Since claiming the Philadelphia Eagles’ top quarterback position, Nick Foles has been on a tear through the NFL. If not for a guy named Peyton Manning, Foles would likely be making a strong case as the NFL’s MVP, but for now, the Eagles will settle for a playoff berth.
The Eagles have now won their last four games under Foles’, but that alone won’t be enough for the Eagles to win their way into the postseason. Foles, who has catapulted the Eagles’ offense back into the spotlight, may be the driving force behind the Eagles’ success of late, but he’s not the only reason the Eagles are suddenly contending for a playoff position in the crowded NFC.
The Eagles’ most recent game, a 24-21 victory over the Cardinals, was the first time the Eagles were successful against a quality opponent. Outside of that win, the Eagles’ best looking win had come against the New York Giants.
Because the Eagles haven’t seen many quality opponents, it’s not unfair to question their ability to get the job done in big games. Nick Foles, who has now thrown 19 touchdowns and no interceptions, may be efficient against cupcake opponents, but he’s yet to succeed against the NFL’s best teams.
Against Arizona, the Eagles nearly gave away a big lead, and that’s the kind of faulty play that lends itself to doubting the legitimacy of the Eagles. Fortunately, the Eagles will finally see their share of noteworthy opponents in the closing weeks of the season. The Detroit Lions, who are now the favorites to win the NFC North, will be visiting the Eagles this weekend, and in week 17, the Eagles will be in Dallas for what could shape up as a winner-take-all affair. The Eagles’ week 16 matchup against the Bears could be equally as noteworthy. In far fewer words, the Eagles will be tested in the coming weeks.
In their losses this season, the Eagles’ primary problem has been an inability to put points on the board. When the Eagles have scored at least 21 points, Philadelphia is a stellar 7-1. That doesn’t mean the Eagles can’t win without putting up big scores, but to this point, their offense has been the unit that wins or loses football games.
Ultimately, a team needs a good offense, and at least a serviceable defense to make a deep playoff run, and although the Eagles’ offense looks fully capable, we simply don’t have a large enough sample size against playoff caliber opponents to definitively say the Eagles are a Super Bowl contender.
If the season ended today, the Eagles would be the first team left out of the playoff mix. Although they haven’t seen many quality teams to this point, they’re about to be tested by three teams that are all in the postseason mix. If the Eagles are able to sneak into the playoffs, there will be little doubt that they are a dangerous team. If, however, they’re unable to break into the postseason, we’ll have a definitive answer the other direction.
So, are the Eagles a Super Bowl contender? We’ll have our answer by the end of the regular season.