Eagles Panicking Much More Than Most .500 Teams: A Fan's Outlook

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The Philadelphia Eagles are not taking their current standing pretty well right now. But Eagles fans like myself can't consider our situation to be that special. After all, although Philadelphia is 3-3 after Week 5, so are 10 other teams in the NFL - in fact, there are more teams that are at .500 than there are above it. But the Birds are one of the few .500 squads panicking about it this much.

Since the Eagles did start at 3-1 and could go to 3-4 when they face the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 28, there are legitimate reasons to worry. And given that expectations are so high - as are the stakes for Andy Reid and Michael Vick's job status - being at .500 is not acceptable. Yet for most of the other 3-3 teams, they are pretty happy about it, or at least aren't stressing out like the Eagles are.

The Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots are also 3-3 and should have a much bigger crisis than Philadelphia. But because the Packers and Patriots are proven champions - unlike the Eagles - there is still a sense that they'll turn things around soon enough. The Packers certainly went a long way to prove it by destroying the unbeaten Houston Texans on Oct. 14, so they may be on their way soon.

Unlike the Eagles, most other 3-3 squads are pretty happy to be that good. Right in the NFC East, the Washington Redskins are defying expectations and couldn't be happier to be 3-3 - especially after Robert Griffin III came back so well from his concussion the previous week.

Meanwhile, the likes of the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams can look back on their .500 start with pride. The Jets, in particular, are lucky to be that good after they almost came apart themselves. But by destroying the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 14 and improving to 3-3, the Jets bought time before their own fire sale could start.

In truth, other than the Eagles, the only .500 teams who are truly panicking are the San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals. Like Philadelphia, both San Diego and Cincinnati started at 3-1 and were setting the pace in their divisions. But the Chargers are collapsing after losing to the winless New Orleans Saints, and blowing a 24-0 lead to the Broncos on Monday Night Football. As for the Bengals, they just lost to a winless club themselves in the Cleveland Browns - which the Eagles narrowly avoided doing in Week 1.

But out of all these 3-3 clubs which make up one-third of the entire NFL, only the Eagles are going nuts about it by firing people - and perhaps even the wrong people at that. Truthfully, the Birds are no more special than the other 10 franchises in the exact same boat, but they are more sensitive about it.

Unfortunately, Philadelphia isn't a team that's defying low expectations, nor is it a champion that has all the tools to recover. And that is why the Eagles are more desperate than their peers to get back above .500 soon, before a true panic sets off in this town.

Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.

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