While you shouldn’t see any dramatic mismatches in the playoffs, no two teams are going to be exactly equal. Every game will always have a favorite and an underdog; on Sunday, most bettors are picking the Seattle Seahawks to knock off the Philadelphia Eagles. The home team, however, won’t mind having a chip on their shoulder.
It’s never ideal being an underdog, but the Philadelphia Eagles aren’t too concerned. In recent playoff history, the club has no problems taking on a superior opponent.
The Eagles and Seahawks’ different trajectories
While the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks will face off on Wild Card Weekend, the two teams have followed a differing set of trajectories. Both birds haven’t been flying high this season.
Despite being the road team on Sunday, the Seahawks’ seeding belies their strong 2019 campaign. Winning 11 games is nothing to sneeze at and, despite the injuries around him, Russell Wilson has been playing at an elite level. The team’s defense, however, has been their Achilles’ heel.
The Eagles, on the other hand, needed some help to make the playoffs. After a brutal Week 13 loss to the Miami Dolphins, head coach Doug Pederson told reporters that his team was a “longshot” to make the postseason; thankfully for him, the Eagles only had to outplay the Dallas Cowboys. As the Cowboys collapsed, Philadelphia found their feet and won their final four games, clinching the NFC East title.
The Philadelphia Eagles are perfectly comfortable as underdogs
In a perfect world, you want to be the favorite going into a must-win match-up. The Philadelphia Eagles, however, have a history of thriving as the underdog.
According to NBC Sports, Philly has been the underdog in their last six playoff games; the Eagles have won four of those contests. Most of those wins, of course, came in the club’s run to a Super Bowl title. Chris Long and Lane Johnson—then countless fans—even sported dog masks that winter. Although every season is different, that experience means the Eagles aren’t too concerned by betting odds coming into Sunday.
“Obviously it can galvanize it a little bit,” Jason Kelce explained on the 94WIP Morning Show. “I mean we put ourselves in that situation, I think it’s a little bit different than the underdog situation in 2017. I think we earned the right to be not underdogs with our record and the way we had played throughout the season, but I feel really confident with the way our team has been progressing throughout the season and just looking forward to the game this Sunday.”
Which birds will fly high on Sunday?
While it’s tempting to rely on the odds, NFL playoff games are anything but predictable. Both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Seattle Seahawks have a legitimate shot at surviving Wild Card Weekend.
Although it veers dangerously close to citing a team’s “will to win” it simply seems like the Eagles aren’t ready to lose just yet. They’ve battled back from the brink of elimination and have proved that they know how to win tough games. Carson Wentz is playing well, and Philly’s defense is tough to beat in the City of Brotherly Love. At the same time, though, Russell Wilson is one of the league’s elite quarterbacks; no matter who lines up in the backfield, Wilson can keep Seattle in the game.
On paper, the Philadelphia Eagles are underdogs against the Seattle Seahawks. Once the first whistle blows, though, don’t expect them to play like it.