Overreaction Monday: It wasn’t great but the Eagles got it done their way in week 18

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) reacts following an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 22-16. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

It took three tries but the Philadelphia Eagles are NFC East champions. More than that, the entire NFC playoffs run through the city of brotherly love after the Eagles’ 22-16 win over the New York Giants Sunday evening.

As great as celebrating a momentous achievement is, many within the fanbase still have some cause for alarm. The Eagle starters struggled against the Giants practice squad/third stringers and barely made it out with a win on Sunday.

But those same analysts are forgetting some very simple principles that have been around the NFL for decades: style points don’t matter.

History favors the Eagles…

Earning a bye week to get veterans and key players healthy is always the ultimate goal of the regular season. However that is done is irrelevant. In 2008, the Pittsburgh Steelers struggled to pull away from some of the league’s best throughout the season. They won key games by 3, 4, 5, 1, 7, and 4. With over half of their wins coming by one score, Pittsburgh was still able to get a first-round bye which turned into a Super Bowl run.

The Eagles have a history of moving past style points this late in the year. In 2017, after Carson Wentz tore his ACL, the Eagles struggled to beat a bad Giants, Raiders, and Cowboys team. They ended up going 2-1 in those games with a +9-point differential.

Philadelphia didn’t enter the 2017 postseason brimming with confidence. They still found ways to win thanks to key plays and solid coaching. In contrast, other Eagle teams like the ones in 2018, 2013, and 2006 ended the season on high notes but none of the teams got out of the divisional round.

Playing well at the end of the season is nice for morale but it’s rarely a barometer of playoff success. The 2009 Saints won the Super Bowl after losing their final three regular season games.

I am all for panicking when there’s no reason to but thinking the Eagles are doomed in the postseason is highly misguided when there are mountains of evidence detailing that’s just not the case.

The key was always to win the division and get the NFC’s top seed. The Eagles accomplished that goal on Sunday. However it was done is irrelevant.

It’s time to celebrate for this week alone.

AP Photo/Chris Szagola