Eagles Lacking Firepower to Compete in Modern NFL

It was impossible to watch the Chiefs-Rams game Monday night without saying to yourself, "This isn't even the same sport that the Eagles play."

That game was an extreme example - the first game in NFL history in which both teams scored 50 points - but this is what the modern National Football League is.

The notion that you win with defense isn't really true anymore. The way the rules are written and the way the league is trending, you win by piling up an insane number of points and then holding your breath.

And that modern NFL is leaving the Eagles behind.

They can't keep up.

You watch the Rams, Chiefs and Saints, and they're playing a different game than the Eagles. In fact, those three teams are all averaging more points than the Eagles have scored all year.

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The top five offenses in the league belong to five of the best teams in the league. Traditional defensive powerhouses like the Steelers and Bears are averaging close to 30 points per game.

• Rams (10-1) - third (35.4)

• Saints (9-1) - first (37.8)

• Chiefs (9-2) - second (36.7)

• Steelers (7-2-1) - fourth (29.9)

• Bears (7-3) - fifth (29.4)

• Texans (7-3) - 16th (23.9)

• Chargers (7-3) - 10th (26.2)

There are 11 NFL teams with a winning record, and 10 of them are ranked in the top half in the league in scoring (all but the Redskins).

Defense? The Chiefs are 30th. The Rams are 28th. The Saints are 15th. None of the top three defensive teams in the league have a winning record. Only five of the top 13 defensive teams have a winning record.

The teams that are scaring everybody right now are the Saints, Chiefs and Rams, simply because they're able to outscore anybody.

Then there are the Eagles, who are plodding along with an anachronistic 20.5 points per game.

They've scored more than 24 once all year, and they're averaging 20.5 overall and 19.2 at home.

Think about this: The Rams, Saints and Chiefs are scoring almost as many points per half as the Eagles are scoring per game.

You can't compete like this. You can't compete when you can't generate piles of points in a hurry. You can't keep up.

Now, the Eagles will tell you they're close. They're gaining yards but they're just not scoring. But they're only 19th in total yards. Just behind the Browns and 49ers.

With each passing week, it looks more and more like the Eagles have been left behind.

A year ago, this offense was explosive, unpredictable, dynamic, multiple and high-powered. The Eagles could win by shutting teams down, like they did in the playoffs against the Falcons, and they could win in a shootout, like they did in the Super Bowl. Or they could do both, like in the NFC Championship Game against the Vikings.

Sunday, the Eagles' offense sank to a new low, managing just seven points against a Saints defense that was allowing nearly 30 per game.

The biggest challenge facing Howie Roseman, Joe Douglas and Doug Pederson right now isn't finding healthy cornerbacks or effective pass rushers or playmaking linebackers, although they do need those.

It's finding a way to rebuild this offense so the Eagles can keep up with the best teams in the league.

That means finding explosive playmakers. That means figuring out how best to use Carson Wentz's immense talent. That means rebuilding the aging offensive line. That means getting guys who have the speed to make plays down the field. That means figuring out exactly how to incorporate a running game into a modern NFL offense. That means putting together a coaching staff that's innovative and creative and aggressive.

Teams are scoring at will these days. The Chiefs have scored 35 points seven times, the Rams and Saints six times. 

The Eagles have had games with 7, 17, 18, 20, 20, 21, 21 23 and 24 points.

Heck, Frank Reich's Colts are averaging 30 points per game in his first year as a head coach, and they've gone 34-37-42-29-38 in their last five games.

The question is no longer how much do the Eagles miss Reich, it's how big a rebuilding project do they face to be able to play offensive football again at a high level? To be able to stand toe to toe with the best teams in the NFL and even be in the game.

The Eagles have some good pieces in place. With each passing week, it's becoming clearer and clearer they don't have enough.

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