Nick Foles and the Eagles pulled off the unimaginable Sunday night, grounding the high flying Los Angeles Rams. While making the playoffs is still a long-shot, fans may have seen enough to start believing again. If only the Eagles were able to hold on to leads late in games early in the season the way they were against the Rams. The team will need all the right pieces to fall into place for them to make an appearance in the playoffs.
It begins with a win against the Texans. Philadelphia will need to win their two remaining games to give themselves a shot. Fortunately for the Birds, Houston has shown some cracks in their armour, needing a fourth quarter comeback from Deshaun Watson to beat a middling New York Jets team. The Eagles’ secondary will be pressured all night long against a potent Houston passing attack. It is a good sign that Jim Schwartz and his front seven were finally able to look like their formidable selves against a stalwart Rams’ offensive line.
They will then travel to Washington to face the Redskins for the second time in four weeks. The ‘Skins have shown some teeth with Josh Johnson at quarterback and will not roll over for the Eagles. No result is granted in the NFC East.
If they are to secure a victory in both of the next two weeks, their playoff hopes are made relatively simple. They will simply have to cross their fingers and hope that the Vikings lose one of their two remaining games. They play the Lions in Detroit next week and welcome the Chicago Bears in Week 17. It is definitely plausible that the Bears are able to squash the Vikings playoff hopes. Their last match up, however, was a 25-20 win for the Bears and by no means a domination. It is less likely that the struggling Detroit Lions are able to pull one out against a Vikings team with a full head of steam after laying a shellacking on the Miami Dolphins.
The Panthers are still technically alive, but will need to beat the New Orleans Saints twice to remain in the race, as well as counting on some other teams to lose. They will also need a win against an Atlanta Falcons team that, despite their record, are every bit as dangerous as years past. They can’t be counted out, but they have the hardest route to the playoffs of any NFC team still in the hunt.
Philly could secure the 5-seed if the Seattle Seahawks lose to both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Arizona Cardinals. This includes the Vikings dropping one of their final upcoming contests. Seattle losses also help the Eagles in the event of two Vikings victories. The Vikings losing to the Bears seems a more likely scenario than the Seahawks losing to the Cardinals, but the Seahawks looked shaky against a re-surging San Francisco 49ers.
There is still a possibility that the Eagles could still secure top spot in the NFC East. For that to happen, the Cowboys would have to lose to both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Giants. The Boys were shut out against the Indianapolis Colts, something that would have been a catalyst for an Eagles playoff run had they been able to beat Dallas in overtime last week. Nevertheless, it is all for nought if the Eagles are not able to beat the Texans at home.
The Eagles offence has finally started to look like themselves, thanks in no small part to Alshon Jeffery who registered 8 catches for 160 yards against the Rams. Just as any writer should, I will pat myself on the back for my previous article calling for the Eagles to get the big man more involved.
Left out in the cold since Eagles traded for Golden Tate, it’s time for Alshon Jeffery to rise
It seems to be all coming together at the right time for the most talented team in the NFC East, but the question of whether it is too little too late will be looming on the minds of many. Despite the many hiccups had this season, the Eagles are fortunate to have their destiny in their own hands and will have to make a strong statement against an imposing Houston Texans team. There is still hope, Eagles fans.
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports