The one thought that tempers my cheerleading for the Eagles is that the upcoming divisional playoff game is the beginning of the end for this unique group of players and coaches as a unit. They’ve brought us a sensational regular season, but when the playoffs (and the Super Bowl game they are fighting to get into) are over, this gang is going to look a lot different. Assistant coaches are already interviewing for bigger jobs elsewhere. Certain players become free agents and will be gone. A new draft will bring in a bunch of new faces.
We’ll never have this exact same recipe again.
So I root for them to make the best of it.
What lies ahead looks daunting, but it is philly-dilly-do-able. On Saturday, January 13th at 4:35 P.M. EST, the Eagles at home will face the lowest remaining seed after the wild-card round. This coming Saturday at 8:15 P.M., the Falcons will play the Rams in Los Angeles. If the Falcons win, they will play the Eagles the following weekend. If the Rams win, the Eagles will play the winner of the Panthers-Saints game, which will kick off at 4:40 p.m. next Sunday.
No matter how you slice it, we need to feast on Southern cooking in order to advance to the NFC title game.
We have about ten days left to fix the Eagles offense. I still say just about 20 extra degrees of Fahrenheit should restore the touch on Nick Foles’ passing hand. That slightly warmer weather seems to be in the cards for January 13. However, restoring Nick’s downfield vision on his throwing decisions will be an even bigger factor. Holding on to the ball too long or retreating backwards under pressure must be eliminated, or it’s a trip to the Pit of Misery for Nick and the rest of us.
The Eagles defense knows what they have to do.
“It comes down to the little things in the playoffs and you get ready to excel right now with the way you prepare,” defensive end Chris Long said. “That’s the benefit of having the bye week. We have more time to prepare. Then we need to go out and play our best football. That’s what it really comes down to. We have the pieces here to be a great defense and at times this season we’ve played at that level.
“We want to put it all together in the playoffs. This is when it counts.”
The Eagles will face Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, or Drew Brees in the first round of the playoffs. Pick your poison. Either one of those guys can get hot and light it up on even the best defenses in the league. When they’re on, they challenge opposing offenses to outscore them. Even with a solid Eagles defensive game plan, the NFC South representative is going to get his points on offense. The Eagles offense simply has to be ready to answer. 9 punts and 3 field goals isn’t going to cut it. That kind of offense must be sent to the Pit of Misery.