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Chargers and Eagles find their groove, probably too late

Baltimore Ravens v San Diego Chargers Getty Images

The end of this regular season for the Chargers and Eagles can go in one of two directions.

Their sudden success will either torture and tease their fanbases in a creative new way or they will blaze one of the most improbable paths to the playoffs in memory.

Both teams entered the season as Super Bowl contenders. They were picked to get to the big game by plenty of analysts.

Three weeks ago, the Chargers were 4-7 and fans were focused on who the next head coach would be. Since then, they’ve won three straight games since by a combined score of 109-38.

Philip Rivers is suddenly playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the league again, and the team proved the streak was no fluke with a blowout win over Baltimore.

“This is what everyone was expecting from us all year,” Chargers defensive tackle Antonio Garay said after the game.

The Chargers need a ton of help to win the AFC West. Two straight wins to get to 9-7, and a Wild Card spot is easier to envision.

Two weeks ago, the Eagles were stuck at 4-8. They were — and still are — the most disappointing team in the league.

After a 10-day break following a Thursday night loss in Seattle, the Eagles have waxed the Dolphins and Jets by a combined score of 71-29. Their defense has dominated the line of scrimmage.

As Florio pointed out in his 10-pack, the Eagles’ path to an NFC East title at 8-8 isn’t that crazy. It just makes those early losses this season more painful.

“You think back on the season, you get frustrated, because there were a lot of games we should have won,” Michael Vick said after the Eagles’ win.

That’s the thing. If the Eagles and Chargers come up just short, there will be a temptation to spin everything positive, keep the coaches in place, and say both teams were this close.

In reality, the Chargers and the Eagles should have been this good all along. The recent success just points out that both teams haven’t reached their potential.

Then again, there are still two weeks left to change the narrative. The Eagles and Chargers just need two wins and a lot of help.

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45 Responses to “Chargers and Eagles find their groove, probably too late”
  1. upperdecker19 says: Dec 19, 2011 12:42 PM

    The most frustrating, yet fun, part of being a birds fan is that this happens every damn year.

  2. oriolesvsravens says: Dec 19, 2011 12:42 PM

    What better teams for each of them to play. 2 up and down teams with good defenses and fragile QBs.

  3. greymares says: Dec 19, 2011 12:44 PM

    the Giants control their own destiny and as an Eagle fan i feel very good about that.

  4. duncanthecat says: Dec 19, 2011 12:46 PM

    Can’t wait for Dream Team 2.0

    What will be the excuses next year.

  5. musiccitymiracle says: Dec 19, 2011 12:47 PM

    If the Eagles made the playoffs they would have a pretty decent title shot. Unlike the Packers, Pats, Saints, and Niners, they are actually impressive on both sides of the ball.

  6. gwylie1 says: Dec 19, 2011 12:48 PM

    mark my words, the Chargers will win the West

  7. 4evrnyt says: Dec 19, 2011 12:49 PM

    Thumbs up if you’re sick to death of the Chargers trying to save their season at the last second AGAIN!!

    Imagine what this team could have done the past 4 or 5 seasons if they actually had a decent coach.

  8. nolahxc says: Dec 19, 2011 12:52 PM

    Just in time, though, to be everyone’s preseason super bowl matchup pick for next season!

  9. stoogy says: Dec 19, 2011 12:52 PM

    raiders beat chargers and chiefs and make it 2 playofs

  10. kilo0986 says: Dec 19, 2011 12:55 PM

    Soooo, how many.times have we heard “they hit their stride” or “groove” only for.them to.lose it the next game?

  11. broncosaddict says: Dec 19, 2011 12:56 PM

    As a broncos fan I obviously hate the Chargers, but as a football fan I think they are a really great football team.
    Their problem for awhile now has been inconsistent play. Their play in the first half of a season seems to be a 180 from the second half. (ie. good-bad or bad-good)
    If they ever get that straight they would be formidable.

  12. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 19, 2011 12:56 PM

    Bolts will win the AFC West. Eagles will win vs. DAL in Week 16, and then lose out on a playoff bid as the Giants will win out — since they’re not playing any awful teams in the final two games.

    Yesterday was completely expected WEEKS ago — as I called that one of the Giants’ losses before the end of the year would be the Washington game.

