Why the Philadelphia Eagles Will Finish Dead Last in the NFC East in 2013

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 23, 2013

Jan 01, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) is sacked by Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo (98) causing a fumble during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The NFC East is expected to be as tight as can be once again in 2013. Bovada in Las Vegas predicts that all four teams in the division will win between seven and nine games.

So it's not surprising that you can make perfectly solid arguments in favor of the Dallas CowboysNew York GiantsPhiladelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins finishing first or last in a division that has come down to the wire four years in a row.

Here are the arguments for why Philadelphia will remain in the basement in 2013.



Too Much Change All at Once

It wouldn't be fair to use what happened in 2012 to conclude that the Eagles will once again finish last in the NFC East, but things have changed so much this offseason that it's fair to wonder if Philly might need a little extra time.

That transition from a 4-3 defense featuring the Wide 9 to a 3-4 scheme won't be easy on anyone, especially top pass-rushers Trent Cole and Brandon Graham.

And on offense, it might not be easy for the personnel left over from the Andy Reid's West Coast system to grab a hold of Chip Kelly's up-tempo approach—especially if the read-option is heavily involved.


Still Lacking a Franchise Quarterback

Michael Vick has been a disaster for two years running and there's no reason to believe things will be any different as he enters his 11th season at the age of 33. Kelly will do his best to teach an old dog new tricks, but it's hard to argue that Vick isn't the most careless starting quarterback in the division.

The jury's still out on Nick Foles, Matt Barkley needs time and Dennis Dixon's resume would seem to indicate he isn't qualified for such a job.

You can't win a division like this without a steady and consistent leader under center and Philly doesn't seem to have that.


Cowboys and Redskins Bound to Get Even Better

Those two division rivals already had large advantages over the Eagles last season, so while it's encouraging that Philly is shaking things up, it'll be hard to catch up this quickly.

Dallas and Washington were hit much harder by injuries than Philadelphia was last year, according to data mined by Football Outsiders, and yet they still managed to finish .500 or better.

This year, they've survived cap sanctions to keep the core of their rosters in place and—unless the football gods are really holding a grudge—should be healthier. That doesn't bode well for the Eagles.