Philadelphia Eagles Road to Super Bowl LVII: The End of an Almost Perfect Season

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Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP.

The Philadelphia Eagles can win their second Super Bowl with a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII. It would be the second in six years with a new head coach and quarterback, which has only been done once in NFL history by the 1976-80 Raiders. This is only Year 2 together for head coach Nick Sirianni and quarterback Jalen Hurts.

From a blockbuster trade to being the NFL’s last unbeaten team at 8-0, the Eagles have almost flown under the radar in the second half of the season after long winning streaks from the 49ers, Bengals, and Bills fizzled in the postseason.

Now, it comes down to a game with the No. 1 seed Chiefs to see if Philadelphia’s No. 1 pass defense can beat likely MVP Patrick Mahomes to win the Super Bowl.

We look back at the road to Super Bowl LVII taken by these Eagles (16-3). And if you’re a Keystone State resident eager to make your betting picks for this game, make sure to go over our guide on the best Pennsylvania betting sites!

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Sunday, February 12, 2023 – 06:30 PM EST at State Farm Stadium

The Preseason Story

While the Eagles made the playoffs in coach Nick Sirianni’s rookie season, it was a quick exit in the wild-card round in Tampa as the team finished 0-7 against other playoff teams in 2021. The Eagles needed to add more talent if they were going to continue the trend of the NFC East having a new winner every year since 2005.

The Eagles made some incredible moves by signing pass-rusher Haason Reddick in March, who would go on to lead the team with 16 sacks. The more stunning move came in the April draft when the Eagles sent a first-round pick to Tennessee for the services of No. 1 wide receiver A.J. Brown, who was an immediate success for the offense and helped Jalen Hurts reach new heights in his second full season as a starter.

Week 1 vs. Detroit (W 38-35)

A big theme early in the season for the Eagles was second-quarter dominance. They did it in Week 1 on the road in Detroit with 24 points in the second quarter, including a pick-six by James Bradberry. The Lions made things interesting with two fourth-quarter touchdowns, but the Eagles were able to run out the clock to hang on for the win. Brown had an amazing team debut with 10 catches for 155 yards, instantly clicking with Hurts.

Week 2 vs. Minnesota (W 24-7)

The Eagles held superstar receiver Justin Jefferson to just 48 yards on 12 targets as Kirk Cousins did his usual Monday night disappearing act in front of a national audience. If you tuned in late you missed all the action as no points were scored in the second half by either team, but the Eagles had plenty in the 24-7 win.

Week 3 vs. Washington (W 24-8)

Do you think the Eagles were ready for this one? Ex-Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was sacked three times in a row in the first five minutes of the game before eventually going down nine times for sacks. It was another game where the Eagles scored all 24 of their points in the second quarter, but Hurts shredded the defense for 340 passing yards.

Week 4 vs. Jacksonville (W 29-21)

For a quarter, the Jaguars were looking legit with a 14-0 lead, but their pick-six off Hurts was the result of a fluky, deflected ball. Eventually, the Eagles calmed down in the wet conditions, scored 20 points in the second quarter to take the lead, and they never had to look back as the Jaguars kept fumbling in the rain.

Trevor Lawrence went on to lose four fumbles in the game for Jacksonville, which had five turnovers total. Philadelphia has not forced more than three turnovers in any other game this season, so the wet conditions were a factor here.

Week 5 vs. Arizona (W 20-17)

When the Eagles return to Arizona for the Super Bowl, it will be the site of one of their toughest games this year when the Cardinals fought back to a late 17-17 tie. But the Eagles went on a long game-winning drive keyed by a few Hurts runs on third-and-1 on the quarterback push sneak they would become famous for this season.

The Cardinals had a good shot to win or at least force overtime, but Kyler Murray had a horrific decision to spike the football on third-and-1, and Arizona’s 43-yard field goal was no good with 17 seconds left.

Week 6 vs. Dallas (W 26-17)

The big NFC East showdown was more of a letdown as the 4-1 Cowboys did not play well with backup quarterback Cooper Rush, who the Eagles exposed with three interceptions while opening a 20-0 lead.

Dallas rallied to make it interesting again at 20-17 with nearly a quarter left, but the Eagles responded with another touchdown, and the Eagles closed it out defensively to move to 6-0 and in good control of the NFC East going into the bye week.

