As we entered the 2013 season, there were a lot of questions surrounding this Eagles team. For the first time in a long time, we had a new head coach. He brought in a style that wasn’t very common around the rest of the league. There were questions about the quarterback position and also about a shaky defense.
The regular season has come to an end. The Eagles sit in a position where many, including myself, did not think they would be. On Saturday night, they will host a Wild Card playoff game as the winners of the NFC East division with a record of 10-6.
So how did we get there? You have to first point the finger at Chip Kelly. I think everyone was excited about this hire, but there was still a lot of uncertainty about how it would work out. How much would the Eagles offense look like the offense at Oregon? What would happen with the defense? Was Billy Davis the right hire as defensive coordinator?
Chip came in and got everyone to buy in to what he was selling. In Week One, the excitement really started. We saw how explosive the offense could be and saw the defense come out to a surprising start. They looked aggressive early and forced turnovers. The second half was a different story but the offense did enough to earn them a win in the national spotlight.
The next three weeks were not as impressive. In a game with the Chargers, the offense played great but the defense couldn’t back it up. They dropped another game to the Chiefs and then got blown out by the Broncos. Reality set in and the questions arose again.
The Eagles got to a 3-5 record at the midpoint of the season and it looked like it was really do or die time. The division was weak so they were far from out of it, but they needed to take their game to a higher level.
Enter Nick Foles. The Raiders game was something else. After we saw Peyton Manning start the NFL season with a seven touchdown outing, Foles did his best impersonation, duplicating the performance. From there, it was no looking back. Foles took the starting job and ran with it. He was backed up by LeSean McCoy setting the franchise record for rushing and all-purpose yards. The defense played a big part in the winning streak, allowing 21 points or less in five straight games.
In the final three contests, the Eagles controlled their own destiny. They dropped an awful game to the Vikings but rebounded strong in a blowout against the Bears. When the schedule was announced and we saw a Week 17 matchup in Dallas, everyone knew that it could potentially be a very meaningful game, and it absolutely was.
So in the last game in the NFL’s regular season, the Eagles and Cowboys met in Dallas for the NFC East crown. This was the epitome of their season and an absolute team effort. They didn’t dominate, but both sides of the football made plays when they had to.
The team now sits in a spot I didn’t think they would be in, and it’s because they’ve truly played like a team. The feeling I get around this team is one that didn’t exist last year. They act like a true team and have really come together as a unit.
With what we’ve seen from this team this season, there’s no reason to think they can’t make a serious playoff run if they can click on both sides of the ball.