The Eagles beat Washington, 49ers beat the Texans and the Vikings lost to Green Bay. That means that the Eagles have officially clinched a playoff birth for the 4th time in 5 seasons and the first time under rookie HC Nick Sirianni.
It's an incredible story. Sirianni took in a team who had 4 wins last season, fired their head coach and traded their former franchise QB. After a 2-5 start, the Eagles are guaranteed to have a winning record and again, are in the playoffs. Sirianni is only the 4th rookie head coach to have a team start 2-5 and then make the playoffs with a winning record in NFL History.
But, this article isn't supposed to about the Eagles miraculous season. Maybe you'll see that after the season is over. I wanted to write about the main question, or at least concern Eagles fans are going to have heading into the playoffs.
Sure, they've won 7 out of their last 9, but who have they played? Garrett Gilbert? Mike Glennon/Jake Fromm? Taylor Heinicke? Zach Wilson?
I personally think this is a completely mute point and let me explain why.
First, you play who is on the schedule. You can't get mad at the Eagles for ripping off this win streak... they handled business(besides NY away) and won the games they needed to win. Sure, it was too close for comfort sometimes, but they won the game and that is all they needed to do.
That brings me into my next point, which is simply that I don't think people understand how hard it is to win in the NFL nowadays. I'm not making excuses for these slow starts or mostly mediocre performances, but if you've been watching the NFL this season you know how much parity there has been.
The Jets just took the Buccaneers to the wire two weeks after getting shut out by the Saints at home. That same Tampa team lost to Washington earlier this season. The Texans beat the Chargers last week. The Lions beat the Cardinals two weeks ago. Don't believe in those teams? It took the Packers a full game to beat the Ravens without Lamar Jackson. Same with the Rams. No teams in the NFL had clinched anything until later then any season in NFL history. I could go on and on but I think most people have realized this.
This season has been weird, and no matter who you are, if you can rip off a winning streak like the Eagles have this season you have to receive some praise. Especially when you have a rookie coach and essentially a rookie QB. Not to mention a lot of your skill players are young and inexperienced.
I'm not delusional. The Eagles will be a heavy underdog against any team they have to play in the first round. But is it impossible? With this team, definitely not. Even more important then that is the experience these young guys are going to get, making it into the playoffs so early into their careers.
The Eagles stuck in it all season, They bought into Sirianni's message even after a 2-5 start. That alone shows to me that they deserve to at least have a chance in the playoffs. You don't just luck into the league's best rushing attack after not rushing at all in the beginning of the season. Argue all you want about how the Eagles would have fared with a different schedule.
It really doesn't matter. At this point in the season, a win is a win, no matter how tough they may come. If you beat Washington by 4 or 40, you still are in the playoffs regardless. It's tough to win in the NFL, and the Eagles did that 9 times on the way to a playoff appearance.