Week 8 vs. Pittsburgh (W 35-13)

Out of the bye, Hurts was sensational in throwing three touchdowns to Brown, who scored from 39, 27, and 29 yards away. The Eagles sacked rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett six times in another easy win as the Steelers missed T.J. Watt.

Week 9 vs. Houston (W 29-17)

Expectations were rising as the Texans had the worst record and it felt like a lock that the 13.5-point favorites from Philadelphia would move to 8-0. The Texans at least stood tall to take a halftime tie into the locker room, but the Eagles still hung on for the 29-17 win despite never leading by more than 12 points at any time in the game.

The Eagles were 8-0, the last unbeaten, and just the third team since the 1970 merger to not trail in the second half of their first eight games. The 2022 Eagles also set a record with 133 second-quarter points, the most ever through eight games in NFL history. This was about the time the undefeated talk started.

Week 10 vs. Washington (L 32-21)

Division rematches can be tricky, and it sure helped that Wentz was replaced by a smoother Taylor Heinicke. It did not matter that the Commanders were 10.5-point road underdogs at the NFL odds. They were incredible at running the ball just enough to gain some yards to keep third down manageable, and they started 12-of-16 on third down that night.

They also forced four turnovers, including three crucial ones before a junk fumble touchdown on the final snap inflated the score.

But the Eagles had just three turnovers in their first eight games of the season before having four this night. One was a pick on a misplayed deep ball, and twice in the fourth quarter, the skill players fumbled completions from Hurts. Dallas Goedert’s lost fumble in a 23-21 game was especially controversial as the officials missed a facemask penalty that should have kept the drive going.

But the Commanders pulled it off, and the undefeated talk was over. Still, this is the only loss of the season for the Eagles with Hurts, and it took a Washington team playing way over its head to pull off.

Week 11 vs. Indianapolis (W 17-16)

Losing a division game is one thing, but the Eagles looked outmatched against the lowly Colts, who were two games into their Jeff Saturday interim coach experience. This was 13-3 in the fourth quarter before a rare Philadelphia rally. Hurts used his legs to get the Eagles back on top, and his 7-yard touchdown run with 1:20 left gave the Eagles a late 17-16 lead. The defense held Matt Ryan in check and the comeback was complete.

Week 12 vs. Green Bay (W 40-33)

The Packers were on their worst losing slide of the Aaron Rodgers era, but this was a wild Sunday night game with a 27-20 score at halftime. Hurts became the first quarterback to have over 125 yards both passing and running in a half. He would finish with 157 rushing yards.

The Eagles also knocked out Rodgers, but Jordan Love threw a 63-yard touchdown to Christian Watson in his place. The Eagles eventually hung on for the win.

Week 13 vs. Tennessee (W 35-10)

The Titans usually put up a good fight, but they too were slumping hard as part of what would become a seven-game losing streak to end the season. Hurts had his best passing game of the season with 380 yards and three touchdowns as the Eagles played the matchup and ignored the run in favor of the pass.

Brown embarrassed the Titans with 119 yards and two touchdowns. The Titans fired general manager Jon Robinson just days after the game, and it is hard not to connect the dots and say that the Brown trade to Philadelphia was his undoing in Tennessee.

Week 14 vs. New York Giants (W 48-22)

So much for a competitive division game. The Eagles jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back. Miles Sanders was explosive with 144 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Eagles piled up seven sacks, including three off backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who only entered the game late in the fourth quarter.

Week 15 vs. Chicago (W 25-20)

Just as Hurts took the MVP lead over Patrick Mahomes in many of the top-rated sportsbooks, he ran into an injury problem.

No one has really pinpointed exactly which play led to Hurts’ shoulder sprain, but it was supposedly in this game where he played 100% of the snaps. Hurts finished with 17 carries for 61 yards and three touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions for the first and only time this season. It was not the easiest 25-20 win over a team that would earn the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Week 16 vs. Dallas (L 40-34)

With Hurts’ shoulder injury putting the Eagles’ season in doubt, they had to play their big rematch with Dallas on Christmas Eve with Gardner Minshew at quarterback. It could have been a bigger game if Dallas did not gag away big leads at Green Bay and Jacksonville, but it was another chance at a good rival.

Apparently, the best method to beat the Eagles this year is to have divisional familiarity and force them into four turnovers.

Minshew was not the reason they lost this game though. He had two interceptions that were his receiver not being physical enough at the catch point, and he was charged with a fumble that was the running back’s fault for not securing the handle. He even had the Eagles leading by double digits multiple times and threw for over 350 yards.

