The Philadelphia Eagles are riding high at the moment. As of Dec. 11, the Eagles lead the NFC East after a rough start, seem to be forging a new era with a new quarterback, and have a chance to take several more big steps ahead. However, the Washington Redskins looked the exact same way 12 months ago, and are now crumbling before everyone's eyes.
The latest sign of the Redskins' downfall came on Dec. 11, as Robert Griffin III was officially benched, according to ESPN. 12 months ago, Griffin was the hottest quarterback in the NFC East and maybe the NFL -- as hot as Nick Foles is now for the Eagles. But thanks to injuries, debatable coaching from Mike Shanahan and a debatable recovery process, Griffin and the Redskins are now shells of their former selves.
With Washington at 3-10, there will be no miracle comeback like there was last season, when the team went from 3-6 to NFC East champions. As it turns out, the Eagles are this year's Redskins instead, as they have gone from 3-5 to NFC East leaders. Foles has led the way along with the dangerous LeSean McCoy, just as Griffin and Alfred Morris did for the Redskins last season.
Things are going so well for Foles that he made the cover of Sports Illustrated this week. While his long term future is still questionable, the Eagles are set to ride him to the postseason this year, and perhaps trust him to take them further in the years ahead. However, trusting a quarterback because of one hot second half run can be costly, as the Redskins are learning now.
More and more, Washington's 2012 looks like an absolute fluke, leaving its long term future at grave risk. Philadelphia's sudden rise in 2013 could also become fool's gold if it isn't careful. If Foles gets injured or cools off, or if McCoy, DeSean Jackson and others get hurt or take a step back, Chip Kelly's entire regime would be shaken.
The Eagles are hardly as dysfunctional as the Redskins, as Jeffrey Lurie's ownership is far more stable than Daniel Snyder's in Washington. However, the rise and fall of Griffin, Shanahan and the Redskins shows how suddenly the promise of a winning streak can disappear. Will the Eagles' current hot streak have longer legs beyond 2013?