NFL Philadelphia Eagles

5 Reasons Why Philadelphia Eagles are Pretenders

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5 Reasons Why Philadelphia Eagles are Pretenders

Eagles Fans
Howard Smith - USA TODAY Sports

I think of the Philadelphia Eagles, and what comes to mind inevitably is Jeff Bridges' line from the film "The Big Lebowski," referring to the American classic rock band The Eagles: "Could you change the channel? ...C'mon, I had a rough night, and I hate the Eagles, man!"

At 6-5, Philadelphia leads the pack in the NFC East division, tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the No. 1 spot. They could be in position for a playoff run, but how will they stack up against the competition?

The Eagles' offense is rated one of the best in the NFL, and the defense has allowed just 16.2 points per game in the last five games. Impressive.

How far will that take them should they go to the playoffs?

With the exception of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos, the Eagles haven't exactly played a series of powerhouse teams this season. Their victories include the New York Giants (whom they beat once and lost to once), Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders, and really, have any of these teams done much to shake anyone lately?

The Eagles will face probably one of their biggest challenges for the current season, when they host the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13. The game's outcome will play a big part in determining whether or not Philadelphia stays in contention in their division. And what will help determine the game in favor of the Eagles will be second-year quarterback Nick Foles' acumen in reading and playing the Cardinals' underrated defensive squad, which happens to rate in the top 10 league-wide in both overall as well as in scoring defense.

Will the Eagles show up, or slink out after another lackluster "coulda-shoulda-woulda" season?

Here are five reasons why the Eagles will crumble if they make it to the playoffs, and why they should be remembered as pretenders for 2013.

Let me know what you think.

Jonathan W. Crowell is a writer and an online sports blogger for Follow him on Twitter @JW_Crowell, “like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Head Coach Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly
Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

Chip Kelly replaced former Eagles head coach Andy Reid this year, coming from his position as head coach for the University of Oregon, and he had a bit of an embarrassing start learning his new job (such as not knowing the rules regarding injury time-outs). Make no mistake, he got his team revved back up after a weak 1-3 start to the season, and granted, Philadelphia is currently in the running of the NFC East division race for the playoffs. As a new coach still learning the ropes, odds are against him leading his team to the Super Bowl in February.

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4. Quarterback Inexperience

Nick Foles
John Geliebter - USA TODAY Sports

Second-year quarterback Nick Foles took over for Eagles pariah Michael Vick five games ago. No doubt, he has been named the NFC’s offensive player for November after he set an NFL monthly record with a passer rating of 152.8, so he's not doing all that shabby. His lack of experience as a starting quarterback could very well work against him if the Eagles should go to the playoffs.

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3. The "Great College Offense"

Eagles Offensive Line
Geoff Burke - USA TODAY Sports

Philly Head Coach Chip Kelly’s read-option scheme has been dubbed a “great college offense". Truer words were never spoken. Kelly's response? "I don't think it's an offense...I think it's a play." When you're up against more serious teams, let us know how that works out for you, Chip.

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2. Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson

DeSean Jackson
Howard Smith - USA TODAY Sports

Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has the ability and the speed to take on the best of defenses. Sadly, he’s a one-trick pony. To his credit, he's played at a more well-rounded level this season, but it may not be enough to get Philly through the playoffs unscathed.

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1. Offensive Tackle Jason Peters

Jason Peters
Howard Smith - USA TODAY Sports

Though he's still able to make a dent as both a pass-and-run blocker, Eagles offensive tackle Jason Peters is not the rockstar he was in 2011, before his Achilles heel injury. Will he be able to consistently open enough holes for running back LeSean McCoy? Up against more challenging defensive lines, it may prove difficult.