  13. lacharger2112 says: Dec 19, 2011 12:57 PM

    Good thing the Chargers started out better than usual this year. If not, that new head coach talk would be really old by now. I guess it is anyway.

  14. sterilizecromartie says: Dec 19, 2011 12:59 PM

    Eagles cannot make the playoffs.

    Even if the dream scenario happens for them, they will be relying on the Giants to win a week 17 game vs Dallas for them to get in. NBC will flex that game to 8PM just like they did last year for STL-Seattle. So, going into that game the Giants will know they can either win and Philly will be in. Or they lose and Dallas is in. Basically, the Giants will be playing for nothing at that point. Why would they show up and play their hearts out just to give Philly the division?

  15. nogoodell says: Dec 19, 2011 12:59 PM

    Ugh I knew Reid would save his job somehow

  16. checkforecheck says: Dec 19, 2011 1:00 PM

    Ah, there’s the negative nancy writers. I thought there was too much niceness running around here yesterday.

    No mention of how the lockout might have screwed teams up though? Oh, so I guess there’s no actual info here. Hmm…

  17. jpb12 says: Dec 19, 2011 1:00 PM

    If one of these teams gets in the tournament, they could be last year’s Packers.

  18. yamchargers says: Dec 19, 2011 1:17 PM

    Just another painful year as a Chargers fan!

  19. Amadeus says: Dec 19, 2011 1:22 PM

    The birds and the bolts are who we thought they were: Overrated

  20. netherscourge says: Dec 19, 2011 1:26 PM

    The Eagles dug their own grave.

    They’ve already killed their Wildcard chance.

    The ONLY way they can get into the playoffs is if they win the NFC East. Which means:

    1. The Eagles HAVE beat the Cowboys (50/50) and Redskins (Probable).
    2. The Jets HAVE to beat the Giants. (Not likely)
    3. The Giants HAVE to beat the Cowboys. (50/50)

    Four very unreliable circumstances to overcome right there.

    If the Eagles get into the playoffs, it’ll be nothing short of Tebowesque.

  21. cleverbob says: Dec 19, 2011 1:33 PM

    sterilizecromartie says:
    Dec 19, 2011 12:59 PM

    Eagles cannot make the playoffs.

    Even if the dream scenario happens for them, they will be relying on the Giants to win a week 17 game vs Dallas for them to get in. NBC will flex that game to 8PM just like they did last year for STL-Seattle. So, going into that game the Giants will know they can either win and Philly will be in. Or they lose and Dallas is in. Basically, the Giants will be playing for nothing at that point. Why would they show up and play their hearts out just to give Philly the division?
    ====================================

    This may be a stretch, but professional pride?

  22. somekat says: Dec 19, 2011 1:36 PM

    For the guy that asked why the Giants would show up the last week if their season was over. 1, there is no Sunday night game the last week of the season, so that theory is shot.

    But even if it wasn’t, they play hard because it is the Cowboys, their division rival. Only a person who has never played a sport (at least well), would ask that question

  23. minormillikin says: Dec 19, 2011 1:38 PM

    Dear Chargers,

    Beat the Lions!

    Signed,
    Pete Carroll

  24. kingjoe1 says: Dec 19, 2011 1:38 PM

    @upperdecker19 says:
    Dec 19, 2011 12:42 PM
    The most frustrating, yet fun, part of being a birds fan is that this happens every damn year

    _________________________

    What happens every damn year? They have missed the playoffs only twice since 2000. The have 6 division crowns since 2001 and have gone to 1 superbowl, and 5 NFC championship games.

    Try living in Houston, Jacksonville, Detroit Cleveland, Cincinanti, ….you have no clue what you are saying, and simply overstate what you say as though there is some real fact behind it. Dope.

  25. somekat says: Dec 19, 2011 1:38 PM

    The rest of the league hopes the Eagles don’t get it. Who would want to play a Vick lead Eagles in single elimination? Especially an Eagles team on a 4 game winning streak. Certainly not me.

    I do think the Eagles will get all the help they need. The Jets will revive their “little guy in NY” role, and get up for, and beat the Giants. Romo will be Romo, and choke it up the final week against the Giants with the playoffs on the line.

    However, I don’t think the Eagles go 2-0 to finish the season. I think they beat Dallas, and choke it up against Washington week 17

  26. sterilizecromartie says: Dec 19, 2011 1:43 PM

    @cleverbob

    It is a stretch.

