Here we are, 4-5. That is the reality of professional football in Philadelphia, and there is only one player who can salvage the season - He wears 11 on his back.
Carson Wentz is one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the NFL today, but he needs to take his game to the next level. What does that mean when you’re putting up monster numbers already?
Well, the Eagles offense has been absolutely stifled in the first quarter of games this season. They’ve scored a league low 2.3 points per first quarter in 2018 — almost the exact opposite of last year where they scored the second most first quarter points with 6.4.
You don’t need to do research to know that getting an early jump on your opponent translates to more wins. However, here are the numbers from the past three seasons.
In 2017, 9 of the top 10 teams that scored the most first quarter points made the playoffs.
In 2016, 6 of the top 10 made playoffs.
In 2015, 7 of the top 10 made playoffs.
Based on the past three seasons data alone, 73% of the top scoring teams in the first fifteen minutes of play are making playoffs that season. And of those teams, either the first or second team went on to win the Super Bowl (New England in 2016 and Philadelphia in 2017).
Conversely, in that same time span, only one team in the bottom five for first quarter scoring has made the playoffs — the Miami Dolphins (and they were beat down in the Wild Card round by the Pittsburgh Steelers). So it’s now or never to turn 2018 around and start ending early drives in touchdowns rather than punts or turnovers.
Aside from scoring early, Wentz needs to elevate his comeback game. He has three 4th-Quarter comebacks in his career so far, which isn’t ideal for how many opportunities he’s had. It’s really the only missing part to his game that I believe is keeping him out of the elite group of quarterbacks.
In high pressure situations, when the game is on the line, I don’t know how much I trust Wentz to handle the football. As long as he gets an early lead on the opponent and ya know, the defense doesn’t somehow mess it up and allow a team to drop 21 points in the fourth quarter, then he’s doing his job. But if he wants to be considered one of the best, he has to start doing what the Tom Brady's and Aaron Rodgers' of the NFL do routinely — take over games when your team needs you to.
It’s definitely still possible for the 2018 Eagles to pull off a season turn around, however unlikely it may be. The NFC East is by far the weakest division with no clear-cut functional team, so we’ll see if the birds can shape up and get back to their 2017 form.