The Philadelphia Eagles are five years removed from winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history.
The Eagles did so as the best team in the league the entire season, until losing Carson Wentz late in the year. Because Nick Foles played the rest of the way in 2017-18, the Eagles were underdogs in the playoffs against all three teams they faced.
Though that is a stark difference to this year’s team, the 2022 Eagles are similar in so many ways as a trip to the Super Bowl is on the line this Sunday.
Top 5 ways the 2017 and 2022 Philadelphia Eagles compare
No. 1 – Similar team records and scores
The 2017 Eagles and 2022 Eagles both led the NFC wire-to-wire and each had sustained winning streaks during the year.
The 2017 Eagles started 1-1 but reeled off nine straight to improve to 10-1, before losing their second game to Seattle in Week 13. Those Eagles finished the regular season atop the NFC at 13-3.
The 2022 Eagles started the season with eight consecutive wins before losing to Washington in Week 10. With one extra game, these Eagles finished the regular season at 14-3 with the NFC’s No. 1 seed.
When the playoffs arrived in 2017, much of the city was worried about how Nick Foles would fare. After a gritty 15-10 win over Atlanta in the NFC Divisional Round, the Eagles throttled the Vikings 38-7 in the NFC Championship game to advance to the Super Bowl.
On Saturday, the Eagles dominated the Giants 38-7 in the divisional round on the five-year anniversary of defeating the Vikings in January 2018.
No. 2 – Second-year head coaches reach NFC Championship game
Doug Pederson brought Philadelphia its first ever Eagles Super Bowl, and Nick Sirianni is on the brink of bringing another.
The two coaches have had similar paths to become the Eagles head coach, and once they did, both shared a similar amount of highs and lows.
Neither Pederson nor Sirianni interviewed with any other team before the Eagles selected them, which is incredibly rare.
Pederson started out his rookie year hot at 3-0 before flaming out and missing the playoffs at 7-9. Sirianni started his rookie season slow at 2-5, before making the playoffs at 9-8.
After finding their footing, both coaches were in complete command in their second seasons as head coach. As previously mentioned, both had nearly identical records and clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Pederson’s book is over in Philadelphia, as Sirianni’s is still being written. A Super Bowl victory this season would make the two eerily similar.
No. 3 – Injuries derailing MVP seasons for Wentz, Hurts
Both Eagles teams had MVP candidates at quarterback, which is probably the most important reason to each team’s success.
Wentz was on track to win the MVP as the quarterback of the best team in the NFL. Wentz went 11-2 and threw for 33 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. He threw four touchdown passes in the game he got injured in Week 13 vs. the Rams. An ACL tear ended Wentz’s season.
Jalen Hurts was the favorite to win MVP in Week 15 before suffering a sprained shoulder against the Bears. Hurts missed the next two games before returning in Week 18 to help the Eagles clinch the No. 1 seed. Though Hurts’ injury wasn’t season-ending, missing two games caused him to drop to third in MVP odds. It’s unlikely Hurts wins the award.
Foles saved the season for the 2017 Eagles by winning the Super Bowl as the backup quarterback. If Hurts stays healthy this playoff run, that would be a big difference between the two teams. But both had MVP-caliber quarterbacks that got robbed because of injury.
No. 4 – Acquiring a No. 1 receiver in the offseason
The 2022 and 2017 have similarities all over the roster, with one of them being at receiver. Each team made a key move in acquiring a No. 1 receiver prior to the season.
The 2017 Eagles signed Alshon Jeffery away from the Chicago Bears. Jeffery was already a Pro Bowler and reached 1,000 yards in his career twice. Jeffery finished with just 789 yards and nine touchdowns, but commanded a noticeable presence on the field that year.
The acquisition of A.J. Brown in the 2022 offseason is without a doubt one of the best the Eagles have made. Brown is also a No. 1 receiver and recorded two 1,000-yard seasons and a Pro Bowl in his three seasons in Tennessee. He finished with 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first year as an Eagle and helped put Hurts in the MVP conversation.
Brown is better than Jeffery, but the impact on the offense that both made is immeasurable.
No. 5 – Key statistical similarities
Any great team is going to be statistical leaders in a lot of major categories. The 2017 Eagles and the 2022 Eagles have a lot of the same traits.
Here is where they finished in some key stats in the NFL:
Defensive yards allowed:
- ‘17 Eagles: 4th
- ‘22 Eagles: 2nd
Points per game:
- ‘17 Eagles: T-2nd
- ‘22 Eagles: 3rd
Rushing yards per game:
- ‘17 Eagles: 3rd
- ‘22 Eagles: 5th
- ‘17 Eagles: 4th
- ‘22 Eagles: 3rd
It’s clear that both teams took care of the ball and scored among the top teams in the league.
A big similarity between both teams is the significance of the offensive and defensive line. Both position groups are keys in defensive yards per game, creating turnovers and having a run-game.
The ‘22 Eagles have the best defensive line in football this season and led the NFL with 70 sacks. The ‘17 Eagles weren’t too shabby either, with players like Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Chris Long, Tim Jernigan and Derek Barnett. This Eagles team has Graham and Cox still, Hasson Reddick, Josh Sweat, Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh.
Each team also had a three-headed monster at running back, which contributed to elite run-games.
- ‘17 Eagles: LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement
- ‘22 Eagles: Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott
Both Eagles teams did everything right to be great. If the Eagles finish the 2022 season with confetti falling in Arizona, they will be in lockstep with the 2017 Eagles.