Philadelphia Eagles: Playing with house money on Sunday

(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

In a season that started with high expectations for the Philadelphia Eagles, an inordinate amount of injuries have turned them into a team with nothing to lose.

Normally, when you win your division in the NFL and are hosting a first round playoff game, there is a certain amount of pressure on your team. But that isn’t the case for these Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in their clash against the Seattle Seahawks.

Because of the almost historic amount of injuries that have felled so many key players for the Eagles, there really can be no expectation of a win to prolong the season for at least one more game.

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And I’m not treating the injuries as a built-in excuse in case they lose, but rather a simple point of fact that it is incredibly difficult to win in this league when missing so many important pieces. You can play “next man up” all you want, but eventually the drop in talent will be so great that you can’t expect to hang with the best.

Yet, through all of this craziness, here the Birds are.

This season stands as a testament to Carson Wentz‘s leadership and determination, things that can no longer be called into question.

It was also the best work of Doug Pederson, who faced criticism at every turn but found a way to right the ship.

We learned a lot about Miles Sanders, who shook off early worries to produce a great season and stake his claim to the backfield going forward.

And while we already knew how great Zach Ertz is, it really takes things to a whole new level when you find out that he can literally gut through a game even with internal organ damage.

Sunday is not an “If we win, cool. If not, no biggie” situation. Go to Phillies President Andy MacPhail if you want statements like that. A victory is still greatly desired by the team and fans alike, despite all of the health issues.

The door has been left open, however, since their opponents are dealing with some big issues of their own. Of all the other teams to make the playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks might rank second in the dreaded “hampered by injuries” category, although they still are far behind the Eagles.

And so there is reason for hope.

Maybe the Eagles, as banged up as they are, can will themselves to victory one more time in front of their home fans as players like Boston Scott and Greg Ward continue their inspired play.

Maybe they can get just healthy enough in the coming weeks to win a playoff game or two on the road. There are some excellent teams in the league this year, but nobody is truly looking unbeatable.

Maybe Carson Wentz’s first taste of the postseason can be a truly magical one.

But Eagles fans shouldn’t allow themselves to get caught up in the notion of Super Bowl dreams, because there is still a ton of work to be done. And it’s not fair to put that kind of pressure on this team.

For once, as strange as it sounds, the pressure is off for these playoffs.

Nobody is going to be be happy if the Eagles come out on Sunday and lose 41-7. I’m not saying that would be acceptable. The heart of the matter is that the 2019 season already showed us what it needed to about the Philadelphia Eagles. Now, the team has a chance to add on top of that with a run in these playoffs.

We just need to enjoy this football team until the ride stops. Because when you’re playing with house money like the Eagles are, you still give it your best shot, but you shouldn’t be too disappointed when you finally run out.

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Sunday’s game is a reward and a bonus, rather than an indicator of success or failure for this Eagles team.