Cowboys’ collapse should serve as warning to reeling Eagles about consequences of a playoff exit | soccer4u
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Cowboys’ collapse should serve as warning to reeling Eagles about consequences of a playoff exit

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TAMPA, Florida: The warning was visible to the Philadelphia Eagles if they had a chance to view their fellow NFC East playoff qualifier.

Actually, the Eagles were given this warning in Week 13. Additionally, they got it in Weeks 14 and 15, and once more in Weeks 17 and 18.

Because the Eagles started to falter as the playoffs drew closer, despite their early command of the division, their 10-1 start to the season, and even the nearly won Super Bowl 11 months prior.

And to see what might occur if they finish the slide in a Monday night game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they only need to look back at the Dallas Cowboys’ Sunday meltdown against the Green Bay Packers.

A dispute over coaching? Due to concerns about Mike McCarthy’s ability to end Dallas’ nearly 29-year NFC title and Super Bowl drought, free agency Bill Belichick is already being connected to the Cowboys.

A dispute involving the quarterback? Following his two interceptions, which included a pick six, Dak Prescott informed reporters that if McCarthy’s employment was under scrutiny, then so should be his.

Contrast that with recent talks about Prescott, who was picked by a 50-member panel to be the second-best quarterback in the league this season and is regarded as a strong contender to take over as the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback.

This postseason meltdown will also raise concerns about the contract extension of Micah Parsons, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s best chance in the league, and even the Cowboys’ culture, which may or may not be best suited to a group of players who appear to be near-perennially talented but underachieving even when healthy.

Let out a breath.

Now, let’s return to the Eagles.

The Eagles’ implosion has already begun. The decline from the heights Philadelphia attained the previous season and the standards it has since failed to meet is more pronounced.

Therefore, Monday’s 8:15 p.m. ET wild-card game between the Eagles and Buccaneers won’t cause Philadelphia to collapse. It will either validate or refute the leaking rumors about the reigning NFC champs.

Let’s explore the questions at stake.

What queries does a struggling Eagles squad have going into the Bucs game?
After losing both coordinators, will head coach Nick Sirianni allay concerns about his capacity for success and convince general manager Howie Roseman and team owner Jeffrey Lurie that he is the correct man moving forward? Naturally, the spiral has not continued forever. But since Sirianni qualified for a Super Bowl, a team that benched Doug Pederson so soon after winning one shouldn’t be written off.

Particularly now that six-time Super Bowl champion Brady Quinn is creating a stir in the league with the Eagles’ apparent interest in hiring him.

Jalen Hurts is the only quarterback available to the Eagles after he signed a record-breaking contract deal during the offseason. Hurts is still a gifted two-man who can intimidate a team that values physicality by using both of his arms and legs.

Dave Canales, the offensive coordinator for the Buccaneers, told reporters, “He can extend plays.” That makes things challenging. Sometimes we have to cover for six or seven seconds, and he is also quite strong.

He is more than just quick and evasive. He is powerful. It will therefore be up to us to plaster and subdue him effectively.

Once more, Hurts is regarded as one of the league’s best quarterbacks, if not the best. However, one week after the Giants’ blitzes troubled Philadelphia, playing the Buccaneers with a dislocated finger and without top receiver A.J. Brown (knee), can he handle a blitz-happy Tampa Bay defense?

The offensive system as a whole is another. One of the Eagles’ main weaknesses this season has been ball security; after turning the ball over 19 times in 2022 (tied for fifth-best), Philadelphia turned it over 28 times in 2023 (tied for seventh-worst). Can a defense that has stolen eight balls in the last five games prevent an offense that has coughed up 12 balls?

Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. will try his hardest to continue the trend after forcing six fumbles, deflecting 12 passes, and intercepting three this season.

The Eagles’ biggest worry, which even Sirianni acknowledged was scary when he benched defensive coordinator Sean Desai in favor of internal colleague Matt Patricia less than a month ago, is perhaps what follows.

The issue is that the Eagles’ defense failed to make a significant comeback. After giving up 21.2 points in its first ten games, Philadelphia gave up 30.8 points in its next seven games. Patricia has lofty coverage objectives, which may occasionally come at the expense of his players’ comprehension.

Patricia explained to reporters that during a game, “you’re trying to stress the opponent on the sideline, especially if it’s something they haven’t seen before where now they’re trying to work on it, figure out what to do in those situations.” “I have to make sure I work hard to ensure that they are optimized at the most convenient time for us to complete those tasks.”

Eagles won’t beat the Bucs despite their Super Bowl trophies.
Todd Bowles, the head coach of the Buccaneers, provided a perfectly reasonable response when asked how the Eagles team that defeated Tampa Bay in Week 3 differed from the ones that plays now. Additionally, if they take it at face value, the response implies that the Eagles will have difficulties.

“They have talent. They’re still hardy, according to Bowles. “They attended the Super Bowl last year, once more. Double-digit wins this year. They still make a fantastic team.

“Players are scattered all over the place.”

All of Bowles’ descriptions apply to the Cowboys club that hosted a playoff game on Sunday, with the exception of the Super Bowl comment, which typically induces a hangover rather than a surge.

Despite all of them, first-year starter Jordan Love scorched the Cowboys with a 48-point team effort, frequently making open-range baskets. Despite leading the league in touchdowns and ranking third in the least amount of interceptions, Prescott still made costly mistakes with his passes. They were all unable to calm an upset.

Since 2004, the NFC East has infamously exchanged players each year. The Eagles lost it to the Cowboys this season, and according to BetMGM, that means the Eagles will play Tampa Bay as a questionable 3-point away favorite. On Monday, one may wonder if any NFC East teams were prepared for the postseason.

Could Philadelphia end its recent losing streak?

Philly’s case will be strengthened by Baker Mayfield’s rib and ankle ailments, and Tampa Bay’s inconsistent play in the middle of the season provides an example of how to overcome a team that wasn’t predicted to make a big impression and hadn’t selected a quarterback three weeks prior to the season’s start.

However, the arrows move in the opposite directions when taking into account these teams’ performance during the last two months (as well as their vibes, for those who care about vibes). Tampa Bay is more likely than Philadelphia to bounce back from its patchy runs. The Eagles may have lost their identity, but the Bucs feel they have found theirs since their Week 3 encounter.

“We had that midseason lull, but we started fast,” Mayfield remarked. With our backs against the wall, we reverted to our preseason form, where everyone was counting on one another and counting on us. As the year comes to a finish, that’s where we’ve been thus far.

“This is not the time to adjust your perspective. We’ve been playing one game at a time for quite some time. It’s real now. It is either win or lose.”

 

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