  27. icanspeel says: Dec 19, 2011 1:50 PM

    It’s really amazing how if just 1 game didn’t get away from either teams they’d be in such better shape. Eagles could be 7-7 and Chargers 8-6. Goes to show you that every game in an NFL season truly counts.

  28. desmondbishoptutu says: Dec 19, 2011 2:00 PM

    Somekat is dead wrong.

    There is a SNF match-up in week 17 and NBC has the choice of the game with best playoff implications. SterilizeCro was absolutely correct in his analysis of the Giants possibly having nothing to play for, but NBC will probably have an option for a different and more dramatic game.

  29. sterilizecromartie says: Dec 19, 2011 2:14 PM

    @somekat

    There is always a Sunday Night flex game in week 17. It was STL-Seattle last year for the division.

    Teams don’t show up for games all the time. Don’t tell me you have to play a sport to know otherwise. I remember two years ago the Bengals absolutely laid down for the Jets to let them in the playoffs and it knocked Houston out. And, technically, the Eagles are a bigger rival to the Giants than the Cowboys are. Giants-Eagles. Cowboys-Redskins. Those are the true division rivalries.

    @ desmondbishoptutu

    I agree NBC could op for another game, but I do not see a game on the schedule that would provide as much intrigue as the NYG-Dallas game. Especially with the huge fanbase both teams have,

  30. steelcitymasterrace says: Dec 19, 2011 2:14 PM

    The Eagles are, and will forever be, the J-V team in The Great Commonwealth of PA. To most people in this state, they are irrelevant.

  31. icontutu says: Dec 19, 2011 2:28 PM

    Teams like the Patriots and Packers play, “Precision Ball,” how many seasons can the Eagles rely on “Gypsie Luck,” to get them in the “Playoffs?”

  32. mmmpierogi says: Dec 19, 2011 2:32 PM

    Probably just me, but I’ve had this perception of the San Diego Chargers since some of the early-mid 90’s teams with Junior Seau (sans a couple years there between 96 and the early 2000’s). They’re inconsistent/mediocre a sizable chunk of the time during the regular season, but still manage to hit strides that sneak them into the playoffs. One consequence of this is that people regularly pitch them as a candidate SB sleeper team prior to the beginning of each season, although it almost never winds up coming to fruition.

    Falcons are in the same camp; Saints were until they actually got a SB in 2009. Again, just my observations, although there seems to be a bit of regularity there.

  33. ChopBlockMurph says: Dec 19, 2011 2:33 PM

    “Why would they show up and play their hearts out just to give Philly the division?”

    You really think that the Giants play favorites when it comes to the Eagles and the Cowboys?

  34. Howie Veltersnatch says: Dec 19, 2011 2:35 PM

    In the unlikely event the Chargers make the playoffs, and in the absurdly unlikely event they go all the way, I would still fire Norv Turner and A.J. Smith. preferably while they were holding the Lombardi trophy over their heads in celebration, their hair still wet with champagne. “Thanks for the ring, now go clean out your offices.”

    That would be a perfect season.

  35. icontutu says: Dec 19, 2011 2:45 PM

    icontutu says:
    Dec 19, 2011 2:19 PM
    I’m a long termed Eagles Fan, 50 plus years. Recently, “I was banned from their site,” Categorically, “On the Inside,” David Spadaro. I made all the expected overtures to management, J Lurie/ownership & Media Relations. All fell on deaf ears! As a Vietnam Veteran, who has fought for the ideals of this country and free speech, “I was banned for my personal opinions by the “silver spooners” and “Ass kissers.” As you can see by the results of , “Giants, Cowboys & Jets games,” the trouble with this team isn’t talent, it’s psychological. There is no trust as is substantiated by Reids comments, last season and McNabb’s retention. How many players are procuring agents such as, “Drew Rosenhaus,” because of the distrust with the F/O and “U,” J Lurie? There is no unity on this team. Coaching? Reid’s rewards are to give players time off from playing football? Rediculas, “Like your game is a drudgery!” Quality Coaching? I don’t think so!!!

  36. tshirttom says: Dec 19, 2011 2:50 PM

    They will both lose next week but who really cares?

