Before last year’s dominating run to a Super Bowl victory, the previous three playoff appearances for the Eagles ended in wild card losses.
This Sunday against the Chicago Bears will be the first time the Eagles have played in the Wild Card round since the 2013 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
While the 2018 Eagles will be a six seed this time around instead of the three-seed, this team is far closer to last year’s Super Bowl champions than those past Eagles teams that couldn’t get out of the first round.
Although two of the three wild card appearances (2010 and 2013) were home games as a result of the Eagles winning the NFC East, none of those teams seemed like they were capable of pulling off what the 2017 Eagles did.
All three of those teams in 2009, 2010, and 2013 had dangerous offensive firepower, but those teams had patch-work defenses that didn’t give the Eagles a real shot at making deep runs into January.
Those defenses had a few really good players but the majority of the units lacked talent. Especially in the secondary.
As a result, Andy Reid and Howie Roseman tried to create the 2011 “Dream Team”, spending big in free agency on defensive players like Nnamdi Asomugha and Cullen Jenkins, while trading for another talented corner in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Chip Kelly did the same thing in 2015 blowing up the core and spending big on Byron Maxwell, DeMarco Murray, trading LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso.
Both regimes tried to turn what were clearly limited playoff teams into title contenders.
That isn’t this 2018 Philadelphia Eagles. They may have to win four road games to repeat as Super Bowl champions, but their roster is much more prepared to make a run.
None of those previous teams had Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Chris Long, and Michael Bennett going after the quarterback. Trent Cole and Connor Barwin were good but the Eagles never had four or five players that could consistently get to the quarterback.
Although Nick Foles played in the 2013 playoff game, Foles 2.0 is superior to 2009 McNabb, 2010 Vick, or 2013 Foles.
The offensive weaponry of DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and LeSean McCoy was good but it didn’t have the depth or versatility of this 2018 offense.
The Eagles underperformed in 2018 but the team that has gone 5-1 down the stretch is a far more accurate representation of what this team truly is.
Philadelphia was supposed to be one of the best teams in the league this year and they have finally played like it heading into Chicago.
This isn’t your father’s six-seed.
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