The Philadelphia Eagles are no strangers to being underdogs when the playoffs roll around and not many will be expecting Philly to go all the way this time. That’s just what happened back in 2018 as Doug Pederson’s side defied the odds to not only reach Super Bowl LII but beat Tom Brady’s New England Patriots 41-33 in the showpiece event in Minneapolis. With Nick Sirianni looking to write his own name into Philadelphia’s history, the new head coach will be more than happy if his current Eagles side fly under the radar for the play-offs this season.
Underdog Tag Suits Philly
As it showed back in 2018, the Eagles are a team that seems to be motivated by being written off by those around them. Philadelphia is 41.0 to win the Super Bowl this season in the NFL betting UK odds, with many teams preferred to the NFC East franchise to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy this year. In their Super Bowl-winning season, the Eagles were forced to cope with a host of setbacks, none more than the loss of their starting quarterback Carson Wentz to a serious knee injury. With Wentz out of the picture, it was up to experienced quarterback Nick Foles to fill the void, and of course, he did just that, as he stood up to the pressure and guided the Eagles to a first Super Bowl title.
This season, Sirianni’s side is looking to write their own history and has also had to overcome their own struggles. A disappointing and rare defeat at the hands of rivals the New York Giants back at the end of November seems to have been a defining result. The loss in the Big Apple seems to have signified the end of the Eagles’ play-off hopes. But instead, it was a much-needed wake-up call. Philadelphia went on to win their following four games, beating the New York Jets, Washington twice and gaining revenge against the Giants with an emphatic 34-10 win at Lincoln Financial Field.
New Stars Rising at the Lincs
With a play-off place secured thanks to a 20-16 win over divisional rivals Washington, Philadelphia has no expectations and nothing to lose going into the postseason. That should suit the team’s rising stars as they step into the unknown territory of the play-offs. While this is not technically a rookie season for quarterback Jalen Hurts, it still feels like one for the talented Texan. An understudy to Wentz last season, Hurts is now the main man at The Lincs and has established himself as a key figure at the franchise. With 16 touchdown passes and 10 rushing touchdowns in his first 15 games, Hurts has shown he’s a real threat through the air and on the ground.
Wide receiver DeVonta Smith is in his rookie year and the 23-year-old has been a useful weapon in the Eagles’ offense. After 16 games Smith recorded the most touchdowns with five, while he earned the highest receiving yards with 875. The combination of Hurts and Smith is one that is still maturing and should be an exciting partnership in Philadelphia for seasons to come.
With other teams holding big expectations on their shoulders, the Eagles can go out and express themselves in this season’s play-offs. Who knows where it might take them?