Time and time again this season, the Eagles have had opportunities to win close games.
And time and time again, they’ve failed.
After Sunday’s 27-26 loss to the Ravens on Sunday in Baltimore, the Eagles are now 0-6 in games decided by one score. They’re the worst team in the league in that regard.
“Obviously, we're learning and we're getting that experience, but it's still frustrating. Without a doubt,” Carson Wentz said. “We're in all these close games. To come up short time and time again, you know, that sucks. It's tough and there are things we keep saying we have to learn from. At the end of the day, we have to find a way to win these ball games.”
The Eagles have lost those six one-score games by an average of 4.17 points per game. That, plus a couple of blowout wins early on, explains how the Eagles have a 5-9 record to go with a point differential of plus-17.
Of the 142 teams to have a point differential of plus-17 through 14 games in the last 10 years, the Eagles are one of three to have a 5-9 record.
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While the Eagles are the NFL’s worst team in one-score games at 0-6 (the 49ers and Browns are both 0-4), they’re about to play the NFL’s best. The Giants have an 8-2 record in one-score games and are one of three teams to win 80 percent of them this season (Raiders 8-2, Patriots 4-1).
So what has made the Giants so good in those games?
“I think the players have bought into just staying focused, being where their feet are,” Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said on a conference call with Philly reporters earlier this week. “I think they believe in each other.
“We talk about it quite a bit, positive messaging. I think it comes from within. Not necessarily from a coach or one player. I think it’s a group of guys buying in and leading the charge and I think we have a high-character locker room, a lot of men with integrity and good leadership.”
And it doesn’t hurt to have experience.
Especially at the quarterback position, where the Giants have a 13-year veteran and a two-time Super Bowl MVP in Eli Manning, instead of a rookie who was playing at North Dakota State a year ago.
“I don’t know that there’s a magical formula for years of experience,” McAdoo said.
The Eagles feel like they’ve been gaining experience in each one of these six losses, especially Sunday’s one-point loss to the Ravens. Had that late two-point conversion been good, the Eagles would have already tossed this monkey from their back. But Wentz’s pass fell incomplete and another loss was added to the pile.
With two games left in the 2016 season, there’s a high likelihood the Eagles will get another crack at getting a one-score victory. They lost to both the Giants and Cowboys by one score in respective games earlier this season.
If the Eagles aren’t able to pull one out, this will be the first time since 1968 and the fifth time in franchise history they will have failed to win a one-score game.
“At the end of the day, it's execution. Plain and simple,” linebacker Jordan Hicks said. “We've got to be able to execute at a high level in order to pull those games out. I think that comes with experience. I think that comes with playing together.
“But ultimately, you have to focus in and play one snap at a time and realize that every single snap counts and that when you're out of position for one, that could be the game-changer. When you've got multiple people saying my bad and doing different things and you don't execute, that's how you get beat in this league. The competition is super stiff, every game is going to be super tight.
“Other than one game, Cincinnati, there hasn't been one game where we don't feel like we could have won. It's difficult, tough. It's definitely tough to think about and come to that realization that this season could be completely different if we'd just execute those little details.”