You want the Eagles to make the playoffs?
Start Chase Daniel this Sunday against the Seahawks.
Admit it. You’ve thought it. Yeah, it’s not the way sports operates, and no one wants to be called a chicken, but if you do the math and your head rules your heart here, the only thing the Eagles and their playoff aspirations can’t afford Sunday night is to lose Wentz for any length of time.
Admit it. The numbers suggest what a real possibility that is. Jordan Matthews has a bad back and Zach Ertz has a balky hamstring and your two wide threats are such non-factors that Richard Sherman could probably start and finish a crossword puzzle covering either of them Sunday.
Only once, against the dismal Cleveland Browns' defense in the opener, has Nelson Agholor eclipsed 50 yards receiving. And he’s your deep threat.
Last week, Dorial Green-Beckham, acquired at least in part because of the dearth of deep threats on this team, was not even targeted. Against a defense that has allowed the second-highest number of receptions to wide receivers this season.
To be fair, the Eagles' plan last Sunday was to keep the ball away from Atlanta’s high-octane offense with a time-consuming attack, wearing out their suspect defense. To be fair, the Falcons scored 24 points in a close Week 6 loss in Seattle, but Matt Ryan is a tad more experienced than Wentz in recognizing defenses, has better weapons – and that was a Seahawks team playing without Kam Chancellor.
Seattle’s star defensive end Michael Bennett also left the game with a knee injury, which coincided with the Falcons' second-half comeback, or near comeback.
Chancellor is back, but Bennett will not be Sunday, a nice break for the patchwork Eagles line. Still, the defense that may have punctured Rob Gronkowski’s lung Sunday (Earl Thomas) and left Tom Brady wincing (Chancellor) is the one the Eagles will see this Sunday.
Only this time, the Seahawks are at home.
Yeah, I know, the Eagles have been surprising us all season against the better teams, at least ones purported to be. But all of those games were at The Linc, and the first two were against teams that have trended downward since.
The Seahawks seem to be headed the other way. Hobbled earlier this season, Russell Wilson appeared to have all of his mobility back against the Patriots. And Brady, renowned for getting rid of the ball quickly, took his licks.
He’s also not a rookie.
Wentz has already fumbled the ball nine times this season, often because his eyes look downfield too quickly. It’s not an anomaly: he fumbled 10 times in 23 college starts. The sight of him scrambling on the ground for a loose ball against that group is not comforting. He’s also been guilty of waiting too long to get rid of it, something that Seahawks defense has surely taken note of.
As John Fogerty once sang, I see the bad moon arising. I see trouble on the way.
So call me names if you must. And I know you can’t actually bench your starting quarterback, your future, because of what might happen.
But at least admit this. You’ll breathe a huge sigh of relief if Wentz runs off that field at the end of Sunday’s game.