Every year around playoff time, there’s always at least one team labeled as ‘the team no one wants to face.’ This season, that moniker has been handed to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The reasons for this mantra are pretty straight forward. The Eagles have won six out of their last seven games and their brand of football travels well in the postseason. Ball control offense that has big play capability and can run the ball against anyone, along with a physical defensive unit that’s allowing under four yards per carry and has averaged one takeaway per game since Week 10.
While all of this reigns true, it’s fair to point out some of the glaring shortcomings of this team. First and foremost, they’ll be at a disadvantage in any quarterback matchup in the postseason. Jalen Hurts has had an impressive season, but he hasn’t been the driving force behind the Eagles playoff push.
Hurts is completing just over 60% of his passes this season and he’s averaging just under 200 passing yards per game. If you look across the board statistically, the weakness of this team is even more clear:
- Total rush defense: 1,663 (7th)
- Yards per carry allowed: 3.9 (3rd)
- Total pass defense: 3,452 (11th)
- Net yards gained per pass attempt allowed: 5.9 (9th)
- Total rush offense: 2,566 (1st)
- Yards per carry: 5.0 (2nd)
- Total pass offense: 3,238 (22nd)
- Net yards gained per pass attempt: 6.6 (13th)
Regardless, if the Eagles play their brand of football in the postseason, Hurts won’t hold this team back. The entire reason they’re at this point is because they haven’t given Hurts many opportunities to lose ball games.
The Eagles rushing attack is so dynamic that it can legitimately carry the team. Not only are they able to run zone read concepts with Hurts to massive success, Nick Sirianni feels just as comfortable lining up in 13 personnel and running it down a defense’s throat. No team has been able to slow it down in the slightest, and the Eagles have faced some of the best run defenses in the league this season.
In Week 11 against a New Orleans defense that was allowing just over three yards per carry heading into the contest, the Eagles ran to the tune of 242 yards, their highest single game total of the year. The Eagles faced four top-10 rushing defenses this year, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, and Washington twice. In those matchups, the Eagles averaged 169.8 rushing yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry.
That alone gives the Eagles a chance to beat anyone in the postseason. And for those who like to point out how easy the Eagles schedule has been over the latter half of the season, just take a look around the league and see how some of those so-called cupcake matchups went for other teams.
New Orleans shut out Tom Brady and the Bucs 9-0 just a few weeks ago. The New York Jets just gave the Bucs a run for their money last week. The LA Rams got their asses handed to them by San Fran in Week 10, losing by 21 points. A team the Eagles only lost to by five points.
That argument is mute as far as I’m concerned. The Eagles absolutely belong in the playoffs, and they’ve absolutely earned their playoff spoiler title.
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