As Dr. Fauci can attest, the greatest calamity the world has suffered through this year has been, without a fraction of a doubt, the NFC East divisional race.
The champion will either be 7-9 or 6-10, miraculously hosting a playoff game against a team that assuredly won double-digit games.
Needless to say, we all lost this year. Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, and Washington fans can sing Kumbaya around the campfire lamenting what could have been; playoff hopes snuffed out, hopeful headlines erased. Philadelphia and Dallas were supposed to compete with the pride of the NFC, while the Giants sought to get results from their supposed franchise gunslinger finally. Washington literally lost its name, which was somehow the only positive storyline out of a franchise whose front office has been revealed to be a fraternity of sexual harassers.
Saquon Barkley basically died, Alex Smith’s reincarnation was fruitless, Dak Prescott pulled a Kevin Ware, Carson Wentz forgot how to quarterback, Doug Pederson forgot how to coach, James Madison University’s own Ben DiNucci embarrassed the entire state of Virginia on live television, and Dwayne Haskins is as unemployed as I am.
As the dust settles, January 3rd will reveal the division’s victor, likely either the Washington team or America’s most annoying franchise.
But setting aside the season per se, the Eagles can boast the best year:
The Eagles entered the year 9-7, just three days removed from raising another NFC East title. A tough loss to Seattle would make the playoffs a short-lived endeavor, but given where the team was in October, we were all pretty proud of what we had accomplished.
That offseason, Howie would criminally overlook the wide receiver department (though let’s not forget Marquise Goodwin is technically a Philadelphia Eagle), but he did address other issues. Bringing in Javon Hargrave has paid off handsomely as the Eagles are dominating at the line, and Darius Slay at the corner has allowed just 57 receiving yards per game. As the ink dried on their contracts, Jason Peters evaded an otherwise inevitable retirement, a signing that has saved us from having to ask Jalen Mills to put on 200 lbs. and try yet another position. Meanwhile, Jordan Mailata apparently can play football, and Rodney McLeod has justified Malcolm Jenkins’s departure.
None of that is to say it was a great offseason, but things were looking up heading into the draft.
Then the Eagles whiffed on Ceedee Lamb. Then the Eagles skipped out on Justin Jefferson. Then the Eagles selected a quarterback in the second round. The Eagles drafted an experimental linebacker in a year where open tryouts would produce a more reliable linebacker corps than we have.
Needless to say, not a great Draft.
Many of you are already in the comments blaring, “BUT THEY ONLY WON FOUR GAMES!!!” And you are absolutely correct. Here is the thing: we will finish the season 2.5-.5 games out of first place in a year without an offensive line or most starters.
Take a look at the quarterback position: this is the most important role in football, maybe in all of sports.
How does each team feel about their quarterback heading into 2021?
Dak Prescott bet on himself in a contract year only to see his season over by the end of September. Jerry Jones seems slow to give Dak the money he is asking for. With Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper eating up enormous cap hits, a quarterback extension could bankrupt the roster and pull apart their staunch offensive line.
The defense is already lacking, so unless Jones’ accountants can muster a miracle, Dak could be elsewhere next season.
Oh boy. After costing a first-round pick, Dwayne Haskins literally does not have a job. Meanwhile, Alex Smith has risen, in accordance with the scripture, only to have lost any semblance of the player he used to be.
The latter could certainly improve with more time in the offseason. Still, this team is slipping into Ron Rivera’s Carolina Panthers: a solid defense without the offensive prowess to win football games.
Danny Dimes! Say what you will about Howie; no one drafts better for the Eagles than the New York Giants. Taking Daniel Jones as early as they did was a mistake then, and it is a mistake now. Sure, defenses planning for Saquon Barkley may give him more time in the pocket or force a single-high safety, but even Barkley’s talent cannot single-handedly win games.
Jones is not a winning quarterback, so the Giants will continue to be a losing franchise.
All of this is to say, chin up! Brandon Brooks will be back, the team will heal, and maybe Howie will be fired! We have a brighter future than any NFC East team, even if our quarterback controversies never end.
The Eagles had the best 2020 of the division, and that title may not mean much, at least it means something.
And hey, the Patriots didn’t make it.
Featured Image: Chris Szagola/AP