The Philadelphia Eagles finished tied with three other teams for the best record in the NFL this season. Their +162 point differential was tied with New England for the best mark in the league. But after losing potential MVP Carson Wentz to a knee injury, no one expected Philadelphia to remain a favorite to win Super Bowl LII. However, the distance it has dropped compared to the rest of the postseason contenders is still a bit surprising.
After clinching the best record in the NFC and home field throughout the conference playoffs before Week 17 even took place, the Eagles rank as just the sixth favorite to take home the championship this season. The teams ahead of the Eagles according to Super Bowl odds are the Patriots, Vikings, Steelers, Rams, and Saints.
That list includes three teams from Philly’s own conference, including one in the Rams that Philly has already beaten this year. That win came in the game that Wentz tore his ACL and was lost for the season. One player doesn’t make or break a season in most cases, but there is no more important player than an NFL quarterback, and there was perhaps no better quarterback this season than the Eagles’ Wentz.
Philadelphia fans already accepted that their road would be tougher, but an injury and playoff odds don’t mean a championship dream is finished. The Eagles still have a defense that can be leaned on. The unit finished fifth this season in DVOA, which places them ahead of all but two other playoff teams. They also have a deep running back corps that could bear more of the offensive load behind quarterback Nick Foles.
The team’s first playoff opponent is still yet to be determined. It could be anyone among New Orleans, Carolina, or Atlanta. No matter what, the Eagles will have an uphill battle without the man that led them to unparalleled success all regular season. They are surely a rare occurrence: a top seed underdog that few believe can make it all the way to the Super Bowl podium.