Four reasons the Philadelphia Eagles will make the playoffs, four reasons they won’t
With six games to go, the Eagles are the ninth seed in the playoff race.
To enter, they must be in the top seven.
In front of them are the 49ers (5-5), who have won three of their last four games, as the Eagles have also.
The seventh seed is the New Orleans Saints (5-5), whom the Eagles just beat 40-29 after holding a 33-7 lead, and the sixth seed is the Minnesota Vikings ( 5-5).
There will be movement this weekend, especially as the Vikings face the 49ers in San Francisco.
The Eagles missed the playoffs last year, ending a three-game playoff streak, one of which, of course, led to a Super Bowl title.
Do they have what it takes to return to the playoffs and in so doing provide a vital playoff experience for a team of young players, such as Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith?
Four reasons the Eagles will make the playoffs:
Offensive line. It always starts there with this team, doesn’t it? This group is quite simply one of the best in the league, if not the best, especially in the racing game. The unit has been healthy and together for the past five weeks and this cohesion has promoted communication and performance.
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Brandon Brooks could eventually return from a pectoral injury, but Jack Driscoll has played well in his absence and rookie Landon Dickerson, while still needing to improve some aspects of his game, has been a physical strength, particularly associated with this monster of nature. , Jordan Mailata.
Jalen hurts. His will to win is clear to see. His progress isn’t as easy to see, but the quarterback has gradually improved over the season.
Identity. They have it. Running the ball is part of it, yes, but their new physique is part of it. Again, the offensive line gets the credit for this, but so does linebaker TJ Edwards who was plugged in in the middle and became a physical presence.
Calendar. When the schedule came out last spring, it was easy to see that those last six games were the ones they could win. Provided, of course, that the Eagles played better in November than in September and October, when the schedule was much more difficult.
Lo and behold, the Eagles have been playing better since leaving Las Vegas at 2-5. They’ve been 3-1 since, and the NFC is wide open. It also helps to have tiebreakers with New Orleans, Carolina and Atlanta.
Four reasons the Eagles won’t make the playoffs:
Inconsistency. It took the Eagles until Week 11 to claim back-to-back wins. This is still a under 0.500 team that needs to be consistent over the last six games to qualify for the tournament. They probably don’t have to win to get in, but they have to go 4-2 as a minimum to get nine wins. It would probably be enough. But this is a relatively young team and inconsistencies can affect young teams.
We’ll see if this young team has grown up over the past four or five months together and is ready to leave behind the inconsistency that stifled them at the start.
San Francisco. The Eagles aren’t the only team to play better. The 49ers too. Philly’s defeat in Week 2 could be haunting as San Fran is also part of the wild mix. So while everyone values a tiebreaker against some teams, not losing 17-11 would have helped immensely.
Injuries. This one is obviously arbitrary as they can strike at any time. The Eagles have so far, for the first time in many years, avoided the big guys. It’s not promising, however, knee injuries to linebacker Davion Taylor and fullback Jordan Howard struck last week and could cost them a few games.
These two players have become big players in defense and attack, respectively. More, and, well … not good.
The schedule. Yes, that doesn’t sound very difficult, but it is very difficult to sweep away opponents who know each other so well, like the Giants and the football team, that the Eagles have to play twice – with a quick deadline. between playing each other gain – during the last six weeks of the season.
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Ed Kracz is SI.com’s Eagle Maven editor and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news on www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles Where www.eaglemaven.com and follow him on Twitter: @kracze.