I’ve always believed that any team in any sport is better off in the playoffs than out.
And why not?
Winning is better than losing. Getting into the tournament gives you a chance. We’ve seen wild-card teams win Super Bowls. We’ve seen teams finish a few games over .500 go on to win the World Series. Heck, we saw Villanova win an NCAA title as an eight-seed back in 1985.
Even if you lose in the first round, the experience of being on that stage is huge. Getting a feel for what the postseason feels like. A taste of the pressure of a win-or-go-home tournament.
What could be more valuable for young players on the Eagles to experience firsthand how much the intensity grows from regular season to postseason?
Even a struggling team is better off finding its way into the playoffs. The 2018 Eagles were 4-6 two years ago today. Two months later, they were a couple plays away from beating the Saints in the Superdome and reaching the NFC Championship Game.
You never know. Which is why getting into the tournament is always better than not getting in.
Because with this team? There’s not a thing to gain by getting into the playoffs.
Talk about fool’s gold. If the Eagles somehow do win the NFC East and back their way into the playoffs, they’re still an awful team that needs a major overhaul, and the last thing this franchise needs is a built-in excuse to put it off for another year.
Plus, we all know they’re not beating the Bucs or Seahawks or Rams or whoever winds up as the No. 5 seed and comes to the Linc wild-card weekend.
But the biggest reason winning the division would be a disaster for the Eagles is the draft.
If you go 5-10-1 and win the NFC East, you’re still getting the 21st pick in the draft. Maybe you get a star. Maybe you get a decent player. Maybe you don’t.
If you go 5-10-1 and don’t win the NFC East, now you’re talking about a top-10 pick. The better the pick, the greater the chance of finding a star.
And if there’s one thing this team needs more than anything it’s star power.
Not more overachieving practice squad players or mediocre first-round picks or a second-round projects or late-round long shots.
Studs. Superstars. Game-changers.
Because we can talk all day about poor coaching and a bad game plan and terrible play calling. The bottom line is the Eagles simply don’t have very many proven elite players, and other than Miles Sanders and Dallas Goedert, the ones they do have are well into their 30s.
Ask yourself this: Who’s the Eagles’ best defensive player who’ll be in his 20s on opening day next year? Alex Singleton? Josh Sweat?
See what I mean?
One of the Eagles’ problems is that over the last two decades, they’ve been a consistent winner. Which means they rarely got high draft picks.
In fact, in the last 20 drafts, they’ve only picked in the top 10 twice.
After going 4-12 in Andy Reid’s final year, they picked No. 4 in 2013 and drafted Lane Johnson, and of course they traded up twice to take Carson Wentz at No. 2 in 2016.
Before that, you have to go all the way back to Tra Thomas, Donovan McNabb and Corey Simon in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
Now, who’s going to make this pick to make sure the Eagles get the right guy? That they land the flat-out stud they have to get at No. 7 or 8 to kick-start the rebuilding process? That’s a question for another day. That’s up to Jeff Lurie.
But watching this team bumble its way through Sunday after Sunday, it couldn’t be any clearer that the only way for them to win is to lose.
And that seems to be the only thing they're good at.