Mathematics: Two Wins Are Two Wins, and One Loss Is One Loss

Mathematics: Two Wins Are Two Wins, and One Loss Is One Loss

The Eagles clearly have issues. Over the next seven days, anybody will be happy to tell you exactly what they are. I'm sure plenty of you are about to educate me as to exactly what they are as well.

To reiterate, everybody can see there are legitimate problems here. Michael Vick, Andy Reid... 12 turnovers through three games says it all, so as soon as there is a fresh take on the matter, we will be happy to share it. This is of course in stark contrast with what I expect to read and hear the day after -- a whole lot of finger pointing in conjunction with calls to oust the quarterback and/or head coach.

In other words, the usual.

Why not join the mob? You might be surprised to learn they don't serve Kool-Aid at the office, midnight green or otherwise, although the answer is even simpler than whipping up a batch.

The Eagles' record is 2-1. That's it. That's pretty much all I have to say in response to the 27-6 beatdown in Arizona. It was ugly, and it exposed the team's flaws in a way their previous opponents could not. Yet at the end of the day, Philadelphia still owned more wins than they did losses after three games.

Now there are two very important parts to that last sentence. There's the "more wins than losses," and there's the "after three games."

For starters, let somebody else qualify the wins. Sure, margin of victory and quality of opponent tells us something about how those contests were won. What it does not do is describe the character of the victory as a matter of fact. Granted both outcomes further proved not all is well with the Birds, but they had to earn those marks in the W column -- and once it's December, nobody is going to remember or care how they got them.

Now there are 13 games left, so luck can change. Heck, I guarantee it will if the Eagles keep giving the ball away at a rate of four per game. But more to the point, as bad Sunday's loss to the Cardinals was, it was just one tilt out of 16. Every team stumbles along the way, which is why there are only three unbeatens remaining in the entire NFL this year. There is absolutely no reason for anybody to lose their shit over a single loss, in September no less.

And how's about a little respect for the opponent? One of those three unbeatens are the Cardinals, who have won 10 of their last 12 going back to November.

Some folks were acting like this was that game on the schedule where the Eagles should skate, but instead played down to their competition. Arizona is good. That building was loud. The Birds had injuries. Come back and tell me how lousy the Cardinals are in January, when they are busy making noise in the playoffs.

Never mind this is what the NFL does. The parity in this league makes teams look like world beaters one week, jerks the next. These days almost every game needs to be viewed as a standalone.

If the Eagles come out flat and mistake-prone against the Giants this coming Sunday night, that would be cause for serious concern. Not only is it a division opponent, a battle Reid routinely has his troops ready to fight, but another loss would drop the club to .500 -- not the worst place in the world, but given their struggles, perhaps more indicative of something incurable.

Up until they ran into the Cardinals, the Eagles were finding ways to pull through. It hasn't always been fun to watch, but they were 2-0. Then you consider the circumstances surrounding their first loss: hitting the road on the heels of a huge victory over a Super Bowl contender to clash with an upstart squad that's craving respect, your biggest rival looming in prime time no less.

As we mentioned pregame, it had letdown written all over it.

Then you look at the standings, and this team that seemingly everybody agrees is as talented as almost any other in the league is sitting at 2-1 after three weeks, despite their obvious warts.

The Eagles may not look that great, but let me check something real quick. Yep, try saying it out loud. 2-1 passes the ear test. I think they're still okay for the moment.

La Salle pummeled by VCU, 90-52, snapping 5-game streak

usa-john-giannini-la-salle-baskebtall.jpg
USA Today Images

La Salle pummeled by VCU, 90-52, snapping 5-game streak

RICHMOND, Va. -- Justin Tillman had 16 points and nine rebounds to lead five VCU players in double figures in a 90-52 victory over La Salle on Sunday.

VCU held La Salle to 15 made field goals and forced 16 turnovers.

VCU went on a 19-0 first-half run -- with 11 points from JeQuan Lewis -- for a 38-14 lead and the Rams led 42-16 at halftime after shooting 51.5 percent. Lewis made 5 of 6 shots and had 13 of his 15 points in the first half.

Samir Doughty added 15 points for VCU (15-5, 5-2 Atlantic 10). Ahmed Hamdy-Mohamed had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Jordan Burgess scored 10. Tillman was 7 of 10 from the field as the Rams shot 56.5 percent.

Jordan Price and Saul Phiri each scored 11 points for La Salle (11-6, 5-2) and Pookie Powell added 10. It was a season-high for the freshman Phiri but the Explorers were just 15-of-53 shooting (28.3 percent).

The Sixers without Joel Embiid: Still just the Sixers

The Sixers without Joel Embiid: Still just the Sixers

Well, if anyone hoped the Sixers' performance at game's end against Portland on Friday night -- with Joel Embiid riding the bench, ruled out for the game's remainder with a left knee contusion -- would carry over to an entirely Embiid-less game again Saturdaynight... I guess you're not alone, 'coz I sorta did. Perhaps it shouldn't have been particularly surprising to see that the Sixers were still the same team last night in Atlanta they were the previous Saturday against the Wizards: good enough to hang against an above-average East team, but not nearly good enough to actually win. 

At least they kept this one closer longer. Normally, against the Hawks, once the single-digit lead in the first half balloons into the double-digit lead in the third quarter, it never deflates back, but this time we cut it down to seven a couple times -- just never hitting that one big shot that would've really made things interesting, ultimately losing 110-93. It doesn't help that Nik Stauskas is in the midst of one of his most refrigerated runs as a Sixer, going just 7-30 (3-16 from deep) over Philly's last five games, or that Dario Saric is similarly bricking shots near and wide, a remarkable 2 for 22 over his last couple contests. 

This, sadly, is a primary reason why the Sixers' playoff hopes, while fun to dream about, are still unlikely to be more than a flicker. Over the next few weeks, the Sixers have a trio of back-to-backs coming up, with the back-end games coming against Milwaukee, Sacramento and San Antonio -- none of which Philly, 2-12 without their star center, are probable to win sans JoJo. Even if they can take care of business with Embiid on the court, it'll be tough to make up the ground that the Sons of Sam need to while they have to drop one every three or four games as Joel sits. 

That's fine, though. This season's been super-fun, but we shouldn't get too far ahead of ourselves: Let's ensure Embiid's health, maybe get Ben Simmons out there too, secure a nice draft pick or two (though the plummeting Kings could be of significant help with that themselves), and focus on making next year even more of a thing. The future remains impossibly bright, even if the present is going to have to be borderline-unwatchable once or twice a week.