One of the nice things about being a football fan is that whatever you may think about your team or your team’s opponent, there will be a differing opinion to be considered.
When OCNJDaily visited Lincoln Financial Field yesterday, there was plenty of disappointment, to be sure. At the same time optimism reigned among fans who braved single digit temperatures and a biting wind to cheer on the top-seeded Birds.
“There’s no reason not to be confident,” said Nick Foles, the Eagles former backup who made his third start following a season-ending knee injury to Carson Wentz, a league MVP candidate. The game, which meant nothing for the Eagles playoff seeding or conference and division standings, was won by Dallas, 6-0.
Of course, pessimistic fans would say the reason not to be confident was Foles himself, particularly after a spotty quarter of play and a quarterback rating rivaling the temperature.
Nevertheless, the Eagles finished 13-3, tied for their best record in history with the 2004 Super Bowl team. They have a bye for Wildcard Weekend and will face either the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons or Carolina Panthers. In keeping with our theme, you could make the argument either way for the Birds’ prospects against any of those three potential playoff foes.
On Sunday, fans donned layer upon layer of Eagles gear, put hand warmers in their gloves and ski masks over their faces. They built fires in the parking lot and warmed themselves with coffee, hot chocolate and stronger beverages.
“Why would I think about staying home and watching it?” one fan said incredulously. “Eagles home games are the best eight days of the year. And this year it will be the best 10 days.”
Clearly, a glass half-full guy. And he wasn’t alone.
“We might not have Wentz, but we have a very good defense, and we have (the fans). This is going to be a tough place for any opponent to come in and win.”
A third fan was even more adamant. “None of these teams scare me,” he said. “They should be scared of us.”
Another positive, he said, was the debut of rookie defensive back Sidney Jones who had been sidelined with an injury all season, and a promising outing by backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld, who saw his first action in the NFL completing his first six passes.
The main thing, the fan continued. “We came out of this game without any injuries.”
And so it went. The Eagles have two weeks to fix whatever went wrong with the offense Sunday (pretty much everything) and need only to win one home game to host the NFC Championship game.
“Nobody can keep the Eagles from going to the Super Bowl without coming through Philly,” a fan said. “I like our chances.”