How the Eagles got to the NFC title game: Key moves, team MVP, turning point, key win, full season results, more

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Five years after hosting the NFC Championship en route to their first Super Bowl title, the Eagles are back in the running for a conference crown. After dismantling the Giants in the divisional round of the playoffs, Philadelphia will host the San Francisco 49ers Sunday with a ticket to Glendale, Arizona, on the line. But how, exactly, did the Eagles get here?

It’s been a long time coming, somehow. After general manager Howie Roseman spoke to most of the team’s holes with a busy season, the Eagles entered 2022 as a popular choice to surprise out of the NFC East. But then quarterback Jalen Hurts burst onto the scene looking like a completely different signal-caller, showing an improved and more accurate arm. The Eagles were off to their best start since 2017 before injuries hit at QB and up front – another reflection of 2017.

Now, with Hurts back at what appears to be full strength, and one of the NFL’s most talented rosters fresh off a bye and a big win, the lofty goal has returned: another Lombardi Trophy. Here’s a look at what has fueled the Eagles’ journey to this point, including key wins, the impact of the club’s turnaround, and a full list of their season’s results:

Team MVP

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If you want to explain the Eagles’ sudden rise back to the top of the NFC, look no further than under center, where the 24-year-old Hurts took a seismic leap. A year ago, he was still extremely composed and both slick and physical as a runner. But even his biggest fans couldn’t have gone on like a fourth axis – a sure, accurate, aggressive distributor of the football. A shoulder injury put his NFL MVP bid on hold late in 2022, but when he’s been healthy, as he has been for most of the year and likely in the Eagles’ playoff run, he’s being neck and neck with Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow and Josh Allen in terms of play-by-play just makes a difference. The problem he presents to opponents today is threefold: he is tough and elusive in movement, he is confident and smooth in passing, and he is quick and unconcerned against pressure.

Key benefits

Note: * = acquired through trade

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Received: via trade (Titans)

No player has helped launch Hurts from a slightly promising QB to a proven face of the franchise more than Brown, who had a relationship with the QB prior to the trade day of Howie Roseman for the Titans star. Even in a career season, Brown’s numbers aren’t always foolproof. But his impressive combo of size (6-1, 225) and speed always commands attention and justifies his “Always Open” motto. Roseman helped catapult Carson Wentz and Nick Foles to stardom in 2017 when he signed Alshon Jeffery for more of an alpha presence outside, but Brown is far more dangerous, still entering his prime .

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Received: free agency (Panthers)

Once considered a Cardinals draft pick, Reddick started late in Arizona before landing with the Panthers, showing his emergence as a pass-rush specialist into a big-money contract with the Eagles. Temple’s output has exceeded even the team’s expectations, dominating as Jonathan Gannon’s only standout rusher along with a front four. Only the 49ers’ Nick Bosa recorded more sacks this year; Reddick has up to 17.5, including playoffs, and also has five forced fumbles leading the NFL.

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Received: free agency (Giants)

Cut by the Giants with a salary cap in May, Bradberry signed a one-year probationary contract to start opposite Darius Slay, and he’s done more than enough to prove he’s still worthy of top billing. While Slay does most of the talking in Philly high school, he and Bradberry have been 1A and 1B in high school. Both stay physical in tight windows to spearhead the NFL’s high-quality pass rush “D,” and Bradberry in particular has come up big when it matters, leading the team with 19 interceptions. pass, including playoffs.

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Received: by trade (Holy)

One of Roseman’s final touches to a playoff-caliber roster, Gardner-Johnson arrived as a draft pick after a promising three-year run with the Saints, who were apparently eager to offload his big personality before a contract year . The Eagles have reaped the rewards happily, with CGJ pitching in like a ball hawk at safety, tying for the NFL lead with six picks despite missing five games after that due to injury. . While he isn’t impenetrable in coverage, his range and CB slot experience have been invaluable.

Select a key version

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Version: Number 13 overall

A mammoth inside (6-6, 335), the Georgia product has played sparingly since his early season debut. But his presence behind the likes of Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox and in-season starters Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh speaks to the true depth throughout the Eagles’ defensive trenches. No team had more sacks than Philly this year, and that’s largely a testament to the way Roseman built and solidified the opposition, which was also instrumental in the club’s run in 2017.

