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John Wayne's Holster: Eagles Are Again the Class of the NFC East
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Monday, October 09, 2006

Eagles Are Again the Class of the NFC East

102-yrd Interception Return by Lito Sheppard Seals the Deal Against the Cowboys

After last years’ playoffs, I predicted that the Philadelphia Eagles would win the NFC East this year, despite finishing with a 6-10 record last year and getting swept in their division.

Although we are only five weeks into the season, the Eagles appear the be the class of their division once again.

Many of the pundits are picking Dallas. Some are picking the Giants or Redskins. I just don’t see it happening. I see the same things in those teams this year as I saw last year. The Redskins have no offense other than Portis – and the rest of the team may have taken a step back. Dallas has a lot of talent, but they are also very inconsistent on both sides of the ball. The Giants are also inconsistent and have problems in the secondary. Tiki Barber also seems to have lost a step. Eli Manning on the other hand is getting better and may be a force to be reckoned with in the near future. The big problem with the Giants is a lack of passion and a major lack of discipline. They seem to take major pentalties at key moments of the game.

The Eagles on the other hand look good to me. Their offense in the #1 offense in the league to this point – gaining about 418 yrds/game. Donovan McNabb is having a Dan Fouts-like season, heaving the ball for 1600 yrds and 11 TDs. Their top receivers (Brown and Stallworth) are banged up, but the rest of the receiving corps have performing susprisingly well. In the five games this year, a different receiver has stepped up to lead the team. And T.O. is not missed. The Eagles are also running well. The key for the running game is to keep Brian Westbrook healthy and to keep Correll Buckhalter from fumbling the ball.

The defense is playing fairly well, but they must play better. Currently they are giving up around 335 yrds/game. They have had a lot of injuries to start the season, but they seem to be getting healthy now. The loss of Jevon Kearse is big. He was a great pash rusher. Now someone else is going to have to step up. The secondary also has a few guys that are banged up. Rod Hood is still nursing an injured heel. Lito Sheppard is still hurting, but he returned from injury yesterday and played extremely well.

Fortunately for the Eagles, their first half of their schedule is relatively easy. They should go into their bye week with a record of 7-1 or maybe 6-2. They will have some time to heal up before hitting the meat of their schedule.

In the second half, they have four divisional games (Dallas, Giants, and two against Washington). They also face Indianapolis (A), Carolina (H) and Atlanta (H). This is where we will find out just how good the Eagles are.

My prediction is that the Eagles will finish 11-5. I think the Eagles have a legitimate shot at making it to the NFC Championship Game. If they do, they will probably face Seattle or Chicago. Both of those teams will be touch to beat. Among those three teams, the Bears are playing the best football right now. Seattle is not playing well now, but I think they will turn it around.

How will the Eagles finish? Superbowl? Probably not!


At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Roy said...

Is it really football season? I don't really like that sport but for what its worth I still think the Cowboys will win the East. As you said everything comes down to the second half of the season when they face a much tougher schedule. The Eagles struggled early on with the Packers and Westbrook will need to be %100 if they have any shot in the playoffs. I think 10-6 is more reasonable but then again I am a bitter Raider fan. That being said the Eagles are building momentum which can make a team play better than they are. However, I don't see anyone getting passed Chicago unless the injury bug hits em.


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