They will be 2-0, with last week's agita relieved by a good win against a tough contender. Or they will be 1-1 with more doubts raised about their coach, their quarterback, their defense, and their chances to compete in the NFC this season.
Because of that, this may be Michael Vick's biggest regular-season game as an Eagle. He very much needs to show some sign that he can be the elite quarterback he appeared to be for a couple of months in 2010. For Vick, this game evokes two crossroads games for his predecessor as the Eagles' franchise quarterback, Donovan McNabb.
There was the Week 2 game against New England in 2003. It was the second-ever game at Lincoln Financial Field. The first was a 17-0 loss to Tampa Bay, the team that had closed down Veterans Stadium with a devastating upset win in the NFC championship game. As the Patriots dominated that day, McNabb was serenaded with chants for backup quarterback A.J. Feeley.
Vick is coming off a Week 1 victory, but the stench of his four-interception performance in Cleveland will linger until he performs significantly better. He is certainly not in any better standing this week than McNabb was in 2003, after consecutive trips to the conference title game.
John Harbaugh was on the Eagles' sideline for that 2003 game, and a lot of other games in which the crowd played a factor. You can bet that Harbaugh, now the Ravens' head coach, will have his voracious defense primed to jump on Vick quickly. It won't take more than a turnover or a couple of three-and-outs to get the crowd chanting for rookie backup Nick Foles.
McNabb had a way of getting motivated to prove the fans wrong. He was terrible at the start of the 2003 season, but he rallied the Eagles to a 12-4 record and another trip to the NFC title game.
Vick, on the other hand, admits that he was pressing in Cleveland.
"I think it's decision-making, pressing, and not pressing as hard to try and make things happen when things aren't going your way," Vick said Wednesday. "One thing you can't do in this league is you can't force throws and you can't try to stick a ball in a tight spot when a guy is not really open and try to make something happen at that given time."
If he was pressing in Cleveland, how will he react to a hostile home crowd? It is an issue Vick would be much better off avoiding altogether. The best way to do that, of course, is to get off to a good start and get the crowd behind him.
And that's what makes it such a crossroads game. It will provide answers to some fundamental questions about whether Vick is capable of doing that, against an elite defense, at this point in his career.
That brings us to the second similar crossroads of McNabb's tenure. He was two days shy of his 32d birthday when he was yanked from a game against the Ravens in 2008. It was the first time Andy Reid had benched McNabb based on performance.
Well, Vick is three months past his 32d birthday and facing a still-excellent Ravens defense. In 2008, Reid clearly was hoping Kevin Kolb would rally the team and claim the No. 1 job for which he was being groomed. Kolb did not. McNabb returned to the lineup and once again led the Eagles to the NFC title game - their last playoff success under Reid.
There are similarities and differences now. Vick is the age McNabb was then. Kolb was in his second season but had little game experience. Reid was much more secure in his own job in 2008, so he could take a little heat for shuffling QBs a bit.
It's impossible to know how his less-certain status will affect Reid's decision-making if Vick delivers another poor performance. Is he more likely to stick with the veteran because of the risk of going with Foles? Or would the risk shift? Would Foles become the better option?
The onus is on Vick to preempt these questions. He can play like the resurrected star of 2010 or he can play like the fading star of 2011. He quickly is approaching a crossroads that will help determine which.
Contact Phil Sheridan at 215-854-2844, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @Sheridanscribe. Read his blog, "Philabuster," at www.philly.com/philabuster. Read his columns at www.philly.com/philsheridan