|Eagle HQ: Low Ceilings R Us|
Notwithstanding the fools' gold of a three-point win, at home, against a sub-.500 opponent that couldn't stop taking penalties as if there were hoarders at the dollar store, the win means that the final two games of the year should be relevant, and thank goodness for very small favors. If Philly wins out, they beat DC in the process, and also NY, so the division is theirs at 9-7. (This includes a thoroughly unlikely win over Arizona next Sunday night, but what the hell, it's not like the last two wins were high in the likely meter either.) Even if they crap the bed against Arizona next week, 8-8 might be enough to get it done. DC would have to win in Buffalo next week, and the Giants would have to win in Miami. Plenty of scenarios in which .500 gets it done.
But here's the thing: who the hell cares? With both teams winning today and all of the other chasers in the NFC falling back, it's becoming overwhelmingly likely that the team that they'd host in an NFC wild card game is merely the defending NFC champions, aka the Seattle Seahawks. And sure, Seattle is a little banged up at running back, and their WRs are not terrifying, and they've also lost TE Jimmy Graham for the year as well. And ever since all of that bad stuff happened, they've pass blocked with a vengeance, and QB Russell Wilson has thrown for a ton of touchdown passes. And if you think it's just their usual home field advantage, well, nope. Destroyed Minnesota in their yard, destroyed Baltimore in theirs.
So that's the ceiling, by the way, for Year Three of the Kelly Era; a home loss where you aren't competitive against a Real Team. Kind of like how Seattle came to town a year ago, after the Eagles were feeling good about themselves after beating Dallas, and beat the living garbage out of them. That team had a better line, a better RB, a better WR, and the defense actually played well that day. And they lost by multiple touchdowns in a game that writ large in the Western sky that Kelly's scheme didn't work against a physical defense / real contender. You know, kind of like what happened to him in college, too.
So, back to back wins, season saved, at least another year of Boy GM making indefensible personnel decisions. Just this week, we learned that he offered DeMarco Murray twice what he would have made in Dallas, plus made the cap money terrible, because why wouldn't you. I have no words. This also means probably another year of not nearly good enough QB play from Sam Bradford, at a number that will be somewhere between painful and pointless. Maybe progress will be achieved, and Nero will at least cut Mark Sanchez loose, or actually get his hands on some offensive linemen. And with the division remaining a place where half of the owners are meddling morons, winning it again really isn't exactly impossible.
But again, at the core... who cares? Kelly's team isn't young. His draft picks aren't thrilling. His free agent picks have been a complete disaster. His offensive schemes aren't fooling anyone any more, and if his team gets to the playoffs, it will do so on a another mix of flukish wins. We aren't anywhere closer to an actually good team, or playoff wins, or even a very watchable team, than we've ever been.
With at least one more year, and maybe two, to learn more about what we already know.