The Eagles are a dangerous bunch right now. The pressure is off. Their season already has been declared a disaster and their fans are being urged to root against them by some in the local media to try to force a coaching change. They are immune to any drama at this point in a season filled with nothing but.
In short, they've got nothing to lose and everything to gain. The roster is full of players with championship-game apperances and they have ample postseason experience. Michael Vick has been better each week since getting healthy. DeSean Jackson looks motivated to try to salvage something of this season. Shady McCoy has been the best back in the NFL this season.
Sure, the defense can be a joke against the run and the secondary wilts too frequently. But they have talent on that side of the ball and can definitely get after the passer. You think Aaron Rodgers, with his offensive line dinged up, wants to see Jason Babin, Trent Cole and Cullen Jenkins roll into Lambeau?
Keep in mind, when the Eagles had Vick early in the season, they were moving the ball and in position to win virtually every game; then Vick would get hurt and a fourth-quarter meltdown would ensue. Hard to see that being the case through an entire season, and an 8-8 Eagles team would beat out any other 8-8 NFC East team for the division title.
Revenge of the ex-Ravens
Never overlook the emotional realm when it comes to football. It's huge. And it played out Sunday night. Jared Gaither was a former starting left tackle on Baltimore's playoff teams, but he clashed with the team about injury last season, the organization questioned his long-term work ethic and he left as a free agent. He flamed out quickly with the Chiefs -- who were too quick to cut him in Week 12, quite honestly -- and the Chargers, running out of linemen and desperate for anything, snatched him up.
Gaither, a supplemental draft pick for the Ravens out of Maryland, was more than good enough against his former team, helping to keep Terrell Suggs and company from having any impact on the game. It was a superior performance and could end up the difference between San Diego firing a coach and front office and winning the division.
On the other side of the ball was journeyman linebacker Antwan Barnes. Barnes was a fourth-round pick by Baltimore in 2007 and became a special teams standout who gradually fell out of favor and was gone before the start of the 2010 season. Barnes played like a man with a grudge Sunday night, having by far the best game of his career. His four sacks helped derail Baltimore's passing game and lead to Flacco's misery.
Romeo and … Josh?
Romeo Crennel pulled off the upset of the season Sunday, knocking off the undefeated Packers in his first game as Kansas City's interim head coach.
The pure joy on his face, and those of the Chiefs, and the obvious love they have for their former defensive coordinator was distinct. They chanted his name in the locker room. The win will make the Chiefs think long and hard about his ability to be the team's next head coach. He is already inside GM Scott Pioli's circle of trust and comes from the same Bill Belichick family. Crennel has prior head coaching experience and wants to be a head coach again.
At the time of Crennel's promotion and Todd Haley's firing, I reported Crennel would be given consideration for the job. Josh McDaniels will as well, according to league sources, but perhaps Pioli could have the best of both worlds. The Rams are likely to blow things up, and McDaniels could end up in Kansas City as the offensive coordinator, reuniting with Matt Cassel and Crennel. McDaniels could continue to add seasoning and be a coach-in-waiting type behind the more experienced Crennel. It would make sense to me.
I know it was just one game, but it was a huge win. And if Kyle Orton continues to play like he did Sunday, the Chiefs could still have a say in the AFC. At 6-8 they are still alive and could have quite the showdown with the Broncos in Week 17. If they find a way to get in the postseason, I don't see how they aren't keeping Crennel right where he is.
Odds and ends
» The tight end franchise tag will be a bargain, and I had Jermichael Finley earmarked for it for the longest time. But given how that will go over with him -- I don't suspect he'd take well to getting tagged -- and after Sunday's drop-opalooza performance, and given all of Green Bay's weapons and their drafting prowess, I wonder if maybe they just let him walk. They won a Super Bowl without him in 2010, and he may rock the boat a little too much for their liking.