real Contenders In The NFC Soon

Philadelphia is going back home with a lot of momentum. Their next opponents are the Arizona Cardinals, who possess one of Philly’s secondary’s long-time worst nightmares, wide receiver Larry Darnell Fitzgerald Jr. This Eagles team has won three games out of four, in which three out of the four games were road games. The question now is, are they real contenders?

Which Teams Have The Eagles Beaten And Lost To This Regular Season?

They took down their divisional rivals, the Washington Redskins, at their stadium in Week 1 after many doubted they would leave Fed-Ex Field with a victory. They lost in Week 2 against arguably the NFL’s best team, the Kansas City Chiefs. Then in Week 3, the New York Giants came to town for a divisional showdown that was decided by a game-winning field goal from Eagles rookie kicker Jake Elliott in the last seconds of the game. This past weekend, they had to face the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center, and the Eagles came out victorious once again after a close game.

How Different Is This 3-1 Record From Last Season?

After four games, Philadelphia is 3-1 again this season. What are the differences between the 2016-2017 team and the 2017-18 team? Experience, talent, and competition. Philly might have won three out of four games last season, but two of those victories came against mediocre teams like the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears. Their only significant victory in that span was the demolition of a Pittsburgh Steelers team that finished the season with the AFC North title and an 11-5 regular season record. The 2016-2017 team’s first loss came against the Detroit Lions after a bye week, and Philadelphia never recovered from that defeat. Philly finished 4-10 after their promising 3-1 start and went on to become the laughing-stock of the NFC East.

The Eagles Lacked Experience, And It Hurt Them Last Season

It is no secret that Philadelphia started last season with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback. Since the beginning of last season, they were not considered real contenders. They got rid of Chip Kelly near the end of the 2015-2016 season. They stacked all their chips in the 2016 NFL draft to pick quarterback Carson Wentz from North Dakota State with the second overall pick. Philly proceeded to hire Doug Pederson away from the Kansas City Chiefs in the offseason and gave him the big job.

Poor Coaching Held The Eagles Back In Tight Games

The regular season started off nicely, and then everything went down the drain. The team lost close games, and some blamed the coaching. The coaching staff was in denial of wide receiver Nelson Agholor’s evident struggles catching the ball in games. Head coach Pederson made some questionable calls in crucial games such as the Lions game and the Giants game in Week 9. It did not help Pederson that he had a rookie quarterback as his main guy.

Wentz Ran Right Into The Rookie Wall

The quarterback now has a year of NFL experience under his belt. Wentz has shown that he’s learned from last season by knowing when to take the sack and when to get rid of the ball. One of his issues last season was his dangerous knack for trying to keep the play alive. The North Dakota State product looked like a respectable NFL quarterback after one season. The truth is, he was still a rookie, and opposing defenses eventually exposed that.

It Was Clear The Offense Had Little Talent To Assist Wentz

There’s only a few NFL quarterbacks that can survive without a good receiving corps. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz had one of the worst receiving corps last year. The running game was shaky, and no team should ever trust Ryan Mathews with a ball in his hands. This season, Wentz has plenty of weapons around him to help him step up his game as a quarterback. So far, the results have been fair, and it is tough for any Philadelphia fan to complain.

The Defense Had Talent, But Not Enough

The defense needs more elite talent on the secondary. Safety Malcolm Jenkins is the team’s best talent in the secondary. Cornerback Ronald Darby was brought from Buffalo to bolster the secondary, but he suffered an injury in the first week of the regular season. The Eagles have been forced to start rookie cornerback Rasul Douglas to cover for Darby. The defense has lost a couple of players due to injury, but they have managed, which is a positive sign.

Consistency Is What The Eagles Need To Show After Their 3-1 Start

Nothing speaks louder than victories in the league. The Birds have proven they can win against divisional rivals and win close games when they have to. They have to make it a trend to show that they are real contenders. Philadelphia is at a crucial moment of the season where they cannot stop winning. What am I trying to say? It is not how you start; it is how you finish. Stay tuned, Eagles fans, because this is where the fun begins!