Think back three months ago, to Sept. 6.
It was then that the Eagles opened defense of their Super Bowl title won in 2017 with a hard-fought 18-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
All was merry, all was bright.
Now just a handful of weeks until Christmas there is very little twinkle left in a season that has the Eagles at 6-6.
They are still breathing, if only barely.
To stay alive they must beat the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday afternoon, but then you look at the schedule of both teams the rest of the way, and, it seems just a matter of time before their 2018 life expires.
After Dallas, the Eagles will play the 11-1 Los Angeles Rams in L.A. They will then play their final home game, hosting a Houston Texans team that had won nine in a row entering Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts. The finale will be against a Redskins team that looks like it will have Mark Sanchez at quarterback.
Still, you add up the combined record of those three remaining teams heading into Sunday’s games and it equals 26-10.
The Cowboys will play at the Colts, home against Tampa Bay, and at the New York Giants. The combined record of those teams is 15-21.
Whose schedule would you rather have?
Of course, the harder schedule comes with winning a Super Bowl. Perhaps the Eagles could have more successfully navigated the rigors of a championship schedule, however, had they been able stay healthy.
It’s not difficult to figure out what derailed this season. It can be summed up in one word – injuries.
It’s a convenient excuse, for sure. Every team has them.
My goodness, look what’s happened to the Washington Redskins. They lost their starting quarterback Alex Smith and their backup quarterback Colt McCoy in a span of three weeks with broken legs. They have had multiple injuries on their offensive line.
The San Francisco 49ers lost their starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in September and running Jerick McKinnon went down during training camp. Both players tore ACLs.
So yeah, injuries are a part of the NFL deal.
Still, you look at the Eagles and 12 of the 22 players who started in that season opener against the Falcons are either injured and on IR or were waived injured. That’s about as bad as it gets.
The latest casualty was cornerback Jalen Mills, who was placed on IR with a foot injury on Saturday. That now makes three-fourths of the Eagles’ starting secondary out for the year, with Mills joining cornerback Ronald Darby and safety Rodney McLeod down for the count.
Defensive end Derek Barnett is also on IR.
Linebacker Jordan Hicks and promising rookie cornerback Avonte Maddox each missed their third straight game with a calf injury and an ankle/knee injury, respectively, on Sunday.
Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan has played in one game this year and was questionable for Dallas.
Receiver Mike Wallace got hurt in the second game and is still on IR. At least he played one game, which is one more than second-year receiver Mack Hollins was able to play after being placed on IR at the start of the season.
Running back Jay Ajayi tore his ACL in Week Five’s loss to the Vikings and was put on IR.
The list goes on and on, with defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao getting hurt and waived in early October, linebacker Paul Worrilow not being able to make it to the season after tearing his ACL during the spring, and running back Darren Sproles missing 10 straight games after getting hurt in practice days after the game with Atlanta.
It has simply been too much for the Eagles to overcome, and feels like only a matter of time before all the merry and all the bright burns out completely later this month.