Here at Shutdown Corner, we want to help. So once a week, we'll go in and examine a team coming off a bad week, bad month, maybe a bad decade (you're in luck, Cleveland), and see what fixes can be made to turn around the season. So step aside, we've got this. Next under the microscope: the Philadelphia Eagles.
Where they stand: 3-5, one game out of first in the NFC East.
What's gone right: Chip Kelly's offense revolutionized the NFL, ushering in a new era of rapid-fire play-calling and swarming ball-control assaults! And then it turned to halftime of Week 1, and everybody figured Kelly out, and, well, it's been pretty ugly ever since then.
What's gone wrong: The primary problem is that Kelly's offense sets up the quarterback to get hit, a LOT, and when you've got a mobile-but-still-porcelain doll of a quarterback in Michael Vick, the woes are inevitable. Add to that the fact that Vick's replacement, Nick Foles, got a concussion, and you're going to have a harder time convincing QBs to play in Kelly's system without a stronger O-line. On the other side of the ball, the defense is abysmal, surrendering more than 400 yards per game to rank 31st of 32 teams. (Only Dallas is worse.) Most of that is in the air; Philly's run defense ranks ninth in the league. Combine that with the fact that the Eagles haven't won at home in more than a year.
What we'd fix: The defense. Philly's offense has actually been really good, ranking fifth (yes, fifth) overall in the league in yards per game. Credit the league-leading LeSean McCoy with much of that, as the Eagles rank second in rushing yards per game. But the abysmal defense means that the O has to score four touchdowns a game just to have a prayer. Pass defense, as noted above, is the primary problem; Philadelphia needs a major upgrade in the secondary, and quickly. The QB situation is also untenable for the long term, but with a quarterback-rich draft coming up, Philly may be able to staunch the bleeding for the rest of this season and begin looking toward 2014.
The road ahead: Philadelphia has already finished its season series with the Giants, but the Redskins still lurk three weeks down the road. The Vikings are out there too, but so are the Packers, Bears, Lions, Raiders, Cardinals ... the Eagles could go 6-2 or 2-6 and we wouldn't be surprised either way.
Is there hope?: Absolutely. Philadelphia plays in the NFC East, which means that any team not actually on fire as of Dec. 1 is still in the mix. And given that the final game of the season comes against Dallas, Philadelphia has the chance to sneak into the playoffs. Would that be better than stumbling to a 6-10 finish and getting a high draft pick? You tell us, Philly fans.