But it was a third-and-30 in the fourth quarter that proved fatal. The Cowboys converted that with a 52-yard bomb to new veteran receiver T.Y. Hilton. The Cowboys ended up winning 40-34 after Minshew was unable to deliver the game-winning drive.

Week 17 vs. New Orleans (L 20-10)

Maybe the Eagles were bummed out over not getting Hurts back or the Dallas loss, but they were flat in this one. Minshew did not play as well as he did against Dallas, and his pick-six late in the fourth quarter was a brutal one that buried the Eagles that day. The Eagles became the first NFL team since the 2001 Panthers to lose in consecutive weeks despite getting at least six sacks in both games.

Week 18 vs. New York Giants (W 22-16)

The Eagles just needed a win to get the No. 1 seed and Hurts was back. The Eagles were a 16.5-point favorite, but they did not come close to getting the cover despite the Giants benching starters and playing many backups with their playoff seed locked up. The Eagles led 19-0 before hanging on for a 22-16 win. Giants backup quarterback Davis Webb did not take a single sack, but two other Giants did on trick plays. That allowed the Eagles to finish with 70 sacks, only the fourth team on record to do so.

Philadelphia clinched the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye with a 14-3 record, though the 6-3 record after 8-0 made it feel like a team that maybe peaked too early.

The second-quarter dominance that defined the early half of the season was all but gone. The Eagles went from a record number of points in that quarter to the ninth-most points in 2022 in the last nine games. Ho-hum. But the NFC playoff bracket looked very favorable for the Eagles to at least host the NFC Championship Game where they would get their first major test of a top opponent this year. At least we thought they would.

Divisional Round vs. New York Giants (W 38-7)

Going 3-0 against a team is not so hard if you already started 2-0. Whether it was against Daniel Jones, the Week 18 backups, or the healthier version of the defense, the Eagles had few problems with the Giants in all three games. This one was over early after the Giants failed on a fourth down and Jones threw a bad pick.

The Giants only mustered one touchdown on their way to a 38-7 defeat where Boston Scott cemented his legacy as The Giant Killer by scoring a touchdown for the ninth meeting in a row against this team.

NFC Championship Game vs. San Francisco (W 31-7)

This was a showdown many of us had been anticipating in the NFC since November when the 49ers made the Christian McCaffrey trade. The 49ers were on a 12-game winning streak, and like the Eagles, they had a questionable lack of quality wins from the schedule this year. This game was going to be a deciding factor for both teams to finally notch their signature win.

But a terrible start to the game for the 49ers threw everything off from this being a classic matchup. The 49ers were asleep at the wheel on a fourth-and-3 pass to DeVonta Smith that should have been ruled incomplete as the ball hit the ground. That led to an opening-drive touchdown, then on just his third throw of the day, rookie sensation Brock Purdy tore his elbow on a sack from Reddick.

Josh Johnson, the No. 4 quarterback this year, tried to replace Purdy, but he did a terrible job before halftime in a two-minute drill and lost a big fumble that the Eagles turned into a 21-7 lead. Johnson was then concussed, forcing the 49ers to all but abandon the throw as Purdy could literally not throw the ball more than a couple of yards on two dump passes.

The Eagles’ big win covered up a weak game from Hurts, who only averaged 4.84 yards per pass attempt. He overthrew a lot of passes, but the Eagles had some runs that looked all too easy against a top defense, and the offensive line performed much better than the line did for the 49ers, who saw Trent Williams get ejected after throwing a player down in the fourth quarter.

It was a bit surreal to see an NFL team in a championship game, down big, and they literally had no one to throw the ball. The 49ers also helped the Eagles to multiple touchdowns with bad penalties, including a roughing the punter call that looked very generous to the home team.

Holding Playoff Opponents to 7 or Fewer Points

The 2022 Eagles are the first team since the 2000 Ravens to hold consecutive playoff opponents to 7 or fewer points. They can become the first team since the 1991 Redskins to win three playoff games by double digits without trailing once. If they do that to the Chiefs, then we have to remember this as one of those all-time great single-season teams, but it shouldn’t be as easy as many of their other games this year.

The Eagles are a slight favorite in the Super Bowl. All the talk about an easy schedule and not beating any good quarterbacks can be put to rest by knocking off Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII.