DENVER – The winds can change you quickly in the NFL.
Leaving Empower Field at Mile High on Sunday night, a group of Broncos fans lamented the 30-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles that left Denver at 5-5, pushing the fiery 3-0 start to the season. back to the memory bank.
“If the Eagles can do that to them,” said one, “[coach] Vic Fangio has to go! “
Similar frustrations have been vented in Philadelphia for much of the year, as the Eagles got off to a 2-5 start with first-year head coach Nick Sirianni. But they’ve won two of their last three games, forged an offensive identity in the process, and all of a sudden they have a bit of arrogance. Despite all the trials and headaches over the past 10 weeks, they left only one game in the race for the final NFC wild-card spot on Sunday.
Playoffs? It sounds crazy. But the odds are looking up for the 4-6 Eagles. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Eagles have a 25.4% chance of reaching the playoffs after Sunday’s victory.
Here are three reasons why Philadelphia has a chance.
Completion schedule: The Eagles have the second-easiest closing schedule behind only the Tennessee Titans, according to the FPI. They don’t get on a plane for the remainder of the regular season and play four of their last seven home games. (All four of Philadelphia’s wins have been on the road, it’s true, but it’s more about the quality of the opponent.)
They still have two games left against the New York Giants (3-6) and the Washington Football Team (3-6) and they also play the New York Jets (2-7). And who knows, the regular season finale against the Dallas Cowboys could end up being insignificant for Dallas from a playoff positioning perspective. Either way, there are wins in the last seven games.
Tiebreakers: If the season ended today, the New Orleans Saints (5-4) and Carolina Panthers (5-5) would be the last two wild-card teams in the NFC. The Minnesota Vikings (4-5) and Atlanta Falcons (4-5) are just ahead of the Eagles as bubble teams.
Philadelphia has head-to-head playoffs over the Panthers and Falcons, having beaten both this year. This week’s home game against the Saints is incredible. A win would give them a tiebreaker advantage over three of the teams they are competing with for a postseason berth. The Eagles opened as favorites by 1 1/2 point against New Orleans.
Find your formula: The Eagles have turned to the running game for the past three weeks and are a different team because of that. Leaning on their solid offensive front to pave the way, they have racked up an incredible 626 rushing yards on 125 carries in three games for an average of 42 carries for 209 yards per game.
He has taken pressure off the defense and the 23-year-old quarterback Jalen hurts who, not by chance, is in the midst of his best streak as a professional to date.
As long as they maintain that identity, they should, at the very least, be competitive in all games. That should keep them relevant in the playoff discussion for the rest of the season.