As the calendar flips to 2019, the Philadelphia Eagles discover themselves in an identical place to the place they have been a yr in the past this time: enjoying the position of underdogs.
The trail that led again so far is each acquainted (Nick Foles is as soon as once more filling in for Carson Wentz) and totally different (they’re the sixth seed somewhat than the prime seed in the NFC) in comparison with the one that led them to the postseason, and ultimately a Tremendous Bowl, a yr in the past.
But identical to in 2018, when the Birds performed all of their video games as underdogs regardless of having home-field benefit, Doug Pederson’s group will as soon as once more be trying to upset their competitors. After opening as 5.5-point canine towards the NFC North champion Chicago Bears, the line has grown to 6 factors in response to OddsShark.
Moreover, the Eagles, who snuck into the playoffs in the last hours of the common season, have the worst odds of profitable the Tremendous Bowl.
Up to date odds to win Tremendous Bowl LIII (@BovadaOfficial):
— OddsShark (@OddsShark) December 31, 2018
And in response to ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index, the Eagles have only a Zero.5 % probability of repeating as champions, whereas the Saints, their opponents ought to they knock off the Bears on Sunday, have a 30 % probability of profitable all of it.
Final yr, that did not appear to matter, as Jason Kelce so fortunately reminded the world throughout the championship parade. I do know ski masks are all the rage this season, but it may be time to mud off these canine masks, Philly.
This is a take a look at the newest version of what they’re saying about the Eagles as they head into the playoffs and proceed their quest for a second straight title…
No one likes us…
Mike Sando | ESPN+
Whereas he hardly invented the music under, Eagles middle Jason Kelce took possession of it for at the least a day final February as the Birds’ parade wound by means of the streets of Philadelphia.[Warning: Incorporates NSFW language.]
And it is perhaps applicable for this yr, too, based mostly on what the nationwide media is anticipating from the Birds this postseason. Over at ESPN, they had a handful of specialists rank the present playoff groups from 1 to 12.
Any guesses the place the Eagles ranked?
Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson might have been chatting with all 12 NFL playoff groups Sunday night time.
“Always get in the tournament — always get in, and see what happens,” Pederson informed Eagles gamers after Philly clinched the NFC’s sixth seed.
With postseason seeding set, six NFL coaches and evaluators ranked the subject of playoff groups 1 by means of 12. I’ve molded their votes right into a composite order and peppered the remaining rating with their insights…
12) What could possibly be higher for the Eagles than sneaking into the playoffs with Nick Foles behind middle (ribs allowing) and a bunch of league insiders rating them final in the area? Incomes a first-round bye with Carson Wentz can be a lot better, clearly. But, like Pederson was saying, simply get into the event. The Eagles have achieved that, and now they’ll face one other group recognized for its offensive trickery.
”You thought Halloween was in October, but that is trick or f—ing deal with between Pederson and [Matt] Nagy,” a veteran evaluator stated. “It’s two teams with quarterbacks who at times play at backup levels. Which misdirection screen, throwback pass or throw to the quarterback is going to be the difference?”
An evaluator thought the Eagles missed their 2017 offensive coordinator [Reich] and quarterbacks coach [John DeFilippo]. But the Eagles are Four-1 with Foles in the lineup this season. That features a 30-23 street victory over the Rams and a 32-30 residence victory over Houston in the previous three weeks.
”Their operating recreation shouldn’t be what it was and the secondary is just a little scary, but their protection is sweet and their entrance 4 may be dominant,” an evaluator stated. [ESPN.com]
… we don’t care.
Tim McManus | ESPN
Eagles security Malcolm Jenkins, nevertheless, does not agree with the nationwide pundits. He and the Birds have each intention of creating some noise in the playoffs.
“We ain’t sneaking in, we’re kicking the m—–f—— door down,” security Malcolm Jenkins stated as he gathered his teammates round him. “We’re in this party. Nobody wanted us in, but guess what, they’ve got to deal with us now, man.”
When Jenkins was done breaking down the team, the music was turned up to 11, and it came screaming out behind coach Doug Pederson as he opened the training-room door to greet his wife, Jeannie, with a kiss before heading back to the ruckus. His duties weren’t through just yet.
