The Philadelphia Eagles clinched a playoff spot and the NFC East division title with a win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday but lost second-year quarterback Carson Wentz to a season-ending knee injury in the process.
Wentz, who was in the running for league MVP, underwent surgery for a torn ACL on Wednesday, and the Eagles are moving forward with Nick Foles at quarterback.
Philadelphia and Minnesota were considered the Super Bowl favorites in the NFC prior to Week 14, but the Vikings now stand alone atop the conference despite their loss to Carolina on Sunday, according to CBS Sports.
The loss of Wentz to a season-ending injury surely shakes up this year’s playoff picture, but in all honesty, Philadelphia was never a lock to win the conference. The Eagles chances of making Super Bowl LII with Foles at quarterback should significantly decrease, making Minnesota, New Orleans, Carolina, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Seattle the favorites to represent the NFC.
Foles has amassed a 20-16 starting record through his first six seasons in the league. The former third-round pick out Arizona has plenty of experience in head coach Doug Pederson’s offensive system, as Pederson was Philadelphia’s quarterbacks coach when Foles entered the league in 2012.
While Foles has shown the ability to a lead a team to wins, the Eagles have only beaten four teams win with winning records in 2017. Philadelphia’s offense struggled on the road against Seattle in Week 13, and it’s hard to imagine Foles leading the Eagles to wins over Minnesota, New Orleans, Carolina, or Seattle without Wentz at quarterback.
The Eagles could have home-field advantage in the postseason, and with games against the Giants, Raiders, and Cowboys down the stretch, it’s plausible Philadelphia could clinch the NFC’s first seed.
Even if the City of Brotherly Love leads to Super Bowl LII, the Eagles will face an uphill battle with Foles at quarterback.
The biggest benefit the Philadelphia franchise has going is their fourth ranked defense and second ranked rushing attack in terms of yards. An elite defense and ground game is usually key to a Super Bowl run for any franchise, but with a backup quarterback under center, Philadelphia will need dominate those two phases moving forward.