As the Delaware Valley prepares to face the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, Andy Reid is one of the few folks concerned with another looming storm. Reid is coaching for his job, and with a 3-3 record, he can see the dark clouds gathering.
An Eagles win today would be like a ray of sunshine peaking through. A loss would be like driving toward the oncoming chaos.
Sensing what shaky ground this season is on already, Coach Reid used the bye week to batten down the hatches. He fired Juan Castillo and named Todd Bowles defensive coordinator. He yanked Demteress Bell and inserted King Dunlap at left tackle (again).
Those are the changes we can see. Reid certainly must have tinkered under the hood as well. You don't get to be 13-0 after the bye by staying the course.
The one change he didn't make was under center. If Reid is desperate, he is trying not to let it show by placing his trust in Michael Vick.
So much time and effort has been put into debating whether or not he should remain the starting quarterback, there was very little mention this week about Vick going up against his old employer. Whether he would admit it or not, you and I all know that should serve as a bit of extra motivation.
Reid and Vick might be standing in the path of a perfect storm though. The Eagles host an unbeaten Atlanta Falcons squad, and while we don't know yet how good the Dirty Birds are, they do have elite playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Exton native Matt Ryan has elevated his play to a level where he may soon enter the discussion with your Mannings, Brady, Rodgers, and Brees -- if he hasn't already. And in case you were wondering, former Eagle Asante Samuel demonstrated two weeks ago he is still dangerous.
The Falcons finished with at least nine wins in each of the past four seasons, and made the playoffs in three of those, so it's not like they're coming out of nowhere, either.
As if that were not enough by itself, the Eagles were bit by the injury bug this week, and no surprise, it was their offensive line. Danny Watkins is listed at doubtful, and likely will be replaced at right guard by rookie Dennis Kelly. The fifth-round pick played tackle at Purdue, so that should be interesting.
And on top of the figurative storm clouds putting all that pressure on Reid, the Eagles will battle the real elements as well. The wind will be a factor, and it could rain off and on throughout the game as the weather continues to worsen over the next couple days.
A Michael Vick leading the league in turnovers and a slick ball is a scary combination.
This game isn't the definition of a must-win, but if this truly is going to be Andy's last stand, the Eagles need to dig in today. The road doesn't get any easier from here.