The Philadelphia Eagles are tied for first place after Oct. 13, despite looking dead in the water two weeks ago. Of course, since the Eagles knew they had the winless New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the schedule two weeks ago, they still could have foreseen this. The big twist is that Nick Foles powered those two wins instead of Michael Vick, and now the third time could be the charm that ends Vick’s tenure.
Foles did to the Buccaneers what he did to the Giants a week earlier, in playing mistake free football and putting the 31-20 win away in the fourth quarter. This time he had help from LeSean McCoy and his 116 rushing yards, while throwing three touchdowns of his own and helping Riley Cooper and DeSean Jackson have big days.
Foles went 22-for-31 for 296 yards and three touchdowns, getting his third career win in the process – and second over the Buccaneers. However, beating opponents other than Tampa Bay and teams with winless records is what will make Foles a real starting quarterback. At this rate, the city of Philadelphia will beg for Foles to get that chance against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 20, whether Vick’s hamstring is healed or not.
Chip Kelly had sworn that Vick would start again once he was healthy, but sticking with Vick now will be a tougher sell. If he starts Foles and he goes on to beat the Cowboys, the Eagles will have first place to themselves and Vick may not come off the bench for a long time -- if ever again in Philadelphia. But if Foles starts and comes down to Earth against much tougher competition, Vick can slide back in.
If Vick starts and loses, then Kelly and the Eagles will be open to a lot of second guessing. Thanks to Foles, Philadelphia has life again and can still hope for a playoff spot, albeit from the worst division in football. Nevertheless, this may be the Eagles’ best opportunity to take off, and whether they blow it or not may depend on what Kelly decides this week.
As such, the next seven days will be all about the great Vick vs Foles debate, even if Kelly decides faster than that. It should be about the Eagles vs Cowboys and a battle for first place, yet Foles officially made that impossible for Philadelphia.