Welcome to Women's World. Brandyn Campbell is the founder, editor and writer of the Philly Sports Muse. Every Thursday, Campbell will offer a unique perspective as she shares her passion for the Eagles ...
As fans sit eagerly awaiting the Eagles' showdown with the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football with a chance to potentially claim ultimate supremacy of the NFC East, it's amazing to think how far the team has come in just a year.
Twelve months ago, even the most optimistic of Eagles fans had lost hope. The season was a bust and the writing was on the wall for its leadership. There was no way that Andy Reid could survive the horrible season, and who knew which of the players in the locker room would return.
Writing about the Eagles last December was torturous. I recall jokingly (but half seriously) asking random people to write game recaps for my site, as there are only so many ways to describe putrid losses. A post titled "The Philadelphia Eagles Season Sinks Further Into Meaninglessness," written following the Week 16 27-20 loss to Washington, said it all in the title. The ensuing text was grim and indicated the unthinkable: "The season had been so awful that I found myself wanting football season to end."
The indications were everywhere that fans were done with the 2012 season. My good friend is not a football fan (the horror) and as such, normally does her grocery shopping on Sundays during Eagles games. She sent me a text message one mid-December afternoon, asking if it was a night game because the store was mobbed. No, kickoff was indeed at 1 p.m. Most fans had just given up on watching.
Those were sad times.
Fast forward to this year and the situation couldn't be more different. We're in depths of all of the joy, stress and drama that comes along with December football. The situation could have been so much easier if the Eagles had just defeated the Vikings last week in order to take advantage of Dallas' one-point loss to Green Bay. But this is the Eagles we're talking about. Things are never quite that easy. If you aren't on the verge of a heart attack each game for the full month, then it's just not Philadelphia football.
This year the playoff scenarios are less complicated as the Giants and Washington are out of the hunt. It's between the Cowboys and the Eagles. Minnesota game aside, Philadelphia has the momentum shifting in its favor at the right point in the season. Let's hope they can make it count.
The loss has hopefully afforded an opportunity for the Eagles to see their glaring issues and remedy them. Thankfully, Dallas' loss made Philadelphia's own failing not too costly, but that was a stroke of luck that can't be counted on again. There aren't many second chances in the National Football League.
The surprising loss to the Vikings was a reminder that nothing in the NFL is a given. There are no excuses in football this time of year. The secondary in particular has been marred by injuries, but injuries are a fact of life in the NFL, particularly in the latter half of the season. The question isn't how to merely survive them, but rather how to overcome them.
What we know is that we have an Eagles team currently on top of the division and with everything prove heading into Week 16. That could be a potent combination.
It's the essence of football - battle and scrape your way to get those few inches that lead to those few points that will get you those few games ahead of your divisional foes. A good record on its own doesn't matter in December. It's time to show something for it by making it to the playoffs.
Who among us thought that the word "playoffs" would be a realistic part of the conversation surrounding the Eagles in 2013, a season that was supposed to be a rebuilding year? Today, there is no question looming about the head coach's fate. Rather than wondering how long Chip Kelly has his job as Eagles head coach, we're wondering how long we can keep him.
What a difference a year makes. The Eagles are in the hunt and control their own destiny. That's the best way to be in December in the NFL.