Coming into 2018, the Philadelphia Eagles were listed as one of the top teams in the NFL and were picked by many to at least represent the NFC in the Super Bowl once again. The city was filled with joy as well as optimism as Carson Wentz was slated to return from his ACL injury. As great as Nick Foles played during the Super Bowl run, there was no doubt that this was Carson Wentz's team and getting him back was supposed to provide a huge boost. Well, at least that's what everyone thought. Sometimes...I mean many times...things don't always go as planned.
One reason that the Eagles 2017 Super Bowl win was so improbable was the injuries that the team sustained and the fact that they were able to overcome those key injuries and win despite the odds. Carson Wentz, Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks, Darren Sproles, and Chris Marigos were all lost for the season. The Eagles executed the next man up mentality to perfection as all of these players were replaced by more than capable backups that got the job done. So in retrospect, if you though 2017 was a doozy, get a load at the 2018 version of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The following Eagles are on IR and have been, or are out for the season: Ronald Darby (CB), Jalen Mills (CB), Rodney McCleod (S), Tim Jernigan (DT), Elie Bouka (DT), Derek Barnett (DE), Josh Sweat (DE), Paul Worilow (LB), Chris Marigos (LB), Mike Wallace (WR), Mack Hollins (WR), Jay Ajayi (RB), Corey Clement (RB), Joshua Perkins (TE), Richard Rogers (TE), Bryce Treggs (WR), Toby Wethersby (OT). That's 17 players on IR which does not count the other key players that missed significant time due to injury: Carson Wentz (QB), Darren Sproles (RB), Alshon Jeffery (WR), Sidney Jones (CB), Rasul Douglas (CB), Stefan Wisnewski (OL), Issac Seumolu (OL), Jason Peters (OL). That's 25 significant injuries which is basically half of the roster.
Injuries are a part of the sport but there is a difference between being plagued by injuries and being decimated by injuries. The fact that the Eagles were even able to make the playoffs is an amazing accomplishment. The fact that they went 9-7 after being left for dead in that embarrassing Saints loss was an even greater feat. The Eagles record stood at 4-6 and nobody had them making the playoffs. In fact, many analysts and fans alike were calling for drastic changes; some people even having foolish ideas of benching Carson Wentz or firing Doug Pederson. Well, Carson Wentz did not get benched, but he did sustain a back injury which brought Nick Foles back into the picture and Foles did not disappoint down the stretch. Foles went 3-0 beating the Rams, Texans, and Redskins to help the Eagles sneak into the playoffs. The Sleeping Giant has awakened. The Eagles are once again the Hungry Dogs of last year.
Get your pop corn ready. Get your dog masks...or ski masks whichever ones you prefer. The Eagles are the team to beat once again. I cannot see any team (including the New England Patriots) wanting to face Nick Foles and the Eagles in this years playoffs. Playoff football is a fresh start and the Eagles are primed to make another long post season run. The Eagles first opponent the Chicago Bears are like the 2017 Los Angeles Rams. They are the young upstart team with a fresh offensive coach, cut from the Andy Reid tree. However; we all know how the 2017 story ended for the Rams. A first round knockout by the Atlanta Falcons. Well the Eagles are this year's Atlanta Falcons. And the Bears are running scared if I could say so.
The Eagles makeshift secondary has grown up in front of our eyes. Avonte Maddox may be the best draft pick the Eagles have made this side of Carson Wentz. Rasul Douglas is once again playing with swagger. C'rEveon LeBlanc is even making big plays. The Eagles do expect Sidney Jones back as well. All of a sudden the unit that was the teams weakest link has become one of its greatest strengths. The Defensive Line has been playing like a unit possessed. Michael Bennett may be the best free agent signing the Eagles have made since Malcom Jenkins. Fletcher Cox had three sacks against the Redskins and is trying to make up for his promise to be the Defensive Player of the Year. The linebackers are healthy and anchored by Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham who both have been swarming the football.
On the other side of the ball, the Eagles are all of a sudden able to score points having put up 25, 28, 23, 30, 32, and 24 respectively after only averaging 15 points a game through ten games. Nick Foles tied the record for NFL consecutive completions with 25 a week after setting the Eagles passing yardage record with 471 yards and 4TD's. Josh Adams is running with purpose. Darren Sproles is the weapon we all knew that we were desperately lacking. Zack Ertz and Alshon Jeffery are on fire. This team never quits. No matter what happened this season, the Eagles were in every game besides the New Orleans Saints game. Six of their seven losses were by six or less points. They lost a few leads very late that could have made them the division champs instead of the Dallas Cowboys. But that's ok...this team is right where it needs to be. The underdogs once again. The team that no one is picking to win the super bowl. This is where the team shines. Nick Foles relishes these moments. Get ready folks...its gonna be one heck of a ride to the finish line.