New York Post


Wentz-less Philly looking vulnerable as playoffs near

- Mark Cannizzaro

IF YOU’RE an Eagles fan and you’re completely comfortabl­e with their position as the start of the playoffs nears, it’s likely you’re not being honest with yourself. Either that or you’re simply seduced by the numbers. The Eagles, based on their recent play, including Monday’s sloppy 19-10 home win over the Raiders, look like the most vulnerable No. 1 playoff seed in recent memory. Yes, with one remaining week in the regular season, the Eagles own the NFL’s best record at 13-2. Yes, by virtue of their wobbly win over the Raiders (more on that in a moment), the Eagles secured home-field advantage in the playoffs as long as they’re alive. Yes, only the Rams (170) have a better point differenti­al than the Eagles’ 168. Yes, the Eagles’ offense is ranked second in the NFL and their defense sixth. But to examine their past three games — two of which have been played without star quarterbac­k Carson Wentz because of his seasonendi­ng knee injury — is to wonder how the Eagles might fare against a better team (or teams) in the playoffs. They survived Sunday with 216 total offensive yards, 12 first downs and 1-of-14 on third-down conversion­s because the Raiders (6-9) threw the game away with a late Derek Carr intercepti­on.

The previous week, the Eagles barely overcame the woeful Giants, 34-29, allowing the same Giants offense that was shut out Sunday in Arizona to amass more than 500 yards in total offense.

The week before, the Eagles outlasted the Rams, 43-35, and lost Wentz for the rest of the season to a torn ACL. And the week before that, they were dominated by the Seahawks, 24-10, in Seattle.

Yes, Bill Parcells, the Eagles “are what their record says they are.”

And yes, all credit to the Eagles for winning these games it looked like they should have lost.

But can they survive more of this uneven play in the playoffs?

“I don’t think we’re in panic mode by any means,” Eagles tight end Zach Ertz told reporters after the Raiders game. “I think we’ve got a lot of good players on the team, and I think we have a lot of guys with a lot of pride that are going to figure this thing out.”

Can the Eagles survive and advance with backup quarterbac­k Nick Foles, who was revered for his performanc­e against the Giants a week ago, but then went a pedestrian 19-of-38 for 163 yards against the Raiders?

“I didn’t play good enough,” Foles told reporters after the game. “I have to play cleaner and, obviously, play better. Third down is a big thing with a quarterbac­k. I’ll look at the f ilm. I’ll improve.” The Eagles, after the Oakland game, insisted they still believe in Foles.

“We’re confident in Nick,’’ Ertz said. “We just have to play better as an offense altogether. The onus doesn’t fall solely on Nick.’’

If you believe in odds, then you may believe in the Eagles’ chances of making it to the third Super Bowl in franchise history. Since the 1990 NFL playoff-format expansion, of the 54 No. 1 seeds, 28 have made it to the Super Bowl and 13 have won it all (which Philadelph­ia never has).

Of some potential alarm, though, with the Eagles not needing to win Sunday’s regularsea­son f inale against the Cowboys, it’s possible coach Doug Pederson might rest a number of the starters, including Foles.

If he does that, the Eagles’ last body of work before their f irst playoff game, the weekend of Jan. 13-14, will have been these past couple of spotty performanc­es to end the regular season.

If you’re an Eagles fan and you’re comfortabl­e with that, then you’re simply delusional.

 ?? AP ?? ALL FOLES DOWN: Nick Foles is tackled by Denico Autry during the second half of the Eagles’ sloppy 19-10 victory over the Raiders on Monday night.
AP ALL FOLES DOWN: Nick Foles is tackled by Denico Autry during the second half of the Eagles’ sloppy 19-10 victory over the Raiders on Monday night.
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