Early Birds: Debating a 7-win playoff team; sports science; Jason Peters' reliability
1) In 2010, the Eagles went 10-6 and won the NFC East. The New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers also went 10-6. Neither reached the postseason. Instead, both teams watched the Seattle Seahawks host a home playoff game with a 7-9 record because the Seahawks won the NFC West.
The Eagles could finish 10-6 this season if they beat the Giants on Sunday. And if they do, they will watch a seven-win team from the NFC South host a home playoff game.
That's the nature of division imbalance. Asked if it's fair, Eagles coach Chip Kelly said he doesn't complain about rules that everybody knows going into the season.
"Should we move to the south so we can get in a different division?" Kelly said. "We didn't do enough. We didn't win enough games against the right opponents to put ourselves in the playoffs. We knew the rules of engagement before the season started. To sit here after it is over and say, 'Let's change the rules so this can happen,' that's just the way it is."
So Kelly didn't take that bait. It's a debate each season. The Arizona Cardinals didn't make the postseason last year at 10-6 while the Packers went at 8-7-1. Chicago Bears missed out at 10-6 in 2012. In 2008, the Patriots went 11-5 and didn't make the playoffs. The key for each team going into the season is winning the division. The Eagles had the chance, and they spoiled it in December.
"There may be a year where we're in a situation where we're not in great shape and we win our division and we get a chance to go," Kelly said. People said it about Seattle a couple years ago, and then Seattle won their wild card game.
"It's still about winning each week and doing what you're supposed to do. We already knew the rules before the season started. That's the way it expressed itself. We didn't do enough to win to get ourselves in the playoffs. That's on us. That's not on anybody else, or what the structure of setup is."
2) When the Eagles played well last December and remained relatively injury-free, their sports science program was hailed as one of the reasons. The Eagles have had a disastrous December this season, and they have also been affected by injuries. Kelly did not think the Eagles are wearing down, though.
"I don't think our team wasn't fresh, I just think we just made mistakes," Kelly said. "We had 13 penalties, two turnovers, and two missed field goals. I can look at that. But I don't think our team's not fresh."
Kelly even pointed out that the Eagles won time of possession in Saturday's game, which was his dig at critics who place more credence into that statistic than Kelly does.
3) The Pro Bowl selections come out Tuesday night, and that's usually a time when Jason Peters gets credit for being one of the NFL's top left tackles. Peters has made six Pro Bowls in his career. At 32, he was the lone offensive lineman to play every game for the Eagles. And he has still graded out as one of the top left tackles in the NFL.
"I think J.P. has had a good year," Kelly said. "I think he's been the one steady guy for us all year long. He's the only guy that's been in the lineup for all 16 games. He's really kind of just been that guy that we can kind of count on him.
"That's just the type of player he is in terms of he's always going to be there for you. …I think that says a little bit to him. He's had a really good year."
Peters could reach his seventh Pro Bowl this season, and his fifth with the Eagles. He already has reached the most Pro Bowls of any Eagles tackle. If he has five Pro Bowl appearances with the franchise, that would tie him for sixth most in franchise history. Chuck Bednarik;'s eight are the most with the team.