Submitted by Jim Hurley’s Network on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 2:32 PM
There were already leaks starting to show in the boat before the Philadelphia Eagles lost star quarterback Carson Wentz to a season-ending injury. If you watched Monday Night's dreadful win over Oakland, you know that the Eagles are nowhere near ready to win the NFC even though they've clinched the top seed!
Why is JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK so confident to make that claim?
*Nick Foles is a warm-weather quarterback who will have to play in winter conditions to reach the Super Bowl. It was cold and windy Monday Night. He couldn't move the ball against a mediocre opposing defense that had nothing to play for in a horrible schedule spot. The Eagles were just 1 of 14 on third downs! Foles can get the job done vs. bad defenses in good weather. He'll very likely be facing good defenses (possibly a great defense at least once) in conditions that are going to hurt his ability to perform. Also, playoff speed is much faster than regular season speed. Foles is not a quick thinker when pressured.
*Philadelphia's defense is much worse than realized. They faced a very easy schedule up until a few weeks ago. In current-day football, an easy schedule means you're running into a lot of bad quarterbacks. Once Philadelphia had to face some veterans, or a young star in Jared Goff, they were badly exposed. Seattle and the NY Giants both had multiple long touchdown drives amidst season-long offensive slumps. Goff made big plays in a losing effort. Even Oakland was moving the ball here and there in tough conditions Monday. What's this defense going to do against Drew Brees, or in a rematch with Goff, or maybe against Matt Ryan or Cam Newton? Hope to get five turnovers? Go back and look at the stats from the close win over the Giants. Philadelphia made old Eli Manning look like young Peyton Manning.
*Philadelphia's opponents are going to be really good, whoever they are. This isn't the AFC where you might get a gift game in your opener. The NFC is loaded. Philadelphia will have to beat a good team the first time out despite peaking a month ago...and then would probably have to face Minnesota in the NFC championship game. No home games against the likes of C.J. Beathard, Mitchell Trubisky, or Trevor Siemian. No place to hide.
It's like the Eagles took three steps backward just as other good teams were stepping up...or at least standing pat in a good position. We're not suggesting Foles is as bad as many of the rookies you've been seeing this season. Well, maybe in cold, windy weather he is! But, the Power Ratings drop from Wentz to Foles is enough to sink Philadelphia from "maybe the best playoff team in the NFC" to "maybe the worst playoff team in the NFC."
Who's most likely to win the NFC given these latest developments? A bye would certainly help the Vikings, which they'd clinch with a home win Sunday over Chicago. Plus, the motivation of getting to host a Super Bowl could aid the purple and gold as well. The other NFC possibilities all have starting quarterbacks who have played in Super Bowls except for the Rams. Right now, it's like pulling a name out of a hat. Our computer programmers will have a better sense of true odds once the brackets are set and simulations can be run. Minnesota will be the most likely "name out of a hat" given home field dynamics. Percentage-wise, it won't be by much.
Though there's still one week left in the regular season, you can tell JIM HURLEY is thinking very much about how he's going to attack the playoffs. After cleaning up this week in the bowls and Week 17 of the NFL, NETWORK is positioned to make sure you GET THE MONEY all the way through the Super Bowl.
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We'll be back with you at the end of the week to talk about bowl blockbusters coming up. This is clearly the most exciting bowl schedule in years with all those amazing matchups. It could possibly be the best bowl schedule EVER if you don't penalize it for the past week of tourism exhibitions involving sloppy mid-majors. Don't force down Christmas leftovers. There are plenty of BIG, JUICY WINNERS coming your way from JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!