“When you get in, all bets are off,” Jenkins said. “Clearly, the two occasions I have been a part of a championship staff, we have had a first-round bye. That helps once you’ve solely obtained to win two video games. But we have seen all of it the time the place guys battle and scrap to get in, find yourself in the wild card and by some means simply battle their method via. For us, it is the lengthy, onerous approach, but in the event you’re saying it is an opportunity, then we’ll be there.” [espn.com]
Convey it on
Andrew Kulp | NBC Sports activities Philadelphia
As for the Bears, they’re not too apprehensive about the Eagles. The truth is, they might’ve prevented dealing with the Birds by resting their starters in Week 17 and permitting the Vikings to beat them, which might’ve arrange a rematch between the two NFC North foes this weekend.
As an alternative, they remained one of the hottest — if not the hottest — staff in soccer, which incorporates the Birds. And they’re able to face the defending champs.
Oh, the Eagles are harmful. They’re reigning Tremendous Bowl champions, victorious in three straight video games and 4 of their final 5. No doubt, they’re enjoying by far their greatest soccer all season. Nonetheless, the concept that is abruptly the scariest staff in the event is a bit of farfetched.
You already know who undoubtedly isn’t afraid of the Eagles? Sunday’s opponent, the Bears. You recognize who’s hotter than the Eagles proper now? Additionally the Bears, house owners of a 12-Four document and winners of 9 of their final 10 video games…
“I don’t care who it is,” Charles Leno Jr. informed reporters Sunday. “We’ve been through so much already this season. We’ve been battle-tested. It doesn’t matter who comes to Soldier Field. We’re ready to play ’em. Just let us know what day it is and we’ll be there.” [nbcsports.com]
A bit of extra magic?
Robert Mays | The Ringer
A couple of weeks in the past, I tweeted the following…
Centuries from now, analysts will nonetheless be making an attempt to determine Nick Foles.
— Matt Mullin (@matt_mullin) December 17, 2018
If he can pull off the unbelievable this time round — and lead the Eagles to their second title in as a few years — students might by no means determine this factor out. But he cannot do it once more, proper?
1. Is the Nick Foles magic actual, and the way far can it carry the Eagles?
Philadelphia’s charmed late-season existence continued on Sunday as the group’s 24-Zero win over Washington, mixed with the Bears’ victory towards the Vikings, secured the defending champions the no. 6 seed in the NFC. Foles needed to depart the recreation late due to a rib damage, but all indications are that he’ll be set to go towards Chicago on Sunday afternoon. And for Eagles followers, that’s good news. …
If the Eagles are going to knock off the Bears on the street as the weekend’s largest underdog (the line opened at Bears minus-5.5), they’ll largely depend on the similar stacked models—lots of that are enjoying their greatest soccer of the season proper now—that allowed Philadelphia to beat its rash of accidents final yr en path to the title. All-Professional tackles Jason Peters and Lane Johnson have each missed time with accidents this season, but every is again in the lineup and prepared for the playoffs. Together with Jason Kelce (who’s having fun with one other implausible yr as maybe the league’s greatest middle), Philly’s line is ready to management video games each on the floor and in move safety—Washington’s entrance 4 was utterly at their mercy on Sunday. The identical goes for the different aspect of the ball. Defensive deal with Fletcher Cox was a pressure of nature in Week 17 (he tallied three sacks for a mixed 20 yards misplaced), and even with out injured defensive finish Derek Barnett, the Eagles move rush nonetheless has a deep, gifted bench that may wreck video games for opposing offenses.
Mix all that with Philadelphia’s top-notch teaching employees, and the Eagles get scary in a rush. Over the previous few weeks, head coach Doug Pederson’s offensive employees has as soon as once more proven a exceptional capacity to place Foles in advantageous spots. Final postseason, the Eagles relied closely on play-action and RPOs to offer Foles with straightforward throws. Pederson has used loads of play-action fakes this season, too, and he’s additionally mixing these throws with jet movement and different window dressing that’s made the Eagles passing recreation a ache to defend.
Taking a look at this weekend’s matchup towards Chicago, the Eagles look like in an honest spot. Philly’s most vital weak spot is its depleted and inexperienced secondary, and the Bears aren’t precisely constructed to torch groups down the subject. But even towards groups with extra high-octane passing assaults, the Eagles’ components makes them a think about the NFC playoff race. There could also be a shrine constructed to Foles in the Philly locker room, but it’s the surrounding parts of this Eagles group—lots of the similar ones that lifted them to a Tremendous Bowl title a yr in the past—that would have them making noise in the playoffs but once more. [theringer.com]
So that you’re saying there’s an opportunity?
As a result of if final yr was any indication, that may be all the Eagles want…
Comply with Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin
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