The NFL Playoffs are upon us. This weekend features four Wild Card games, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. This is the first season that I can remember where all 12 playoff teams feel like potential Super Bowl winners; that being said, every team can also be defeated. It only takes three or four wins to be crowned champion. The real winner this season: NFL fans.
The Eagles have had an interesting season. Head Coach Chip Kelly is in his first NFL season, Michael Vick got injured (again), and Nick Foles has proven to be yet another capable young quarterback. He has all the talent, and now we will see if he can be clutch in the playoffs.
Riley Cooper did not have a great start to his regular season. It seemed like the Eagles were going to have a split locker
room, or at least some disliking among teammates. The team rallied around their young quarterback and head coach. The NFC East was pretty weak this season, and the Eagles capitalized on their opportunity and won the division.
It’s still tough to assess this Eagles team. Nick Foles only has one loss in games where he played all 60 minutes. In the loss against Dallas, Foles left with a head injury and Matt Barkley finished up the game. He played three quarters and was shut out by the Dallas defense. Those three quarters and the loss against Minnesota are the only real sample we have of how to beat Nick Foles.
Shut down Lesean McCoy and put all the pressure on Nick Foles. The Minnesota Vikings were in Foles’ face the entire game. They racked up four sacks and plenty more quarterback hits and hurries. The fact that the Vikings shut down LeSean McCoy put the mental pressure on Foles, as well as the physical. LeSean McCoy has been terrific this season, and he brings so much to the Eagles’ up-tempo offense. McCoy had less than 75 rushing yards in five of their six losses.
When you play the Eagles, you must prepare to contain DeSean Jackson. He is one of the fastest players in the NFL, and every passing play he is a threat to burn your defense for a huge touchdown. I think you need to get physical and bump him off his routes. Safeties need to exercise caution when he is on the field. Cover deep, keep him in front of you, even if it means giving up a 20 yard play. That’s better than a 50 yard touchdown.
Overall, the Eagles are still a young team with little playoff experience. We will see if Foles and company can handle the pressure and the speed of the game in the NFL playoffs.