The Eagles are back in the thick of the playoff race and coming off their most impressive win of the season, depending who you ask.
Just don’t get too excited yet. The Eagles aren’t.
“We're not there yet, but we're getting close,” Doug Pederson said when asked if the Eagles’ season was starting to turn around after Monday’s victory, their first back-to-back wins in 2018.
After beating Washington, the Eagles remain one game back of Dallas for first place in the NFC East ahead of this Sunday’s head-to-head. Suddenly, the wild-card picture is wide open as well, leaving two potential paths back to the playoffs.
It’s also how they won. The Eagles’ 436 total yards of offense were a season-best, and 28 points their second-highest total this year and most in six games. Similarly, Washington’s 235 yards were a season-low for the Eagles’ defense, and 13 points surrendered their stingiest effort in six games.
All good signs, but not nearly enough to convince coaches and players the team has rounded back into Super Bowl form.
“We’re a long way from that, I promise you,” Lane Johnson said.
Turning a corner, at least?
“I don’t know,” Jason Kelce said. “I don’t want to say that.”
Can you blame them? Much was made over winning back-to-back games for the first time, capped by the first comfortable win since October. Yet, look at the level of competition they’ve faced, and it’s easy to see why there is cautious optimism.
A come-from-behind win over the lowly Giants does not instill a ton of confidence. Beating Washington with a third-string quarterback and a patchwork offensive line — both units comprised largely of men who weren’t on NFL rosters a month ago — isn’t very inspiring, either.
The Eagles know this, which is why the true test awaits in Dallas.
“We’ll see after this week,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “We understand where we are as far the season. No bigger game than this one coming up, so while we’re excited about putting two wins together, we don’t take care of business this week, it’s all for naught.”
None of which is to suggest the developments over the last two weeks aren’t promising. The Eagles were finding ways to lose situations like the Giants game earlier in the season and did exactly what good teams are supposed to do to damaged teams like Washington’s.
There appears to be a difference in confidence and demeanor, perhaps because the team is beginning to get healthy.
“You’re always playing nicked up," Kelce said, "but shortened offseason combined with the quarterback missing an entire offseason with the starting unit, left tackle coming off of an ACL injury, a bunch of guys coming off of late injuries, it’s hard from a chemistry standpoint.”
Kelce stressed injuries were no excuse, although it does seem to be a common denominator.
“I don’t know if we’re turning the corner, but we’re starting to run a little bit,” Johnson said. “I don’t know where we’re going, but I think we’re going in the right direction as far as we have guys coming back from injuries.”
Maybe the Eagles will revert back to Super Bowl form yet this season. All we know is the team isn’t there right now, with a huge game against the rival Cowboys looming.
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