September 25, 2015
An 0-2 record is a major hole to dig out of, but it’s not impossible. Since the playoff format expanded to 12 teams in 1990, teams that lost their first two games made the postseason about 11 percent of the time.
0-3, on the other hand, is almost impossible. Only two percent of the teams that started with that record qualified for the playoffs. For all intents and purposes, the Eagles’ season is already on the line Sunday in the Meadowlands. Welcome to Week 3, Philadelphia!
Unfortunately, the Birds aren’t playing a cupcake. The Jets welcomed Fireman Ed back in the fold and went on to win their first two games, including an impressive performance on Monday night in Indy. The last time that the Eagles started 0-2, Kevin Curtis of all people had 221 yards receiving in a blowout win over the Detroit Lions at the Linc. Something tells me this one won’t come quite as easy.
At least history is on the Eagles’ side, as they’re 9-0 all-time in the series. Here's what you need to know for when the Birds take on Todd Bowles’ New York Jets on Sunday:
TV: FOX | RADIO: 94.1 WIP
SPREAD: Jets -2.5 | TOTAL: 45.5 (via Bovada)
It’s worth nothing that all three of us are 0-2 straight up and against the spread, so I guess you could say that we’re due! Over at Bleeding Green Nation, five of the seven writers are picking the Jets to win. The Inquirer writers, Jeff McLane and Zach Berman, are split.
Defensively, the Jets average 0.81 points allowed per drive, which is best in the NFL. Offensively, the Eagles average 1.36 points per drive, which is 30th in the NFL. The Jets have also collected 10 turnovers from their first two opponents, which is a combination of them making plays, and their opponents being sloppy with the football. Getting five turnovers per game is clearly not sustainable. Still, the Jets defense is playing outstanding football while the Eagles' offense is, you know, not. The Eagles can't catch, they can't block, and they can't throw. I can't pick them until they start showing that they can do basic fundamental football acts.
The Jets have just enough weapons on offense led by Brandon Marshall to put up enough points on offense to get their first ever victory over the Eagles, who are 9-0 all-time over the Jets.
Let’s make this one fairly short: There is no way in good conscience I can pick the Philadelphia Eagles to win a football game after what we saw last Sunday at The Linc. That was one of the most embarrassing offensive performances we have ever seen in the NFL. The receivers, quarterback, and offensive line were all terrible. Why would those things improve dramatically against a team with a defensive line, linebacking corps, and secondary that are all pretty good?
I think the Eagles will play hard, and Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t exactly a terrifying proposition. Still, it’s hard to imagine them moving the ball at all against Bowles, Revis, and the rest of that defense.
Even If you were afraid to say it last week, I think we've reached the point where it's safe to call this a must-win game for the Eagles. However, there’s been little evidence this season to suggest Chip Kelly’s team is capable of such feats. And given how the offense looked last week against a mediocre (at best) Cowboys defense, why would we expect anything better facing a team that’s created a league-best 10 turnovers this season?
At the same time, they can’t be this bad all season right? Wrong. I don’t want to go as far as to say this is the 2012 “Dream Team” all over again, but their nearing the point of no return; the point where things get so bad that there’s absolutely no turning back. A loss to the Jets, falling to 0-3, that would not only spell the end of the season, but would also cause mass hysteria among Eagles fans.
I think the Eagles are due — I hate that kind of sports analysis, but what the hell do you make of this team? — and I also think the fact that the Jets are coming off a short week and riding high at 2-0 will help. I don’t know why I keep doing this, because it’s caused nothing but disappointment so far this season. I’ll take the Eagles picking up their first win of the season, albeit in a close one.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann