The Philadelphia Eagles are the top seed in the NFC and own home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Good luck maintaining it, and good luck in the next two rounds of the playoffs. Philly’s win over Oakland on Monday night featured a late touchdown by the Eagles which helped out many in certain situations.
As good as Nick Foles looked in Week 15, there was nothing inspiring about his performance against the Raiders. If you hope that the Eagles will make a deep run, there should significant concern about how good they can be against a dangerous defensive opponent.
The NFC is fascinating because with Foles, Case Keenum and Jared Goff heading up the top three seeds in the conference — hello, Jeff Fisher! — there are three trustworthy quarterbacks sitting on the other side. Some combo of Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Matt Ryan/Russell Wilson will show up. It is totally fair to wonder if the Eagles and other up-and-coming NFC teams will be as dangerous as they looked earlier in the season.
Things are also not great for the other team in Pennsylvania. It cannot be overstated how huge this is: the Steelers lost Antonio Brown to a torn calf muscle against the Patriots in Week 15 and there is a zero-sum chance of the star wideout returning for the first round of the playoffs. He can, however, come back for the divisional round of the postseason, which would give the Steelers a massive offensive advantage. This is a lethal team, a Super Bowl team when it is operating at maximum efficiency. Without Brown they’re still a dangerous offense and defense against bad teams, but a run to the Super Bowl feels unlikely.