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Big Question: Can The Eagles Win In The Playoffs?

Posted Dec 30, 2017

Dave Spadaro: They are planning on playing some starters, for sure, and quarterback Nick Foles says he is preparing to play the entire game. We’ll see about that …

There are only 53 players on the roster so it’s very difficult to rest every starter, so let’s make sure to understand that. But the veterans in the locker room this week say they embrace the idea of playing on Sunday and are preparing to do so. It’s a chance to get some more timing in with Foles and the offense, but it’s also a risk. Injuries at this time of the season are crippling.

So it is looking like this: Foles will play with the starters against Dallas. How long, we don’t know. Then it’s playoff mode and preparing for January 13-14.

Chris McPherson: Doug Pederson has pushed the right buttons all year with this team and I'll trust him more than ever now with regard as to how handle the team going into the postseason. He's played and coached on playoff teams in the past. He knows what he needs to do to have the players operating at a peak performance level. There is a risk-reward that has to be factored in here. However, Pederson has treated this week as a normal one and I think that's helped keep the focus on Dallas this week and not looking ahead to the playoffs. Quite honestly, I know what Foles and this offense can do and I believe that the unit can be and will be successful when the season is on the line in two weeks.

Fran Duffy: I’m going to be honest, and maybe this is just taking the easy way out, but while I do want to see the team play well, and we’ll all be excited if they do this week against Dallas, I’m not going to be heartbroken if they don’t. It’s important to look good heading into the postseason, and the team can set the franchise record for wins in a regular season with a victory over Dallas, but I’m concerned about how the team looks in two weeks for the Divisional Round playoff game.

Back in 2014, the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots lost 17-9 to the Buffalo Bills in the final week of the season. The 2012 champion Baltimore Ravens lost their finale to the Cincinnati Bengals. The 2009 New Orleans Saints started the season 13-0 and lost their final THREE games before going on to win the big game. That’s just from the last eight seasons! Obviously, the story is a little bit different for this team with the change at quarterback, but I’m not going to let my feathers get ruffled if the Eagles lose on Sunday afternoon to Dallas, as good as it will feel to close the regular season out with a W.

Dave Spadaro: So you’re saying that 13-2 hasn’t inspired confidence, that it’s all going to come down to this game to determine if the fans have confidence for the playoffs? Look, I understand the feeling after Monday’s struggle against Oakland, but please. It was only one game. The Eagles were not good on offense. They acknowledge that they have a lot of work to do.

But to overlook how this team has won all season, and what it has had to overcome to reach 13-2, is selling the Eagles short. Foles is the quarterback, not Carson Wentz. Foles has to play outstanding football and he knows it. He’s been around the league for six seasons, he’s won big games and he’s been in the playoffs.

No matter what happens on Sunday, you should have confidence going into the playoffs. The Eagles have found ways to win all season. That’s going to continue in January.

Chris McPherson: I would love to rout Dallas and end the season with the franchise record for regular-season wins. And sure, it would be great if Foles throws four touchdown passes in the first quarter before heading to the sideline. But offensive coordinator Frank Reich's quote this week about the team's resilience and ability to pull out tough wins was heartfelt and inspiring. And this was coming from someone who has played in the Super Bowl. This has been a magical run and a truly one-of-a-kind season that I don't see ending anytime soon.

Dave Spadaro: Being strong on both sides of the ball at the line of scrimmage is, to me, as strong a statement as the Eagles can make about winning in the playoffs. If you win at the line of scrimmage, you generally win games. And the Eagles will be rested and hopefully as healthy as possible for the playoffs. Teams have to come through Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles are 7-0 this season. The fans are going to be going crazy.

The Eagles have a balanced offense that, save for Monday’s win over Oakland, has been outstanding this season. The defense can dominate. The Eagles are going to be rested.

These aren’t going to be blowout games, so brace yourselves for tough, playoff football. The Eagles have great chemistry and confidence going into the postseason. First, though, Sunday is all about beating Dallas and then head coach Doug Pederson will give his players some rest. Anything can happen in the playoffs. A team that has been selfless all season has to play that way in the playoffs and also be disciplined and physical and confident.

The Eagles are all of that so, yes, they are good enough to win in the playoffs.

Fran Duffy: I do think this team is good enough to win in the playoffs. Are they as dangerous as they were with Carson Wentz? Of course not. That being said, they still have one of the best run games in football (136.3 yards per game ranks second), have a defense that can stop the run (best in the NFL allowing just 75.9 yards per game), and take the football away (30 takeaways ranks third) without giving up big chunk plays down the field (only 37 pass plays of over 20 yards allowed ranks fifth). Those are the kinds of numbers that win in the playoffs. Does Nick Foles need to play more like he did in New York than how he did last week against Oakland? Absolutely, and I think he will, but even if he’s somewhere in between I think this team is geared up for a run.

Chris McPherson: Entering December, fans were concerned that the team hadn't faced enough adversity. Even after losing Jordan Hicks, Chris Maragos, Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, and Caleb Sturgis, the Eagles were still taking teams to the woodshed. The team is now winning ugly and the worry is that it won't be able to win in the postseason. My biggest takeaway from Monday night's game was that Foles and the offense struggled mightily and the Eagles still won. The team should be healthy and rested going into the playoffs. I just want to see who the Eagles will face and game plan from there. In two weeks, the Eagles need to win three straight games and right now they have the longest win streak in the league. Foles is 2-0 as a starter this year and that doesn't include the come-from-behind performance in the fourth quarter in Los Angeles against the NFC West champion Rams.

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