First-time NFL head coach Nick Sirianni and the team went through its growing pains early in the season. The Eagles were just 3-6 after nine games. But things began to click as second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts and an offensive line led by All-Pro center Jason Kelce found its rhythm.
The Birds finished 6-2 in their final eight games and led the NFL in rushing. And there’s plenty of playoff experience on this roster, most notably in the trenches.
Kilff Kingsbury’s team won its first seven contests and was the last club in the league to lose a game in 2021. But the Cardinals, a franchise making its first postseason appearance since 2015, have dropped six of their last 10 games.
As was the case in 2020, Arizona’s offense sputtered a bit during the second half of the season. But this club also finished 8-1 on the road this season – including a 37-20 win over the Rams at Los Angeles in Week 4.
It’s surprising to think that a quarterback who has been in the NFL eight years will be making his first playoff start. But resilient Derek Carr was injured the last time the Raiders reached the postseason in 2016. He was the driving force to the team’s season-ending four-game winning streak.
The defense remains an issue, but ends Yannick Ngakoue (10) and Maxx Crosby (8) combined for 18 sacks. The franchise seeks its first postseason win since 2002.