Five questions facing the Eagles as they prepare for life in the postseason


The playoffs are on the horizon for the Philadelphia Eagles and after a disappointing end to the season, the team are still rewarded for their hard-fought year with a first-round bye. There is plenty to be answered between now and then however…


Is Nick Foles ready to lead this team to glory?
After throwing four touchdown passes against the New York Giants, Foles has been anything but impressive in each of his last two outings. A poorly judged interception against Dallas followed a complete offensive stagnation against Oakland. Foles has not lost confidence in himself and the team also fully believe in him. But the question is, can Foles shine as he did against New York against defense who will not be anywhere near as forgiving?


What happens to Sidney Jones?
The Eagles activated their coveted second round pick for week 17’s clash with Dallas and all seemed to be going well. Although he didn’t see much in the way of air-traffic, Jones held his own outside of being burned on a double move. The rookie then left the game with cramping and now leaves the Eagles in an interesting predicament. Activated throughout the remainder of the postseason, Jones will now serve as some extra depth in a secondary that has shown signs of depleting, as well as benefiting from the extra practice reps. But could the Birds rely on him when the playoffs roll around?

If Ronald Darby were to go down or Jalen Mills was still hampered by an injury, could the Eagles trust Jones to step in and swim to safety? Will he even be on the game-day roster during the playoffs? The fate of Sidney Jones is up in the air, for this season at least…but it wouldn’t be surprising to see his name as a healthy scratch when the Eagles come back off their first-round bye.


Will a lack of momentum hurt in the long run?
The Eagles ended the regular season campaign with an alarming win over Oakland and a shutout loss to Dallas. Foles may have only been in for a quarter on Sunday, but the Eagles haven’t exactly ended as explosively as they started without Carson Wentz. The problem is now that the Eagles have a first round bye. A week away, or at least three days off of practice before a return to action leaves the Birds with a lack of intensity heading into a game against a team who will be thriving on confidence, regardless of who wins. While Pederson has vowed to pick up the intensity in practice, it will be interesting to see if the Eagles come out firing on all cylinders as they did against New York, or struggle to move the chains as they have in the last few weeks.


How severe is the penalty problem?
The Eagles have stung themselves at the worst times over the last few weeks. Penalties have chained the offense back to long third downs and their conversion percentage has dipped to just 23% in the last three weeks. Since the Carson Wentz injury, here is a breakdown of the amount of penalties suffered by the Birds.

Week 17: 7
Week 16: 8
Week 15: 7
Week 14: 10

If the Eagles are to give Foles and a stuttering offense a chance in the playoffs, the errors with blocks in the back and holding simply have to be erased, just as they were when the season began.


Can they handle coaching carousel adversity?
Success brings attention. The Eagles have several viable candidates for various coaching roles across the league, with Jim Schwartz and John DeFilippo both being head hunted by Arizona, while Schwartz will reportedly interview for the Giants head Coaching positions. The Birds will have to be aware of the situation and suitably prepared to have a contingency plan should they lose any of their tremendous staff, but the impact on players could be just as hurtful. Seeing constant reports and rumors could well dent confidence or cause a sense of uncertainty in the locker room and it will be down to the Birds to find a way to maintain a level head throughout the room.


Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports