The Eagles Road to the Playoffs

Team overcame its share of adversity throughout the season

Maya Hughes | 1/1/2018, 1:56 p.m.
For the first time since 2013, the Philadelphia Eagles clinched the NFC East title in Week 14 in a 43-35 ...
Philadelphia Eagles' wideout Alshon Jeffery. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

For the first time since 2013, the Philadelphia Eagles clinched the NFC East title in Week 14 in a 43-35 win against the Los Angeles Rams.

However, winning the title was bittersweet as MVP candidate and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz suffered an apparent knee injury while trying to dive for a touchdown late in the third quarter. Wentz did throw a touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery before being ruled out the rest of the game. It was announced the following day that Wentz tore his ACL, officially ending his season and making Nick Foles the starting quarterback for the rest of the season.

A close win against the New York Giants in Week 15 helped the Eagles clinch a first round bye for the first time since 2004. The Eagles would later secure the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and home field advantage with a 19-10 win against the Oakland Raiders in Week 16 on Christmas Day 2017.

The road to the playoffs for the Eagles came with its share of adversity throughout the season.

The team lost key players on offense, defense, and special teams. They also added key pieces in the offseason, the preseason, and even the regular season.

Picked to finish near the bottom of the NFC East prior to the season, the Eagles won nine straight games to take the lead in the division and have won three of the last four games in the critical month of December to secure the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. They are 7-0 at home, with five of those wins coming in double digits. The Eagles won’t have to play another true road game this season.

The odds are in the Eagles favor historically. Since the 1990 format expansion, there have been 54 No. 1 seeds. Twenty-eight have made it to the Super Bowl (52 percent success rate), and 13 have won it (24 percent).

While there are plenty of things to work on between now and the start of the playoffs, the Eagles have maintained a winner’s mentality and understand that if one group is struggling another unit will be there to pick up the slack. They will need to keep that up in order to carry over the success they had so far into the postseason.

Other NFC Teams in Contention:

The Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North division title in Week 14 and a first–round bye in Week 17. With the second seed behind the Eagles, the Vikings can be a force in the playoffs behind their defense and quarterback Case Keenum. The Vikings could also have an opportunity to be the first team to ever play a Super Bowl on their home field.

The Los Angeles Rams clinched the NFC West division title in Week 16. A resurgent Rams team with its 31-year old coach in Sean McVay, running back Todd Gurley, sophomore quarterback in Jared Goff, and a punishing defense will push for its first playoff win since the 2004 season.

The NFC South, 2017’s toughest division, gave fans a season-long war between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers that wasn’t decided until Week 17 concluded. In the end, the Falcons victory over the Panthers not only punched their playoff ticket, but also ensured a division title for New Orleans.

Wild Card Round

AFC byes: New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers

NFC byes: Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings

Saturday, Jan. 6

GAME 1: Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs, 4:35 p.m., ESPN/ABC

GAME 2: Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m., NBC

Sunday, Jan. 7

GAME 3: Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:05 p.m., CBS

GAME 4: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints, 4:40 p.m., FOX

Divisional Round

Saturday, Jan. 13

GAME 5: AFC Divisional, 4:35 p.m., CBS

GAME 6: NFC Divisional, 8:15 p.m., NBC

Sunday, Jan. 14

GAME 7: AFC Divisional, 4:40 p.m., CBS

GAME 8: NFC Divisional, 8:20 p.m., FOX

Championship Round

Sunday, Jan. 21

AFC Championship: Game 5 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 3 p.m., CBS

NFC Championship: Game 6 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 6:30 p.m., FOX

Super Bowl 52 kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.