Hmm? Each fan will have a differing version of these Eagles. A handful will see the Eagles chance to appear in the playoffs as nearly an impossibility, and will point to the games where the Eagles faced superior quarterbacks like New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, and yes, that first preseason game on Friday August 9, 2013 where New England quarterback Tom Brady led his Patriots to run over the Philadelphia Eagles and win by a final score of 31-14. At the time, it seemed as though the Eagles defense was so inept that even a pass happy offense could run the ball at will on them. Or so it seemed at the time. Perhaps, that Eagles defense was simply facing the Patriots who would eventually run over the San Diego Chargers and into the AFC Championship game.
The Eagles did face P. Manning in Mile High Stadium. In that game, Manning led the Broncos to a 52-20 rout of the Eagles. Yes, this was not the same Eagles team that would eventually climb to the top of the NFC East with a seven win one loss run to finish the season. Yes this was Manning in the comforts of September football, and he was more than happy to take advantage of the Birds as they were still grasping at the 3-4 defensive scheme.
But even at the end of the season, when these Eagles had arrived into their first playoff game under head coach Chip Kelly, there was still so far to go. Some argue that the Eagles “coulda woulda shoulda” have won that game against the visiting New Orleans Saints. There is certainly some merit to the debate, IF the team had been able to re-channel their defense to stop the run as well as it had stopped the pass.