PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 02: Dimitri Patterson #23, Colt Anderson #30, and Mike Patterson #98 of the Philadelphia Eagles take the field to play against the Dallas Cowboys on January 2, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Can anyone say with any certainty that they know how the Eagles will play on Sunday against the Packers? I'm not talking about the outcome of the game, but rather how the team will perform, relative to their talent and their recent games.
We know the 2010-11 Eagles can be a dominant bunch. They didn't win six of seven games during the stretch run from Halloween to Christmas for nothing. Football Outsiders ranks the Eagles number five overall in the league, with the third best offense -- one that is capable of scoring 28 points in just under eight minutes against the Giants a few weeks back.
But this team can also look woeful. The first three quarters were ugly in that Miracle in the New Meadowlands game as the Giants mounted a three touchdown lead. And the Joe Webb-led Vikings took down the Birds in a sloppy team effort with a first round bye on the line. You don't see football played much worse than that.
The injuries that have ended the seasons of Nate Allen, Brandon Graham and sidelined others like Stewart Bradley and Asante Samuel have only made the problems worse, as inconsistent back-ups have had to step up into starting roles.
The situation is similar to last year, when the Eagles went into the playoffs for their third matchup with the Cowboys. Even with Donovan McNabb, they were an inconsistent but explosive team. We just couldn't tell who would show up on any given Sunday. A year ago that meant the Eagles were blown out 34-14 in a game that signaled the end of an era.
What will this weekend signal? The continuation of Michael Vick's time in Philly? The need for further rebuilding? A Super Bowl run?
All that depends on which Eagles team shows up to play.