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The Eagles Are 3-0 But In Unusual Fashion

Why are we surprised that the Eagles are winning ugly?

Why are we surprised that the Eagles are winning ugly?

Last week, Neil Paine wrote that while the Eagles were 2-0, it was not all sunshine and rainbows in Philadelphia. The Eagles posted Game Scripts of -7.1 against Jacksonville and -4.8 against Indianapolis; based on Neil’s research, the Eagles had the worst Game Scripts of any team to start 0-2 since at least 1978.

Against Washington in week 3, the Eagles fell behind 17-7 before coming from behind and again emerging victorious. As a result — and after trailing the Jags 17-0 and the Colts 20-6 — Philadelphia became the first team since at least 1940 to start a season 3-0 despite trailing by at least 10 points in each game.

In fact, only three teams had ever overcome a deficit of a touchdown or greater in each of their first three games: the 2000 Rams, the 2000 Jets, and the 1960 Giants. Those teams finished the season 10-6, 9-7, and 6-4-2 respectively, which means they went just 16-17-2 the rest of the season after starting 9-0.

In general, teams that have started 3-0 despite constantly falling behind have not been as successful over the rest of the season as other 3-0 teams. In fact, if you add up the worst margin for each 3-0 team in each game, 25 teams have trailed by an “aggregate” of 21+ points in those three games. On average, those teams won just 53.5% of the remainder of their games.

Here’s how to read the table below: The 2011 Bills started 3-0; in week 1, the team never trailed. In week 2, Buffalo fell behind by 18 points, and in week 3, Buffalo trailed by 21 points. The “aggregate” of the largest deficits in those three games was 39 points, the lowest since 1940 prior to the 2014 Eagles (41 points). The rest of the year, Buffalo went 3-10, with a rest-of-year winning percentage of 0.231.

TeamYearWk 1Wk 2Wk 3SumROY RecordROY Win%

Thirty-five teams started 3-0 while never trailing (the 2012 Falcons and 2009 Saints being the most recent).1 In the aggregate, that group of teams won 66.2% of their remaining games. In other words, it’s great for Philadelphia that the team is 3-0. It’s even greater that they get to play in the NFC East. But not all 3-0 teams are created equally, and the Eagles are certainly in the running for ugliest 3-0 team ever.

  1. The Bengals have trailed for just 51 seconds this year (and by one point at that), narrowly missing out on joining this club. []
  • Ty

    The Eagles O-Line is really banged up, and the defense is not good. Them playing in a mediocre division really helps them, as far as making the playoffs goes (provided Foles is healthy).

  • Richie

    Can we get a preview of ugliest 4-0 teams, so we can see what Philly has to do to make the top of that list?

  • Tom

    I love the narrative that the NFC East is a bad division based on week 1. Since then Dallas won on the road in TN and STL, the Giants obliterated previously undefeated Houston at home and Washington put up more points against Jax than Indy did in a must-win.

    Top to Bottom the NFCE is better than all but the NFCW and maybe the AFCW.