Please get well soon, Dak. We’re all rooting for you, regardless of rivalry.
The Eagles are at a crossroads right now. Up ahead is an absolutely brutal schedule, with matchups against the Seahawks, Packers, Ravens, and Saints coming up (even the Browns look legit this year!). They were supposed to be better than 1-3-1 through their first 5 games, especially because of the gauntlet they are supposed to run through. Now, in any normal season, matchups with the best teams in the league and a losing record already is a death knell for almost any team. A quick glance at the Eagles’ depth chart shows that even if people like DeSean Jackson and Jalen Reagor returned from injury, this team is probably still not strong enough to beat 3-4 of those teams and cruise through their NFC East rivals. The Eagles are missing enough pieces that this doesn’t appear to be a Super Bowl favorite even when fully healthy. Maybe if they had resigned Malcolm Jenkins…
At any rate, this is not a normal year. For one, the NFC (L)East looks to be somehow worse than it was the last two years. It is truly a sight to behold when the Washington Football Team and even the Giants – two teams that are among the absolute worst in the league -- are arguably within striking distance of first place in the NFC East. After yesterday, the Eagles are still only a half game back of the division lead. And, making things more complicated is the injury to Dak Prescott, who was carted off the field during the Cowboys/Giants tilt. Regardless of how you feel about Prescott’s talent as a quarterback, there is no denying that their offense looks and plays far different with him at the helm than Andy “The Red Rocket” Dalton. While Dalton was 9/11 for 111 yards in relief, the offense is going to be less potent and explosive with him under center. Dallas already has no semblance of a defense; with a weaker offense and still no defense, Dallas could struggle to rack up wins. They have a lighter schedule than the Eagles, but again, new quarterback and no defense could spell doom for Dallas.
The Giants are simply not good and the Washington Football Team, down to Alex “Superhero” Smith at quarterback, is not going to be able to pull off too many wins. So, the race for the division is down to Andy Dalton (it doesn’t appear that Prescott will return any time soon) and Carson Wentz.
So, what does the path forward look like for the Eagles? They have a couple of different ways to go. If they simply keep the team as is and hope Jalen Reagor, DeSean Jackson, and Alshon Jeffery get healthy (no small task) in time, the Eagles could pray that Dallas struggles alongside them and stumble into a division title. If the Eagles decide to capitalize on this opportunity in their weak division and make a move to acquire more talent, it could help them secure the division title but might hurt their long-term prospects. With an already-aging team, this option doesn’t really appear to be in the Eagles’ best interest. The final option is that the Eagles can start dealing players of consequence for draft picks and assets and retool for next season and beyond.
Personally, I think the Eagles would be best served selling off players and treating this season as a wash. Even if they made the playoffs, I don’t think they would go very far, so it might be better for the team’s long-term health if Howie Roseman tried to look to the future. Zach Ertz might be able to fetch a healthy haul, since Roseman and Ertz seem to be on different pages with regards to his future in Philadelphia and the Eagles have Dallas Goedert ready to be the TE1. There are other players on shorter-term deals, so if the Eagles decide to go that route, they potentially could.
The remainder of the Eagles and Cowboys’ seasons (if there is one at all, thanks to Vice
President Davis Kelly’s Titans) will be interesting to watch, because the NFC East seems to be a race to the bottom with injuries and underperformance. Doug Pederson always seems to be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat and squeak the Eagles into the playoffs, so I am not counting the Eagles out just yet. However, I am certain that whoever backs their way into the NFC East division title will not perform well in the playoffs and the NFL might as well hand another team that spot in the playoffs anyways.