For Eagles, a 2-2 start historically means playoffs


Is 2-2 the end of the world? Maybe not.

The Eagles have made the playoffs the last six times they’ve opened a season 2-2, a streak that dates back to the 1980s.

Three of the last four times they’ve been 2-2, they’ve even reached the NFC Championship Game.

What does that really mean for the 2018 Eagles? Maybe not much. But it should give fans some hope that despite a couple ugly road losses in September, the season isn’t over.

Here’s a look at the last eight times the Eagles opened a season 2-2:

2010: The Eagles found themselves 2-2 after an ugly 17-12 home loss to the Redskins and their new quarterback, Donovan McNabb. But they went out to San Francisco and beat the 49ers, Kevin Kolb out-dueling Alex Smith, and went on to win the NFC East at 10-6 before losing to the Packers at the Linc in a wild-card game.

2008: Still one of the more improbable runs in Eagles history. They were still a .500 team at 5-5-1 after a 36-7 loss to the Ravens when McNabb was benched for Kolb. But they won their next three and made the playoffs on the last day of the season when the Texans upset by the Bears, the Bucs upset the Raiders and the Eagles beat the Cowboys 44-6. The Eagles then won road playoff games in Minneapolis and East Rutherford, New Jersey, to reach the NFC Championship Game, where they blew a fourth-quarter lead and lost to Kurt Warner and the Cards 32-25.

2003: The Eagles were actually 2-3 after a Week 5 loss in Dallas before reeling off nine straight wins and winning the division at 12-4. The 4th-and-26 OT win over the Packers sent the Eagles to the NFC Championship Game, where they suffered a grotesque 14-3 loss to the Panthers at the Linc.

2001: After a 3-3 start, the Eagles won eight of their last 10 to win their first NFC East title since 1988. They routed the Bucs in a home wild-card game and then went into Soldier Field and beat the top-seeded Bears 33-19 to reach their first NFC Championship Game since 1980, losing to Warner and the Rams 29-24 at the RCA Dome in St. Louis.

2000: The Eagles opened 2-2 and were only 5-4 nine games into Andy Reid’s second year when consecutive overtime wins against the Cowboys and Steelers springboarded them to an 11-5 record for their first playoff berth since 1996. They beat Tampa in a wild-card game before losing to the Giants.

1989: After blowing an 11-point fourth-quarter lead against Joe Montana and the 49ers and getting killed at Soldier Field by the Bears, the 1989 Eagles were 2-2. But they won eight of their next 10 and earned a home wild-card game against the Rams, who embarrassed them 21-7 at the Vet.

1983: The last time the Eagles opened 2-2 and did not make the playoffs. They actually did win their next two games to reach 4-2 before a seven-game losing streak and finished 5-11.

1978: After a 2-2 start the Eagles still found themselves 4-5 after nine games before winning four straight. That team finished 9-7 and in their first playoff game since the 1960 NFL Championship Game lost 14-13 to the Falcons on Christmas Eve at Fulton County Stadium. That’s when kicker Mike Michel, who had replaced injured Nick Mike-Mayer, missed a PAT in the first quarter, a 42-yard field goal in the third quarter and a game-winning 34-yard field goal with 13 seconds left.

In all, teams opening up 2-2 have reached the playoffs 97 of 260 times since the current NFL playoff format went into effect in 1990. That’s 37 percent.

Some 13 teams opening 2-2 have reached the Super Bowl — the 1980 Raiders, 1981 49ers, 1993 Cowboys, 2007 Giants and 2003 and 2014 Patriots won it and 1979 Rams the 1995 Steelers, 2005 Seahawks, 2008 Cards and 1985, 1996 and 2017 Patriots lost it.

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