Playoff Spoilers? Eagles Clinch A Wildcard Spot In Week 17

Photo Credits: Geoff Burke - USA Today Sports

Sitting at 2-5 after a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in week 7, the Philadelphia Eagles looked hopeless. Quarterback Jalen Hurts wasn't playing well, the defense was historically bad, and first-year head coach, Nick Sirianni, was comparing the team and its players to flowers. However, ever since the infamous flower speech, the Eagles have gone 7-2 in their last 9 games. While some would say the competition has been subpar, we've seen really good teams lose to really bad teams multiple times this season. So, put another way, the Eagles are a hot team when they need to be and have secured a playoff spot just a year after a 4-11-1 season.

How The Eagles Clinched:

Heading into Sunday, the Eagles could clinch a playoff spot if the following happened: Eagles beat the Washington Football Team, Either the 49'ers beat the Texans OR the Panthers beat the Saints, and Greenbay defeats the Vikings.

In recent weeks, the Eagles have had a disturbing trend of starting slow in games. This past Sunday was no exception with Philly trailing Washington 16-7 at the half. However, as we know by now, the Birds pulled out the win with a final score of 20-16. I've seen some media members suggest that Jalen Hurts played just ok, and I suppose statistically they're right. But if you watched the game you can't say he didn't pass the eye test. Hurts was making plays all day with his legs and was bailing the team out with his arm. This was a definite stock-up performance in my opinion. I would've liked to see the defense play better initially, but we know that this group is the weak point of the team.

After beating Washington, the Eagles needed either the 49ers to beat the Texans or for the Panthers to beat the Saints during the 4:00 PM game slate. The 49ers were able to take care of the Texans and that meant the Eagles just needed the Packers to beat the Vikings during the night game to seal the deal. With Kirk Cousins missing the game due to COVID, Aaron Rodgers and the cheeseheads were able to beat the Vikings. And with that, the Eagles Playoff spot was secured.

Who The Eagles Will Face In The Playoffs & Favorable Matchups:

The Eagles will most likely play one of three teams; The Bucs, The Rams, or the Cowboys. For a full breakdown of the possibilities, check out this chart via true Philadelphia Eagles sicko, Deniz Selman:

Of the Eagle's most likely first-round opponents, I'd prefer it if the team played either the Rams or the Cowboys. The Rams are beginning to look like frauds with Matt Stafford's recent play and it'd be an amazing storyline if the Eagles beat the Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs. However, as Deniz's chart indicates, the Eagles will most likely play the Bucs in the first round. To me, this is the worst possible matchup for Philly considering Tampa's extremely good run defense and Tom Brady's ability to carve up bad secondaries, which much worse QB's have been able to do this season. At the end of the day though, this league is so hit or miss each week this season. The Bucs almost lost to the Jets on Sunday, so who knows if the Birds can be competitive against them?

In any case, The Eagles have wildly outperformed expectations this year. Most analysts didn't predict them to win more than four or five games. With nine wins so far, the team has shown they can prove their doubters wrong. With Philly going into the playoffs during a "transition" year and with the team having three first-round picks in the 2022 draft, it's hard not to feel optimistic about the long-term prospects of this team. Since every other Philly sports team is either average or bad, the Eagles are, once again, the hope for a passionate city.

Go Birds


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