Postseason Expectations

Posted: January 17th, 2023 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Postseason Expectations

Heading into the 2022 season, the Eagles were looked at as a contender. They had talent, but some concerns as well. There were two major questions. How would Jalen Hurts play? Could the defense take a big step forward?

Both questions got very positive answers. Hurts was in the running for MVP up until his late season injury. The defense finished second in the league in yards allowed and almost broke the NFL record for sacks. Those answers helped the Eagles go 14-3 and earn the top seed in the NFC.

The big question now is whether the Eagles will win the Super Bowl.

Another good question is what should be expected of the Eagles? Lombardi or bust?

A key for me is that the Eagles didn’t sell out to win this year. They didn’t trade picks to acquire a QB. They didn’t pay any free agent an insane contract. There wasn’t an “all in, must win” kind of mentality.

Howie Roseman certainly made big moves, but he did so with the present and future in mind. The top free agent addition was Haason Reddick, a player in the prime of his career. Howie’s big trade was for AJ Brown, a player in the prime of his career. This team was built to be good for several years.

Howie does love his veterans. He brought back Fletcher Cox. He signed James Bradberry when he hit the market. Howie added veteran DL Robert Quinn, Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh during the season. Cox wasn’t cheap. The others came at reasonable cost so they were smart additions. This wasn’t loading up on big names for the sake of it. The players fit the Eagles needs and budget.

I don’t think the Eagles expected to go 14-3 and have the kind of season they did, but once they were in the middle of it, they had to change their approach a little. The NFC isn’t a gauntlet of great teams this year. The Eagles needed to take advantage of the way things were playing out. Instead of building to be a contender, the Eagles were a contender.

The Eagles reached the Super Bowl twice in the first 39 years of its existence. If they get there this year, it would be the second trip in six seasons.

While the Eagles are going to do everything they can to win the Super Bowl, I don’t think fans should see the season as a failure if they fall short. The biggest takeaway from 2022 is the emergence of Jalen Hurts. The Eagles have a franchise QB. That means they can stay relevant for the next several years. If you have a good coach and QB, you have a chance.

I’m not putting Hurts and Nick Sirianni into the Andy Reid/Patrick Mahomes or Sean McDermott/Josh Allen category yet. They haven’t even been together two full seasons. Still, they should make the Eagles feel good about the future. Sirianni is an outstanding young coach and Hurts had a great season. The present is pretty darn good and the future is very promising.

The Eagles should beat the Giants this weekend. That said, there are no guarantees in the NFL, especially in the postseason. The Giants pulled off massive upsets in Super Bowl wins over the Bills and Patriots. That organization knows anything is possible. A loss to the Giants would be a bitter end to a great season. That would leave everyone with a tremendous sense of disappointment.

A loss in the NFC Championship game or Super Bowl would be heartbreaking and disappointing, but making it to those games would be something to be proud of even with a loss. Look at the division rivals. Washington hasn’t played in the NFC title game since 1991, Dallas since 1995 and the Giants since 2011. Just getting there isn’t easy.

Of course some context is needed. If the Eagles blew a big lead in the NFC title game or Super Bowl, that would make the offseason agonizingly miserable. I don’t know how Falcons deal with 28-3. That might break my spirit and turn me into a curling fan or giving up on sports altogether. Pottery might be an interesting hobby.

The other potential nightmare would be losing to Dallas in the NFC title game. That also would make the offseason seem like a chapter from Dante’s Inferno. Losing to Dallas in the 1992, 1995 and 2009 playoffs was bad. But it wasn’t the title game. You also didn’t have social media like we do now. That would be so much worse.

The good news is that the Eagles have the pieces in place to go win it all this year. They don’t need luck. They don’t need the ball to bounce their way. This is an outstanding team that went 14-1 with Hurts as the starting QB. That doesn’t guarantee postseason success, but as we saw on Monday night, records do mean something. The 8-9 Bucs got blown out by the 12-5 Cowboys. Tampa just wasn’t a very good team.

Andy Reid got the Eagles to the playoffs in Year 2. They reached the NFC title game the next season. They reached the Super Bowl in Year 6. Doug Pederson got the Eagles to the playoffs in Year 2 and won it all.

Nick Sirianni got the team to the postseason in his first year as coach. He had the Eagles as the best team in the league in Year 2. He is off to a phenomenal start. It will be interesting to see how he does this postseason. Last year the 9-8 Eagles got blown out by the 13-4 Bucs. The Eagles are the big boys this time around. They have the loaded roster and a season of success to show how good they are.

The Eagles have been at their best in big games this year. That’s due to a combination of good coaching and talented players. I’m excited to see what they do the rest of the way.


Back to the Giants for a minute.

This will be the third meeting between the teams, but all of them will be very different.

They played in the first game, with both teams fairly healthy. The Eagles dominated that game, winning 48-22.

In the rematch, the Giants sat their starters and the Eagles used a vanilla gameplan. The Eagles jumped out to a 19-0 lead before letting the Giants cut it close late in the game.

Now you will have the starters back on the field. Daniel Jones is coming off the best game of his career and his confidence will be sky high. The other X-factor is that Wink Martindale is mixing things up with his defense, blitzing less and playing more zone. Dallas Goedert didn’t play in the first meeting and he could be a huge factor. The Giants struggle to stop TEs. That’s one more weapon for Hurts.

There is also the fact this is a playoff game. Win or go home. There won’t be any hiding plays for the future. Both teams will be aggressive and creative.

This might be the third meeting between the Eagles and Giants, but it will be different than the first two.


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