PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Eagles’ offense couldn’t find any momentum in last week’s loss to the Seahawks as they dropped to 5-6 on the season. Luckily, the Birds now face the hapless 2-9 Miami Dolphins as the schedule eases up considerably down the home stretch of the season.
CBS3’s football experts have your Week 13 breakdown and predictions.
Carson Wentz played the worst game of his career in the 17-9 loss to the Seahawks, but he wasn’t helped at all by his so-called playmakers and the play-calling. During Monday’s press conference, head coach Doug Pederson says the offense will improve. Do you see this happening at all?
CBS3 Sports Director Don Bell: Absolutely! But not because of an influx of talent or a miracle brainstorm that produces masterful play-calling. They’ll improve because they’re taking on a Dolphins team that is allowing an NFL-high 31 points per game. Voila! I give you INSTANT OFFENSE.
CBS3 Sports Reporter Lesley Van Arsdall: When you hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up. So yes, I think things on offense will improve simply because things can’t get much worse for Wentz and company. To help matters, they should have some injured players back in the lineup and the level of competition going forward will provide easier matchups.
Reporter Pat Gallen: I do think it will get better with a complete roster. Getting Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard, Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks back will no doubt help Wentz. Plus, a soothing balm for what ails the team is playing the Dolphins while desperate for a playoff spot.
Reporter Dan Koob: Yes, only because the schedule gets so much easier. The defenses they’re going to see the rest of the way are somewhere between “professional” and “toilet tissue soft.” The sheer numbers should increase but it doesn’t mean the offense is better.
Sports Producer Andy Wheeler: The offense will look better this week because the Dolphins are a mess, but I’m not sure I can agree with Pederson. I honestly can’t tell if it’s Carson, Doug, the rest of the offense or some combination of all three. However, I don’t believe for one minute the offense will get any better. It may look better against some of the inferior teams they’ll play, but the offense stinks.
This is supposed to be the “easy” part of the Eagles’ schedule as they face the 2-9 Dolphins, 2-9 Redskins, 2-9 Giants twice and the 6-6 Cowboys. But you can’t say they are gimme games at this point. How many of these games do you think the Eagles can realistically win with the way they’re playing?
Bell: Hmmmm, this smells like a 3-2 finish. Yes, they’re playing bad teams, but the Eagles are also fully capable of losing to any one of these teams. When you reduce your margin to absolute MUST-WIN status, all it takes is one hot quarter from Fitzmagic to sink your hopes and dreams.
Van Arsdall: They could easily run the table and win all five remaining games and that’s because of the defense. If Wentz and the offense can at least manage to be competitive, the defense just might be strong enough to send the Eagles to the playoffs. Yes, the defense is that good. They can carry the load for the Eagles if needed, but the offense has got to step it up.
Gallen: I have said this probably for the last six weeks — I think Don and LVA can attest to my annoying answers — but I think they win out. I genuinely believe that. And if I end up being wrong, I’ll say I’m wrong. But these teams are not good. And honestly, neither are the Cowboys. That is absolutely a winnable game with the way the defense is playing.
5-0. It starts here. I’m telling you!
Koob: See above. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Birds ended the season 9-7 because of the teams left, but that would be fools gold. Offseason moves should be focused along the defensive line, wide receivers and offensive line.
Wheeler: Four games at the least. Their defense has been very good and the quality of the teams they play is horrible. I think the Eagles split with the Giants and the Cowboys’ game is a coin flip.
Jordan Matthews’ third stint with the Birds was his quickest. Are you surprised they waived the wide receiver after only two games?
Bell: Unfortunately, no, only because he struggled to stick in his previous spots — Buffalo, New England and San Francisco. When a player is released by that many teams in such a short period of time, something is wrong. I wish him the best.
Van Arsdall: Not at all. We all love to love Matthews but reality check: he caught just four passes in two games. And he was outplayed last week by Greg Ward, a guy from the practice squad. The Eagles needed to make room on the roster for players returning from injury. So just like that Matthews is gone. Again.
Gallen: Not surprised, but I’m also kinda like, “what?” I guess they wanted someone who could just step in and who knows the offense. But also, what’s the point? Why not take a flier on someone else and see if there’s a spark? We know who Matthews is already. He was going to play a lot of snaps and not give a lot of production. I thought it could have been a nice opportunity to take someone off the free-agent market and see if you could dig up some gold.
Koob: He’s been on four teams in four years for a reason. No.
Wheeler: A little surprised, yes. The Eagles don’t have much else, so to see him get let go like that was a little surprising but it wasn’t like he had a big game or anything. His results didn’t demonstrate that they needed to keep him so I understand the move.
Yes, the Dolphins are 2-9, but their starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, was behind center when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Eagles last season. Can “Fitzmagic” put a nail in the coffin of the Eagles’ season or will the Birds’ defense continue playing at a high level?
Bell: Ryan can either be Fitzmagic or Fitztragic. One never knows. But when he’s on, he’ll make a defensive coordinator’s life miserable. He’s the type of guy that could approach the hottest girl in the room with lettuce in his teeth and walk away with the digits while his buddies watch in awe. Look, Fitzpatrick is married with like 35 kids and I don’t know him personally. But that’s how I view his career – he’s the ultimate “any given Sunday” player.
As for the Eagles’ defense, they’ve held opponents to 17 points or fewer in four straight games for the first time in a decade. They’re playing great. Having said that, the Eagles are playing with fire. There will DEFINITELY be a defensive hiccup during one of these games and when that happens, the offense better be ready.
Van Arsdall: The “Fitzmagic” show will perform a disappearing act against this Eagles’ defense. He does not have me worried in the least. The only way the Eagles lose to Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins is if they beat themselves.
Gallen: I genuinely love “Fitzmagic.” I love that he’s a Harvard guy, I love the beard, I love that he’s played for every NFL, CFL and NFL Europe team — I jest. But the Dolphins’ roster is just bad. They are not good and they should not win this game. And with this Eagles’ defense hungry and ready to feast, I think it’ll be a little more “Fitztragic” than magic.
Koob: I love me some Fitzmagic for fantasy reasons only. But the Eagles should win Sunday if they have any pride left.
Wheeler: I think if the Eagles lose this game the entire front office and coaching staff should be fired. Fitzpatrick is maybe the only guy on that team anybody will know and if he somehow leads them to a win over the Eagles with the way the Eagles’ defense is playing, he deserves a bust in Canton considering the “talent” around him.
Bell: I’m picking the Eagles because they tend to feast on bottom feeders. However, I’m not very confident in this prediction. AT. ALL. Birds 23. Fish 17.
Van Arsdall: Eagles win 27-10.
Gallen: Eagles 30-16.
Koob: Eagles 21-20.
Wheeler: Eagles win 28-14.