The Philadelphia Eagles are no stranger to being called underdogs. It’s been a term embraced since their Super Bowl run in 2017, becoming an identity that fans can relate to.
With a new coaching staff, rookie quarterback, and a roster built on youth, the Eagles were a team who were going to focus on a rebuild, hoping to excel over the next few seasons.
Despite a 2-5 start to the 2021 season, Philadelphia returned fighting, winning the next seven of their nine matchups. They managed to remain healthy (despite previous seasons), became the No. 1 rushing team in the league, and are led by a Coach of the Year contender.
Now, with odds against Philadelphia going into the post-season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Eagles aren’t worried.
BRADY LOOKS FOR REVENGE
41-33 — a score that still resonates with Tom Brady.
The then-Patriots quarterback lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII and still harps on his failed trick play. Brady stated, “Every time I see an Eagles fan, I get reminded of that play.”
Now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady has thrown for 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns this season, the third and second-most in NFL history, respectively. However, despite a 13-4 record, Brady isn’t getting ahead of himself.
He stated, “We’re going to have to play our best game of the year. I mean, this is our toughest opponent all year. You know, we’re playing a team that’s very talented and made it to this point for a reason. We have to do everything we have to do to get the win. This is a football team that has been playing really well — good on offense, they have a very good defense, good front, very healthy. It’s going to be a very tough game.”
Brady, who is now 44 years old, is preparing for his 46th playoff appearance.
UNDERDOGS… AND “WE DON’T CARE”
Going up against the reigning Super Bowl champ, 23-year-old Jalen Hurts will make his first playoff appearance. Hurts will become the youngest quarterback in Eagles history to start a playoff game, joining Brady in the largest age gap in NFL playoff history. But this isn’t the first time they’ll meet.
In October, the Bucs beat the Eagles 28-22 after Philadelphia attempted to come back from a 15-point deficit. After two touchdown runs by Jalen Hurts, he states his gameplay since then has grown.
“I’ve improved in every aspect of the game, Hurts stated. We just have to continue to do the things that got us here.”
Sirianni agreed, stating, “He [Hurts] has definitely gotten better. You are seeing him grow closer to his ceiling.”
As for how they will attack the game Sunday – however they see fit. Center Jason Kelce stated, “I’m a fan of scoring points and winning football games, and however we need to do that and however that gets done is what I care about.”
Linebacker T.J. Edward stated, “We obviously respect him [Tom Brady] and respect who he is as a football player, and things like that, but that doesn’t mean we are scared, or anything like that. We’re excited for the challenge. We’re excited that we’re playing a high-powered offense, and a really good football team in general. But again, it’s on to the next game for us. We’re approaching it like a normal week. When you make it bigger than what it is, that’s when mistakes and things happen; we’re treating him like any other quarterback we’ve played these past weeks.”
Four days remain. The Eagles will travel to Raymond James Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 PM on Sunday, with Tampa Bay as 8.5-point favorites.