The Eagles are no doubt off to a nightmarish start to the 2011 season. At 1-4 they it in the basement of the NFC East and near the bottom of most national power rankings. For good reason too, the Eagles have blown three fourth quarter leads and have the worst turnover differential in the NFL. That said, it is fair to say that the Eagles are not your typical 1-4 team. They've gained the third most yards in the NFL so far this season, lead the NFL in rushing and are amongst the top 10 in scoring.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan knows that it all comes down to turnovers for the Eagles.
"Any time you have a good football team and you lose close games, it usually comes down to turnovers. That’s what has happened the last four games: they’ve lost the turnover battle. But they’re moving the heck out of the ball, they’ve got some great weapons, they’re scoring some points. All four of those games, they’ve lost because of turnovers."
If there's one team that will never doubt the Eagles offense, it has to be the Redskins, who surrendered 59 points to them in a Monday Night game last season. That loss still weighs heavy on the minds of Redskins defenders.
"When we think of the Eagles, we think of that game," linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "We know what type of team this is. Regardless of their record, we cannot go in there thinking this is a regular 1-4 team."
So who do you favor? The improved team looking for revenge or the struggling, but talented team playing with desperation? Vegas thinks you favor the Eagles and have almost inexplicably installed Philly as 1.5 point favorites. I can't imagine there's been too many times in betting history where a 1-4 team has been road favorites at a 3-1 team. But like Orapko said, these Eagles aren't a regular 1-4 team, plus it doesn't seem like the general public has quite yet accepted the Redskins as the real deal. Certainly a win this weekend for them would go a long way toward them getting national acceptance as a real contender in the NFC.
For the Eagles, despite the awful start, a win actually puts them in ok position. They would be just two games back in the NFC East at worst and possibly only 1 back with still two games against Dallas, and a game against the Giants and Redskins to play. There's no doubt the Eagles have dug themselves in a hole, but a win this weekend really does go a long way toward giving them a path out of it.