The Philadelphia Eagles and fans like myself considered 2011 to be an epic fail of a season. Record wise, it didn't look like a huge disaster since the Eagles finished 8-8, but that was only after a season-ending four-game winning streak. Though it kept Philadelphia from looking any worse, we didn't believe it made up for the failures of the first 12 games - or that it would carry over into 2012.
But the Eagles do seem to be carrying over the momentum anyway, as they've been undefeated in 2012 so far - in both the preseason and regular season. Yet their next opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, have also been riding momentum from their hot finish last season as well.
The Cardinals also finished 8-8 last year, but that was mostly misleading as well. They started the season with a 1-6 record, which is even worse than the 1-4 start the Eagles were on. Philadelphia had to start 4-8 before it finally won consistently, whereas Arizona went 3-7 before getting towards respectability.
A 4-1 record in their last five games got the Cardinals to 8-8, gave them some hope for the future and seemed to position John Skelton as their new quarterback. Although Skelton has gone down and Kevin Kolb has retaken control, Arizona has indeed built on the end of last year and gotten off to a much better start this time - like Philadelphia has.
The Eagles and Cardinals still have a long way to go to prove they can be consistent winners, unlike in the beginning of 2011. For all we know, they could have a hot first half and then collapse in the second, in a direct reversal from last season. But for the moment, the winning habits they finally developed last November and December are carrying over into the next September.
Something will have to give when the two meet on Sept. 23, which makes sense. Arizona's terrific finish in 2011 really kick started when it came back over Philadelphia last Nov. 13. And that loss was close to rock bottom for the Eagles before they started to win again - albeit when it was too late.
10 months later, the Eagles and Cardinals are among the more surprising 2-0 teams in football - and technically among the hottest since November 2011. Can their newfound winning ways last for a few more months and over one full season? Are they only capable of winning when it is too late or too early, or can they really keep winning for more than one half of a year?
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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