  37. localbandhero says: Dec 19, 2011 3:12 PM

    It’s hard to imagine Dallas getting swept by both the Eagles and Giants. Say what you will about December, but to get swept by two division rivals in a season isn’t very likely. Possibly, absolutely. But not likely.

  38. sterilizecromartie says: Dec 19, 2011 3:28 PM

    ChopBlockMurph says:Dec 19, 2011 2:33 PM

    “Why would they show up and play their hearts out just to give Philly the division?”

    You really think that the Giants play favorites when it comes to the Eagles and the Cowboys?
    ———
    I don’t know. But I know the Giants would play a lot harder if they actually had something to play for besides the mythical “pride” that NFL players so often exhibit.

  39. myeaglescantwin says: Dec 19, 2011 3:53 PM

    When the eagles pounded the Jets, they gave the jets the hunger to come out blazing next week in the battle for NY (north jersey). the jets will be eager to whipe the slate clean and make a stab at the playoffs..
    After that whoopin, the giants will be even hungrier after loosing basically the entire second half of the year.. I see them losing to the jets and then coming to play against the cowboys..

    So basically, i am saying that this Cowboy/Eagles game is a ‘win & in’ for either team..

    on a side note,, can you name a coach who has done worse than Tom Coughlin with so much talent on a roster?? (well besides Andy Reid)

    The entire NFC East should be shaking their heads wondering how it got to this.. we used to be able to push two teams into the playoffs,, now they are scratching just to grab the division with no shot of a wildcard spot.

  40. polishrod says: Dec 19, 2011 4:09 PM

    sterilizecromartie says:Dec 19, 2011 12:59 PM

    Eagles cannot make the playoffs.

    Even if the dream scenario happens for them, they will be relying on the Giants to win a week 17 game vs Dallas for them to get in. NBC will flex that game to 8PM just like they did last year for STL-Seattle. So, going into that game the Giants will know they can either win and Philly will be in. Or they lose and Dallas is in. Basically, the Giants will be playing for nothing at that point. Why would they show up and play their hearts out just to give Philly the division?

    ————-

    1) You clearly have no idea what its like to play an NFC East rivalry. You think being bumped out of the playoffs will make Eli lay down? If anything it makes the Giants more dangerous.

    2) I believe the DAL-NYG game is a protected game. Pretty easy for FOX to pick out of Week 17 schedule

  41. gmogoody says: Dec 19, 2011 4:13 PM

    sterilizecromartie says:
    Dec 19, 2011 12:59 PM

    Eagles cannot make the playoffs.

    Even if the dream scenario happens for them, they will be relying on the Giants to win a week 17 game vs Dallas for them to get in. NBC will flex that game to 8PM just like they did last year for STL-Seattle. So, going into that game the Giants will know they can either win and Philly will be in. Or they lose and Dallas is in. Basically, the Giants will be playing for nothing at that point. Why would they show up and play their hearts out just to give Philly the division?
    ====================================
    There is No Sunday or Monday Night game for week 17. Both games are at 1:00 PM

  42. The Shoeman says: Dec 19, 2011 4:38 PM

    2011 NFL Chargers

    You have just been ” NORV’ed ” again !

  43. howley1 says: Dec 19, 2011 5:56 PM

    When the eagles pounded the Jets, they gave the jets the hunger to come out blazing next week in the battle for NY (north jersey). the jets will be eager to whipe the slate clean and make a stab at the playoffs..
    After that whoopin, the giants will be even hungrier after loosing basically the entire second half of the year.. I see them losing to the jets and then coming to play against the cowboys..

    So basically, i am saying that this Cowboy/Eagles game is a ‘win & in’ for either team..

    ———————————————————–

    You forgot “Eagles have to beat the Redskins”. 7-9 is not gonna win the division.

  44. eaglesnoles05 says: Dec 19, 2011 9:07 PM

    @sterilizecromartie-

    Should it align this way- are you suggesting NYG would rather “let” the Cowboys win the division by losing to them than “let” the Eagles win the division by beating Dallas?

    I’ll take the “NYG tries to win” plan, for 1000, Alex.

  45. bobbyhoying says: Dec 20, 2011 7:59 AM

    What drives me nuts is I’ve been posting for weeks that the East would be won at 9 – 7. How hard would that have been for the Eagles? I can see the Giants laying down against the Cowboys just to screw the Eagles. Our only hope would be Tony Choke-O and Jason Time-out.

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