Super Bowl 2023: Key moves, turning points and crucial wins in Eagles' NFC title run
For most of the offseason, the Dallas Cowboys were favored to win the NFC East. The idea that the Philadelphia Eagles would not only win the division but be in the Super Bowl seemed farfetched.
The Eagles had an improving quarterback in Jalen Hurts, a fantastic supporting cast on offense and a top defense. They got off to an 8-0 start and went on to get the No. 1 seed in the NFC. After two dominant playoff wins, the Eagles are back in the Super Bowl.
It was an impressive season from Week 1 on for the Eagles. Even those who liked the Eagles coming into the season probably didn't expect them to be as good as they were.
Key moves: Eagles swing big in offseason
The Eagles had the best offseason in the NFL. They pulled off a heist of a trade with the Tennessee Titans, grabbing No. 1 receiver A.J. Brown for a first- and third-round pick. The signed pass rusher Haason Reddick to a reasonable three-year, $45 million deal, and Reddick had a huge season. They grabbed cornerback James Bradberry on a cheap one-year deal after the Giants cut him in a salary cap move. All three were huge pieces for the Eagles' 14-3 season. The Eagles ended up having arguably the deepest roster in the NFL this season.
Crucial win: Philadelphia blows out Vikings
If there's a valid criticism of the Eagles, it's that they played a very easy schedule. Even if their record was inflated by a schedule that Football Outsiders ranked as the league's softest, they did handle business against just about every opponent. The Eagles were 16-1 this season, counting playoffs, in games that Hurts played.
The Eagles did get an early-season win that opened some eyes. They were a small home favorite against the Minnesota Vikings for a Monday night game in Week 2, and they ripped the Vikings 24-7. They outgained Minnesota 486-264. The defense forced three turnovers. Hurts had 333 yards passing, 57 yards rushing, a passing touchdown and two rushing touchdowns. That performance on national TV was the first sign the Eagles might be elite.
Turning point: A clutch win at Indianapolis
The Eagles didn't face many challenges during the season. They mostly blew out opponents, at least when Hurts was healthy (Philadelphia went 0-2 when Hurts was out with a shoulder injury). There was one potentially problematic stretch during the season, however.
The Eagles lost their lone game with Hurts on a Monday night to the Washington Commanders. The Cowboys were right behind Philadelphia in the division race at the time. The Eagles went to face the Indianapolis Colts the next week and were on upset alert from the start. The Eagles never led for the first 58 minutes, and were trailing 16-10 at the two-minute warning. But the Eagles came up with a huge drive, with Hurts running for three yards on fourth-and-2 and then a seven-yard touchdown on third-and-goal with 1:20 left. Philadelphia's defense got a stop after that and the Eagles held on.
The Eagles might have been fine even without that clutch win at Indianapolis. But it was the start of another five-game winning streak that led to a division title and the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The Eagles weren't tested like that often this season, which is a testament to their dominance. The one time they did need to pull a win out of the fire, Hurts came up huge.