The truth Roseman

Eagles GM Howie Roseman

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Coach Nick Sirianni deserves a lot of credit for the confident approach he brings to the sideline. Team owner Jeffrey Lurie, in turn, should be praised for his hiring, which extends an impressive history that includes Andy Reid and Doug Pederson, who combined for 12 playoff appearances and two Super Bowl bids. in their respective holdings. But the architect of this current Eagles roster, GM Howie Roseman, may deserve some credit as he has now assembled two title contenders from scratch. Infamously reassigned around 2015 after a series of draft and free agent bust-ups, he rounded out a young quarterback-coach duo with surprising depth in 2017, and has done it again with a pair new just five years later.

Just as his long list of 2017 flashes (QB Nick Foles, RB Jay Ajayi, RB LeGarrette Blount, WR Alshon Jeffery, WR Torrey Smith, DE Chris Long, CB Ronald Darby, CB Patrick Robinson) is bolstered by long-term investments of the previous year (QB Carson Wentz, OG Brandon Brooks, LB Nigel Bradham, S Rodney McLeod), Roseman’s 2022 moves were ahead of smart moves for brick-and-mortar starters​​​​​​​ like Hurts, WR DeVonta Smith, OG Landon Dickerson, DT Javon Hargrave and CB Darius Marbh.

Major win

Week 14 vs. Giants

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The Eagles were 11-1 entering this contest, on a three-game winning streak thanks to high-scoring victories over the Packers and Titans. But they were yet to face the Giants, who up until that point had been bold in one game after another. The last time Hurts traveled to New Jersey to face Big Blue, in November 2021, he fell flat trying to move the ball through the air and suffered a loss ugly 13-7. This time, though, he was truly on his way, torching New York with early deep-ball TDs to AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith, while he and Miles Sanders ran wild in defeated 48-22. The blowout cemented Philly as the potential class of the NFC when healthy, clinched a playoff berth, and ultimately turned out to be a preview of…

A turning point

Regional round vs. Giants

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For weeks after the Eagles’ Week 14 run in New York, it felt like the team was on the coast, in a sense. Not because coach Nick Sirianni and Co. back, but because Hurts injured his shoulder the following week, in a win over the Bears. With backup Gardner Minshew stepping in, the Birds still struggled, especially in a nail-biting loss to Dallas, but opted for a vanilla strategy in a Week 18 rematch with the G- Men, mostly to ease Hurts back into the lineup. Everyone in Philly was hoping Hurts would be back at full strength after the week off given the No. 1 seed, but no one knew for sure.

Then the Eagles’ opening playoff game happened, and the Giants, who upset the Vikings with a win on Super Wild Card weekend, had no answer for their rivals. If Hurts had any limitations, they didn’t show. DeVonta Smith’s slender frame went out and out on the New York high school all night. And Gannon’s defense looked as fresh as ever, especially up front, helping seal a 38-7 rout. This victory reminded everyone that yes, the Eagles are still there really good on both sides of the ball when the MVP is full time and they are firing on all cylinders.

Full season 2022 results

1

@ Lions

W, 38-35

1-0

2

vs Vikings

W, 24-7

2-0

3

@Leaders

W, 24-8

3-0

4

against the Jaguars

W, 29-21

4-0

5

@Cardinals

W, 20-17

5-0

6

vs. Cowboys

W, 26-17

6-0

8

vs. Steelers

W, 35-13

7-0

9

@Texans

W, 29-17

8-0

10

vs. Leaders

L, 32-21

8-1

11

@ Colts

W, 17-16

9-1

12

vs packers

W, 40-33

10-1

13

vs. Titans

W, 35-10

11-1

14

@ Giant

W, 48-22

12-1

15

@ bears

W, 25-20

13-1

16

@Cowboys

L, 40-34

13-2

17

vs. Saints

L, 20-10

13-3

18

vs. Giant

W, 22-16

14-3

Regional

vs. Giant

W, 38-7

14-3 (1-0)

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