The Philadelphia Eagles, in all likelihood, will be making an appearance in the 2017 NFL postseason this year. And they’re quite happy about that.
What makes them even happier is that they won’t be playing in the wild card round this year. That’s because historically, the Eagles have had a rather rough time when playing in the wild card round of the playoffs. The last three times the Eagles made the playoffs, which were in 2009, 2010 and 2013, they made it to the wild card round and lost all three games. In fact, since 1989 they’ve lost six times in the wild card round, with four of those games being played at home and are 6-6 in the wild card round since 1989.
Luckily for the team, they can avoid the pitfalls of the wild card round this year thanks to their stellar 12-2 start to the season. This past Sunday, the Eagles were able to clinch a first-round bye for the first time in the last 13 years. Even better, if the Eagles win their next game against the Raiders this upcoming Monday night at home, or if the Packers beat the Vikings on Saturday, the Eagles can also earn themselves a home-field advantage for the whole postseason. In short, so many things are going their way right now.
Safety Malcolm Jenkins said that the importance of a first-round bye in the playoffs is how much closer it puts the team to getting to the Super Bowl. He noted that although they still have more games to play and win, the fact that they don’t have to play during the wild card round and likely be on the road is an immense relief to them. Defensive end Brandon Graham added that the bye is a reward because the team is off for a week and has time to get their bodies together for when the real tough games come.
Since the AFL-NFL merger and creation of wild card weekend, the Eagles have gotten a first-round bye only five times: in 1980, 1988, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Earning a sixth first-round bye is somewhat historic for the team, who knows that there is still more work to be done.