Jalen Hurts, Eagles Clinch 2022 NFL Playoff Spot with Packers' Win over Vikings

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 3, 2022

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JANUARY 02: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball during the first quarter against the Washington Football Team at FedExField on January 02, 2022 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

From last place to the playoffs.

The Philadelphia Eagles clinched a spot in the postseason Sunday with the help of the Green Bay Packers' 37-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football. That, combined with the Eagles' 20-16 victory over the Washington Football Team and the San Francisco 49ers' 23-7 win against the Houston Texans, wrapped up a postseason spot for Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Eagles @Eagles

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It was quite the turnaround from their last-place finish in the NFC East during the 2020 campaign.

Last season was more of an anomaly than this one considering the Eagles made the playoffs in each of the three prior seasons. They won the Super Bowl during the first season in that stretch and have their eyes on another Lombardi Trophy after clinching another playoff spot.

It certainly didn't look like Philadelphia would be in the postseason out of the gates.

The team struggled to find any consistency in the early going of the season and fell to 1-3 on Oct. 3 with a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and 3-6 with a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 7.

However, the combination of the rushing attack, defense and timely throws from Jalen Hurts propelled a dramatic turnaround.

The Eagles won five of six to improve to above .500 for the first time since they won their opener against the Atlanta Falcons. The fifth win in that six-game span came via blowout fashion against the New York Giants and cemented their spot in the middle of the crowded NFC wild-card picture.

That win underscored the team's ability to impact the game in a number of ways, as the defense picked off New York quarterbacks twice while Hurts threw two touchdowns. The running back trio of Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and Jordan Howard also combined for 123 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

It set the stage for the final two-game stretch to end the regular season against the Football Team and Dallas Cowboys.

While catching the Cowboys in the division is out of the picture, few teams were playing better with the playoffs on the horizon after Sunday's win over Washington.

The NFC will likely run through some combination of the Green Bay Packers, Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams or Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Philadelphia remains a threat to whichever team it faces with a defense that is sixth in the league in yards per game, a quarterback in Hurts who is capable of making plays with his arm and legs, a deep running back room, and an offensive line that is opening up head-turning running lanes.

Those matchups are now on the table after the Eagles clinched their playoff spot.