It was a fantastic 2017 football-wise in the city of Philadelphia. It hosted the NFL Draft and it was a spectacle unlike anything we have ever seen. And their Philadelphia Eagles are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013 and are the NFC’s top seed. Is this the year Philly wins its first Super Bowl? They are currently one of the top Super Bowl 52 betting odds favorites.
Philadelphia Eagles 2018 Postseason Betting Analysis
The Eagles’ divisional playoff game will be played on January 13 at 4:35 ET. They’ll face either the sixth-seeded Falcons or the winner of the No. 4-5 matchup between the Saints and Panthers. Next week’s game will be the Eagles’ first playoff game since losing at home to the Saints on Jan. 4, 2014, in the wild-card round, 26-24. The Eagles haven’t won a home playoff game since following the 2006 season.
The Eagles were 7-0 at home in games that counted this year – they lost their season finale 6-0 to Dallas but had nothing to play for with the NFC’s top seed already clinched. Excluding that game, the Eagles are 14-2 over the last two seasons at home since head coach Doug Pederson took over. They have played some of their best football at Lincoln Financial Field, with some of their biggest wins both this season and last season coming at home.
Plus, three of the other five teams in the NFC playoffs play in a dome (and the other two play in warm-weather states) and the Eagles’ home-field advantage is a big deal heading into the postseason.
Yeah, But No Wentz
The Eagles were clear-cut NFC betting favorites and had even passed the New England Patriots as Super Bowl favorites – but then superstar quarterback Carson Wentz, who was the NFL MVP favorite, tore his ACL in a Week 14 loss at the Rams. This season, Wentz completed 60 percent of his passes for 253.5 yards per game, producing a 101.9 passer rating. Despite missing the final three games, Wentz finished just one touchdown pass behind Russell Wilson for the most in football.
Could Wentz still win the NFL MVP? Not likely but not impossible. Joe Montana won the award in 1989 despite missing three games. Like Wentz, he went 11-2 as a starter. Montana led the league in completion rate (70 percent), threw 26 touchdowns to eight interceptions, and established a new record for quarterback rating (112.4).
How Has the Offense Been Recently?
The Philly offense has not been the same behind Nick Foles. In his first game, he had a four-touchdown performance at the New York Giants, only to stumble in the final game-plus against the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys. Overall, Foles has completed 59 percent of his passes for 200 yards per game and an 88.1 rating. With Wentz, the Eagles scored 2.4 points per drive but just 1.8 per drive with Foles.
Coach Doug Pederson made some waves when he left open the door to benching Foles in the playoffs, saying, “If you’re in desperation mode, who knows?” Pederson quickly clarified himself after the press conference, however. Nate Sudfeld is the only other quarterback on the roster.
What Foles does have on Wentz, however, is that he has played in the postseason before — and played well. He was the starter in 2013 vs. the Saints and went 23-of-33 for 195 yards with two touchdowns and put the Eagles up late in that game with a TD toss to Zach Ertz, only to see Drew Brees move the Saints down the field for a game-winning field goal.
“I’ve had time to sort of reflect, thinking about me then, playing in that game, what that season was like, playing in the playoff game, the atmosphere, the visualization of it all,” he said.
After a couple down performances, Pederson and the coaching staff used the bye week to look at old Foles film in order to properly tailor the current system to fit his strengths. That 2013 season was Foles’ finest, as he threw a remarkable 27 touchdowns to two interceptions.
Also look for more of an emphasis on the running game. The Eagles finished the season ranked third in rushing yards per game (132) but averaged 93 yards in the two full games Foles played in with an average of 3.9 yards per rush over that span compared to 4.5 over the entire season.
Eagles Can Win With Defense
If Philadelphia has to win a low-scoring game it still can. Even after allowing 129 yards in the meaningless vs. the Cowboys, the Eagles are still tops in the NFL against the run, allowing only 79.2 yards-per-game on the ground. The defense finished the season fourth in the NFL in points allowed, surrendering an average of just 18.4 points per game during the regular season.
The Eagles have 31 takeaways, good for fourth in the NFL, and have committed just 20 turnovers. The plus-11 turnover differential is fourth best in the NFL, and second best among the teams that qualified for the postseason.