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Pressure is all on Philadelphia in the team's playoff matchup with New York | Locked On Eagles

The organization may have won a Super Bowl just five years ago, but the Eagles have not faced the kind of pressure they will on Saturday since the early 2000's.

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles are no stranger to the NFL playoffs over the last six seasons. Saturday’s divisional round matchup with the New York Giants will mark their fifth postseason appearance since 2017, and their eighth total playoff game in that span.

The organization may have won a Super Bowl just five years ago, but the Eagles have not faced the kind of pressure they will on Saturday since the early 2000's.

When you look at the expectations for Eagles playoff teams since they made four NFC championship games and a Super Bowl from 2000 to 2004, they were never extremely high. Even when they would go on deep postseason runs, they were underdogs that shocked the world.

The 2006 Eagles made it to the divisional round riding the hot hand of backup QB Jeff Garcia. The 2008 Eagles barely made the playoffs as the last seed in the NFC, but somehow won two road games to get to the NFC championship game. 2009, 2010, 2013, these were talented teams with a lot of offensive firepower that even hosted two playoff games as division champions. But they weren’t seen as championship favorites.

The last time the NFC playoffs ran through Philadelphia in 2017? They were the first #1 seed in NFL history to be an underdog in their first playoff game at home.

The following two playoff runs in 2018 and 2019 were improbable miracles pulled off by Nick Foles and Carson Wentz. They dragged injury-ravaged, dead in the water teams to winning streaks at the end of the season that squeaked them into playing January football.

Then, there was last year’s wild card team that overcame a 2-5 start, winning 7 of their last 10 games to clinch the last, #7 seed in the playoffs.

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This year is the first time since 2004 that the Eagles are a top seed, with a star-filled roster nearly at full strength this deep into January. It is the first time in 19 years that Philadelphia is the betting favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. It is the first time since McNabb and Terrell Owens were leading the team that they head into the playoffs with a “Super Bowl or bust” expectation.

The pressure is on. The good news is there isn’t a team that is more built to handle that pressure. Veterans like Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Fletcher Cox, and Brandon Graham have been through it before. They know what it takes to win a championship. They have felt high expectations on their team before.

The young core aren’t strangers to expectations and high pressure situations either. Hurts, DeVonta Smith, Landon Dickerson, Jordan Davis, they all played for powerhouse colleges in the SEC that competed (and won) national championships year after year. A.J. Brown has already been a part of three playoff runs with the Tennessee Titans, including a 2019 trip to the AFC championship game. Dallas Goedert, Miles Sanders, Josh Sweat, T.J. Edwards, and Avonte Maddox were all part of the 2018 and 2019 roller coaster runs too.

The pressure is all on the Eagles Saturday night, against a Giants team that wasn’t expected to make it this far. They have nothing to lose.

Time to find out if the 2022 Eagles will continue to raise their standard and advance to the NFC championship.

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