PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The 3-4 Eagles are looking to snap a two-game losing streak after another dreadful loss in Dallas. The Birds now head to Buffalo in the final leg of a three-game road trip to face the 5-1 Bills.
CBS3’s football experts have your weekly breakdown and predictions.
Well… that was a disaster. For a second week in a row, the Eagles were outplayed, outcoached, and outmanned. The offense and defense appear to be in shambles. Will getting embarrassed on national television by the hated Cowboys stoke a fire under them or will the season continue to get worse?
Sports director Don Bell: If you take a look at their schedule, it has to get worse before it gets better. They’re at Buffalo and then host the Bears, Patriots and Seahawks. Those teams are a combined 19-6. Yikes.
I thought the 18-point loss in Minnesota would ignite their competitive fire. Instead, they doubled down with another beatdown.
Sports reporter Lesley Van Arsdall: At this point, I’m worried that we are officially in the downward spiral zone. The fire SHOULD have been stoked before the Dallas game and the Eagles couldn’t even manage a spark. In every aspect of the game, the Birds are trending in the wrong direction. Not a good sign.
Reporter Pat Gallen: As crazy as it sounds, I think it does work. Remember last year against the Saints? It was much worse than this game — a 48-7 drubbing. The Eagles were left for dead and then something wild happened. With a 4-6 record, they won five out of the next six games, made the playoffs and actually won a game. I think this year plays out much like last.
Reporter Dan Koob: I’m more concerned with the off-field nonsense because it’s obviously carrying over to the field. Anonymous sources and criticisms leaking out to the media is a quick recipe to find out how strong your locker room really is. The Eagles look more like “The Righteous Gemstones” than they do “The Brady Bunch.”
Sports producer Andy Wheeler: I think the Eagles are in a freefall with no parachute. They are weak in too many areas. Coaching stands out almost more than offense, defense or special teams.
The Eagles’ players aren’t playing well and look less talented than everyone they are playing. I’d love to say they can cobble together a “you didn’t believe in us” energy like they did when they won the Super Bowl, but seeing these last two games makes me think the season is over.
Head coach Doug Pederson says the mistakes the Eagles make are fixable but they continue to happen. Do you think these mistakes are correctable or is Pederson trying to talk himself into it?
Bell: Calling a 3rd-and-4 run into the teeth of the defense while trailing 14-7 is fixable. Expecting Rasul Douglas to run step-for-step with elite receivers down field is a pipe dream. The Eagles can coach and prepare better, but over the last couple weeks they’ve been operating with a talent deficit. That’s not going to change unless they get healthy and those players perform up to expectations.
Van Arsdall: I think Pederson is trying to talk himself, the players and fans into the idea that things are fixable. Pederson is a positive guy, so that message won’t change. But the only way to fix things is to start winning games.
Gallen: Again, I revert back to last season. They can be fixed. And you’d have to think with the talent on this roster, can it really get any worse? I don’t think it can — in fact, I think it gets much, much better.
Koob: I think we’re going to see how well this coaching staff reaches players. The Super Bowl shine has worn off. Two team leaders can’t agree on who or what constitutes being late for meetings and who should regulate. I’m not answering the prompt because I can’t stress it enough: Get your house in order, Doug Pederson.
Wheeler: I think Pederson is completely lost. He’s only as good as his assistant coaches and they haven’t been good either. Any kind of statement or thought that effort, game plan, execution and talent are all fixable is folly. You can maybe fix one or two things, but you can’t fix a lack of talent no matter how many trades you make.
Following the loss in Dallas, Lane Johnson revealed that some players have been late to meetings and practices. This comes after an anonymous player criticized Carson Wentz. Do you believe there is dissension in the locker room and is the coaching staff acting too lax towards the players?
Bell: Loose lips sink ships. And right now, the Birds are doing too much chirping — both on and off the record. Leadership appears to be lacking as well. Doug Pederson played for Don Shula, Mike Holmgren and Andy Reid. He was an apprentice under Reid. His non-guarantee guarantee was an epic gaffe and he should know better. They all need to tighten it up.
Van Arsdall: Any team that started the season with Super Bowl aspirations and is now in shambles will have dissension in the locker room. It’s the fact that the finger-pointing has gone public that points to a much bigger issue. It’s not about the coaching staff being lax, it’s about professional players lacking respect for their fellow players and coaches.
Gallen: When a team is losing, stuff like this always rears its ugly head. What changes that? Winning, of course! I believe there certainly is dissension in the locker room — most losing locker rooms have that.
But getting back on track quiets the noise. That said, I think Pederson runs a relatively loose ship. It’s a group full of veteran players, many of whom have won a Super Bowl.
So Doug isn’t likely to be a dictator day-in, day-out. He’s letting the players figure it out and police themselves. I don’t think that will change.
Koob: Yes to the first part. The second part is impossible to say. Maybe someone will, but not put their name on it.
Wheeler: Locker rooms take time to gel. That’s a known fact. Sometimes you just won’t have a group that can get along with each other.
However, when you have players not showing up, being late or being cowards and ripping their teammates with anonymous quotes, that means something else is going on — something much worse.
This isn’t the old Bills’ team that you’re used to as Buffalo is 5-1 heading into Sunday’s game against the Eagles. Who on the Bills could hurt the Birds the most?
Bell: Sneaky answer of the day: Cole Beasley.
Shifty slot receivers who move the third-down chains are like pacifiers for young quarterbacks like Josh Allen. They also slay defenses by a thousand small cuts.
Van Arsdall: This Bills team is 5-1, but they lack any true game-breaking players. So I’ll go with head coach Sean McDermott. He’s got his team playing like a team. The players are buying into his message and supporting each other, something the Eagles players should take notes on.
Gallen: I hate to downplay a 5-1 record because you can only beat who’s on your schedule… but yeah, I’m going to downplay it a bit. The Bills have beaten the Jets, Giants, Bengals, Titans and Dolphins.
Their combined win-loss totals? 6-27! That’s five awful teams. Again, they can’t help that the schedule makers made it easy on them early. And while I do think the Bills defense is legit, I’m not sure they’re a true 5-1 team. We’ll see Sunday.
Koob: Josh Allen isn’t a good quarterback but he uses his legs efficiently. I’d be concerned with his ability to convert third downs purely by extending plays and improvising.
Wheeler: Everyone. If you get crushed by two teams in consecutive weeks, you need to fear literally everyone on the Buffalo squad — Josh Allen, Frank Gore –every single one of them.
Bell: All of Buffalo’s wins have come against losing teams, so the Birds have a decent chance. However, I’m picking against the Eagles until they show a pulse. Don’t @ me, bro!
Bills 27 – Eagles 19.
Van Arsdall: Bills win 27-20.
Gallen: I thought the Eagles would go 1-2 during their three straight road games, and I stand by that. Eagles 23-19.
Koob: Man, the Eagles are more talented than the Bills. I truly believe that. But they’re just so snakebitten. Bills 20, Eagles 17.
Wheeler: Eagles lose 30-14.