A little less than a month ago, things looked like they might be alright. Even after a spanking at the hands of the Cowboys, the Eagles responded to put up 31 points against the Bills. Then it was a home win against the Bears that, while not the prettiest, still posted more than 20 points.
Turns out, those were the outliers.
After scoring 10 points against the Patriots, Philadelphia came up with nine against Seattle. That’s 19 points in two weeks. It’s really 13, since the final score against the Seahawks came with 20 seconds left and the game already in hand.
So what has caused the issues with what was supposed to be an intensely dynamic offense? Well, injuries have played a part. Yes, Desean Jackson is still out. Yes, Alshon Jeffrey missed time. But the lack of trust or targets that Carson Wentz is showing in his wide receivers is astonishing. He has increasingly gone to his tight ends and his safety blanket in Zach Ertz, particularly in the red zone.
How much, you ask? In the last two games, Wentz has completed 53 passes. 21 of them have gone to Ertz. He has thrown for 470 yards. Ertz has 185 of them. For those of you who don’t want to do the math, that’s 39.6 percent of his completions and 39.4 percent of his yards going to one guy. Wentz has thrown two touchdowns in the two games. One was to Ertz. The other? That went to Dallas Goedert, another tight end.
The passing offense has become so one dimensional that now, wide receivers aren’t even getting looks in the red zone. Fun fact: The last Eagles wide receiver to catch a TD pass was Jeffrey…at Minnesota…In week 6. That was October 13. While the use of Ertz and Goedert may be good for fantasy owners who have them in a TE of FLEX position, it’s not good for an offense that is having difficulty scoring.
Meanwhile, the ground game, which has provided relief at times this season for an inconsistent Wentz, has been underutilized in recent weeks, calling Doug Pederson’s playcalling into scrutiny.
Are There Any Surprises for the Eagles Odds Before Their Week 13 Game Against the Dolphins?
All of which leads us to this: The Eagles, for as bad as they’ve been offensively, still aren’t out of the postseason chase. At 5-6, they have no shot at a wild card, but are just a game behind Dallas for the divisional lead. The schedule is also favorable with two games against the Giants, a game at the Redskins, and a home game against Dallas in the second to last week of the season.
But it has to start now with this week against Miami. The Eagles are listed as an 8.5 point favorite in the game. That’s too big a line for my taste for a team that’s only scored 9.5 points in its last two contests. Do I think they’ll win? Yes. You can stumble your way through a game and still find a way to beat the Dolphins. But to expect them to win by nine points? I don’t think so, Tim.