So this was what Carson Wentz was supposed to be. The guy we’ve seen in the last month – the one completing 70.7 percent of his passes, averaging better than 300 yards per game, and who has thrown seven TD with no INT – that’s the guy we expected.
THAT guy showed up and the Eagles started winning.
Once again, a superlative performance by the QB and from some unheralded (and in many ways, unheard of) backups led the birds to a 34-17 victory against the Giants and an NFC East title. It didn’t always look that way. The first half was tight. The rain had an impact on accuracy, but when it came to winning time, Philly showed up on both sides of the ball.
The Eagles have won 14 of their last 16 games from Week 15 on in the last two seasons, including the playoffs. They are 9-1 in games where a loss would end their season, the only setback going through the hands of Alshon Jeffrey against the Saints in last year’s Divisional Round. This is a team that is built for December, January, and February. It knows how to win and now, being in the playoffs, this is a scary team.
As we look into the postseason, the biggest issue for Philadelphia will be health. At the beginning of the season, the receiving corps was DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffrey, and Nelson Agholor. Jordan Howard was the running back. Zach Ertz was at tight end.
None of them played against the Giants.
Greg Ward emerged as a receiver. Miles Sanders became a sturdy weapon out of the backfield. Barrett Brooks developed into a pro bowler. All of them spent time in the blue tent against New York.
Eagles Odds Preview vs. Seattle: Can the Eagles Overcome All Their Injuries?
In short, now the backups need backups. Can the Eagles really survive with Boston Scott, a slightly hobbled Ward (who did return against the Giants), Dallas Goeddert, and Deontay Burnett manning the offense? Can they advance with a banged up secondary?
The only saving grace is that Seattle comes in almost as injured as Philly. The Seahawks enter the game a slim, one-point favorite in what will be the final game to be played on Wild Card weekend. Honestly, I think the game comes down more to the Eagles defense against the Seattle offense. Can Philly show down Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, and Co.? The front seven did a good job of getting pressure on the Giants and Daniel Jones and I’d expect that to keep up against the Seahawks. The unit has stepped up its game lately, helping to mask the injuries at corner.
Maybe my favorite quirky note about the Eagles defense is that they allow 27.5 points per game on the road, but only 16 a contest at home. The D surrendered just 17 points to Seattle a month ago in the same building, which was also the last time the birds lost. I think the magic number for the offense is 20. If Philly can score 20, and I think they can, the defense should be able to get the job done.
Take Philly and the point in this one.