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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Eagles are sitting at 4-4 at the bye week and midway point in the season, with their NFC East fate in their collective hands the final eight games—five of which come against their NFC East rivals.
It’s easy to see the Eagles going 6-2 the rest of the way, with the two losses coming at New Orleans (Nov. 18) and at the undefeated Los Angeles Rams (Dec. 16). It’s also just as easy seeing the Eagles finishing 6-10, despite their recent acquisition of speedy receiver Golden Tate just before the NFL trading deadline on Tuesday.
With starting right tackle Lane Johnson out possibly for a month with a sprained MCL in his knee, no one real workhorse running back, and relying on Halapoulivaati Vaitai to replace Johnson, and Jason Peters leaking seriously from aging wear and tear, the Eagles could conceivably lose twice to the Washington Redskins, drop one of two to Dallas and lose all three non-division opponents Houston, New Orleans and the Los Angeles Rams.
This season, the combined record of the four teams that the Eagles have beaten is 10-21. The Eagles haven’t won a game over a team with a winning record in the regular season since they beat the Rams last year on Dec. 10, the game in which Carson Wentz injured his left knee and was lost for the 2017-18 year.
Wentz looks sharp since his return. He’s completed 159 of 225 (70.7%), for 1,788 yards and 13 TDs, against two interceptions. For with a bonafide deep threat in Tate, those numbers could explode the second half of the season—as could Wentz. He’s still yet to prove he can win a game with two minutes to play and the Eagles down. His 1-8 record in a game like that over his three-year career are a stone, cold fact. He’s also fumbled the ball seven times and lost five—another brusque slap of reality.
Last year, the Eagles were eighth in the NFL in third-down efficiency (96-for-230, 41.7%). This year, they’re 13th (45-109).
Just how much time can the makeshift line of Vaitai at left tackle, left guard Stefen Wisniewski, who was benched for Isaac Seumalo, who will play some right tackle as Johnson and Peters mend, with center Jason Kelce and right guard Brandon Brooks in between?
It’s not very encouraging, considering Washington is fourth in the NFL in forced fumbles (11) and tied for second in the NFL with seven recovered fumbles.
Defensively, fourth downs have plagued this team throughout the first half of the season. Take away the fourth-and-15 conversion against Tennessee and fourth-and-10 against Carolina and the Eagles would be sitting nice at 6-2. But they didn’t stop either of those two teams and their fourth-down efficiency on defense is 22nd in the NFL (6 of 10 for 60%)
They’re relying on a thin defensive front, players like LaRoy Reynolds, who lost Carolina tight end Greg Olsen on the Panthers’ game-winning touchdown and Dexter McDougle, who can’t seem to keep his feet. Those older veterans aren’t difference-making players like Patrick Robinson and Corey Graham were last year.
The Eagles got Golden Tate on Tuesday, though nothing appears exactly golden as the Eagles open the second half of their season.
Washington appears the team to beat in the NFC East and the season could very well come down to the season finale against the visiting Redskins on Sunday, Dec. 10 at Lincoln Financial Field as to whether or not the Eagles are playoff bound.