Sunday at 1pm, the stage is set for the Philadelphia Eagles’ first playoff game under new head coach Nick Sirianni as they travel to Tampa Bay to take on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This is a redemption game for Brady as the last time he faced the Eagles was Super Bowl LII when he was still the quarterback for the New England Patriots and ended up losing 41-33. The Eagles are considered major underdogs going into this game, but this is something they are already familiar with. They were considered the underdog in every playoff game leading up to their Super Bowl victory in 2018. From 2018 leading up to now, teams learned that they should not count out the Eagles no matter what their roster looks like.
The Eagles played the Buccaneers in week 6. The Eagles ended up losing that game 28-22. Many people believe that this upcoming playoff game will have the same result for the Eagles. However, there are many reasons why this could change. Back when they played in week 6, the Eagles were without tight-end Dallas Goedert as he was on the COVID list. This gives the Eagles more options on offense to work worth as Goedert is one of the best weapons on this team to throw to. Speaking of weapons on offense, the Buccaneers have two great receivers in Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown. However, both will not be playing this Sunday as Godwin tore his ACL and with Brown running off the field in the middle of the game and getting released the following day. The Eagles will have to take advantage of this Buccaneers offense missing two key players if they want any chance of winning.
The Eagles are getting Miles Sanders back from injury and he will be ready to play against the Bucs. This team has also not been impacted by too many injuries compared to their previous playoff appearances. With almost everyone on the roster from the first week of the season, the Eagles were able to maintain their depth at each position and this played a huge role in their 7-2 run to close out the season.
The Philadelphia Eagles had a brutal start to the season at a 2-5 record and playoffs just seemed like a longshot at that point. Some of these losses during these first seven games were blowouts to teams such as the Cowboys, Chiefs, and Raiders. This team was coming off a 4-11-1 record from the previous season, had a quarterback starting his first full season, a first-year head coach, and a young and inexperienced roster. All hope seemed to be lost for Nick Sirianni and his team but his team believed in him and they took advantage of an easy schedule as they won seven of their last nine games and snuck into the playoffs as the 7th seed in the NFC Conference.
This was a very interesting Eagles team and people learned a lot about them throughout the season. The main takeaway people noticed about this team is that they are one of the most resilient teams in the league and they deserve to be in the position they are at today. They believed in a coach who many fans were losing faith in at the start of the season. The same coach who was the best first-year head coach in the league this year as he was the only first-year head coach to make the playoffs over the other six that were hired before the start of the season. With three first-round picks for the Eagles in the upcoming draft, this team is only getting better and this playoff game will be the experience that the younger players on this team need. No matter the outcome of the game, it is safe to say the future is looking bright for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Nicholas Holdofsky is a third-year English student.