The Philadelphia Eagles enter Week 9 in second place in the NFC East and still in the hunt for the division title, despite giving away winnable games and showing inconsistencies in an offense that should be lethal. They haven’t scored an offensive touchdown in two weeks and are in absolute desperation to win against the Oakland Raiders, or declare any chance at the postseason over.
The opposition Raiders are in last place in the AFC West behind the best two teams in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos. Their season is consequently over, but they continue to build on youth and gain experience, knocking off teams that allow them room to grow and demonstrate improvement. Much of Philadelphia’s chances hinge on the performance of their defense against Terrelle Pryor, who is capable of taking a game over by himself and producing a victory.
The pressure will be on Nick Foles, who returns as the starter in his first game back from injury. He will need to find the groove that helped lead Philadelphia to two victories in a row weeks ago. If the skittish Foles who faced the Dallas Cowboys shows up, the Eagles can pack it in and call it a season. His performance alone will get the offense back on track, or determine that the future of the Eagles is in a different direction and that now is the time to start looking.
With the Green Bay Packers on the horizon and the Cowboys facing a lowly Minnesota Vikings team this weekend, there’s no time to waste for the Eagles. If they let another game slip through their fingers, Philadelphia will be determined as on the outside looking in and truly rebuilding, instead of attempting to contend with a mixture of young, talented players and unproductive veterans. Being only half way through the season, a win is necessary to make the rest of the season relevant in Philadelphia, where the fan base is growing restless, especially with the fact that the Eagles haven’t won a home game in the last 10 attempts.
The weight of the season will be squarely on the shoulders of Foles, and the game plan that Chip Kelly puts together needs to be far improved for the Eagles to produce the win that is needed to extend the life of their season.