If you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan, you won’t like what this NFL writer is saying.
For the past three seasons, there have been two narratives that have been circulating around NFC East circles pretty heavily. One, the expectation has been that divisional superiority will come down to the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. Second, there hasn’t been a repeat champion in the NFL’s “Money Division” since the “Birds” took four straight NFC East crowns from 2001 to 2004.
Some believe that, if the Eagles are to make a fourth-straight playoff appearance at the end of the 2020-2021 season, something is going to have to give in terms of that second story. The “Birds” and Cowboys are clearly the cream of the NFC East’s crop, especially with the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team trending in the wrong direction.
Still, in what’s become an ultra-competitive NFC, even with the new 14-team playoff format, it feels like there’s one road to the postseason for one of these teams in 2020, and that journey will need to be accomplished by winning the division. One writer echoed that idea recently. Buckle up Eagles fans. You’re not going to like what he said.
Long roads sit ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys in 2020.
Patrik Walker is a writer at CBS Sports. He’s also stationed in Dallas, Texas and a Cowboys guy (go figure). Recently, he shared his theories on four playoff teams from the 2019 season that are most likely to miss the tournament in 2020.
He says the New England Patriots are out, the Green Bay Packers are out, the Houston Texans are out and Philly’s got no shot. If you’re a “Birds” fan, you’re probably most interested in what was said about the guys from the “City of Brotherly Love”. Here’s some more of what he had to say.
"The NFC East is the NFL equivalent of the wild, wild west, and that doesn’t bode well for the Eagles in 2020… seeing as (the Cowboys) have fewer question marks at key positions than their rivals in Eastern PA… Doug Pederson and general manager Howie Roseman took a ton of flak following the NFL Draft, wherein they refused to trade up a bit to land CeeDee Lamb (which was the win-win of fixing a top need while also keeping him out of Dallas) and instead stood pat to select Jalen Reagor. This isn’t to say Reagor isn’t talented, because he is, but Lamb is a readymade WR1, whereas many view Reagor as a slot guy who’ll now be asked to be much more, and quickly."
What about that new addition on defense? You know the one, Darius Slay, who took the measure of star Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper when the Detroit Lions met Dallas in 2019. He’s on the Eagles’ roster now, and that should continue to give Cooper fits in 2020.
"The addition of Darius Slay will do wonders for helping a porous secondary and the already impressive defensive front is that much more so with an addition like Javon Hargrave, but when Carson Wentz, who still needs to prove he can stay healthy, takes the field, will he have the weaponry (outside of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert) to stave off a potent Cowboys team that also now includes Lamb? And if he can’t stay healthy, could Jalen Hurts instantly locate some Foles Magic in Year 1 and with limited or no first-team work prior? Both logic and the recent history within the division suggests the answer is no, especially considering the Slay-led defense still has question marks at safety as well."
It looks like this might be the result of covering one team on a daily basis. Slay isn’t Philly’s leader on defense, nor is Philly in bad shape at safety. We know what Rodney McLeod brings to the table, and Jalen Mills may not be Malcolm Jenkins yet, but we’ve seen him play multiple positions in 2019 and some safety in college.
Also, the additions of Will Parks in free agency and K’Von Wallace in the draft haven’t garnered nearly the amount of attention that they probably should have. Both will make a name for themselves in 2020.
Both Dallas and Philly will play brutal schedules during 2020’s regular season. If either camp tops more than ten wins, we may need to use words like “miracle”. If you’ve followed the Cowboys as a fan or as a rival, you know how these things go. Every year, we’re told that the Cowboys are the best team in the NFC East. Then, we’re told why they’ll win the Super Bowl. Then, more often than not, they don’t even make the playoffs.
There’s some excellent insight in this feature, and Patrik Walker is excellent at what he does. Still, if you’re reading this story and you understand tone, something becomes very evident very early. He might have painted this picture with some rose-colored glasses on.