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ESPN Analyst: Eagles’ Loss to Cardinals is One of the Worst in 20 Years

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After enduring a grueling stretch of games against perennial playoffs teams in the Dallas Cowboys twice, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles still controlled their destiny to win the NFC East with three games left in the season.

The odds Philadelphia (11-5) could win out and win the division for a second-straight year with two games against the New York Giants (5-11) and Arizona Cardinals (4-12) appeared high, barring a collapse of epic proportions.

Then, that collapse of epic proportions happened when they lost 35-31 to the Cardinals on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Now, Philadelphia will need a win over the Giants and the Washington Commanders, who have lost seven straight games, to beat the Cowboys (11-5) on Sunday if they’re going to win the division.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray running into the end zone for a touchdown.USA TODAY

ESPN analysts and former NFL players Dan Orlovsky and Ryan Clark were especially critical of the Eagles on the show “Get Up!” given the importance of the game and the Cardinals only having three wins all season before Sunday. For Orlovsky, the loss was one of Philadelphia’s worst in recent memory.

“Given the stakes and the opponent, this is one of the worst losses, regular season-wise for the Philadelphia Eagles in like 20 years,” Orlovsky said. ” The opponent is playing for basically nothing. When it comes to truly matter in the stakes of if you win, the division still can be yours [and] the No. 2 seed, and you get walked down the field at home vs. the Cardinals for a game-losing drive.”

Orlovsky was a quarterback from 2005-2015 for the Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Clark played safety from 2002-2014 for the New York Giants, Washington Commanders and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Clark and Orlovsky singled out the defense, which has allowed game-winning drives in two of the last three weeks to the Seattle Seahawks and Cardinals and was a play away from the same fate against the Giants on Christmas. If the Eagles’ defense can’t improve quickly, Orlovsky believes they could have a quick exit in the playoffs.

“If this defense doesn’t get fixed and fixed quick, this team is going to be one and done in the playoffs,” Orlovsky said.

Since Week 13, the Eagles’ defense ranks 31st in points allowed per game (31) and 29th in yards allowed per game (377.6). Philadelphia has lost four of its last five games.

“When you look at this defense, it’s not what it was last year,” Clark said. “This was a team that closed out games. We talked about this team rivaling the Chicago Bears of 1985.”

Related: Eagles’ Mailata Reacts to Loss To Cardinals: ‘Disheartening’

Regardless of whether the Eagles make the playoffs as a division-winner or wild-card team, they’re struggling when it matters most. If they get bounced quickly from the playoffs, a once-promising season will have turned into a disappointing one.

Philadelphia closes out the regular season on Sunday when it faces the Giants at 4:25 p.m. ET at MetLife Stadium.

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