Philadelphia Eagles: Why Home Field Advantage In Playoffs Is A Must

The Philadelphia Eagles will enter their game against the Seattle Seahawks with a clear goal on their mind– keep winning. However, with the NFC East clearly in hand, how far are the Eagles willing to go to stay the best team in the NFC?

The Eagles are one game ahead of the Minnesota Vikings and two ahead of the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams, and Carolina Panthers for the best record in the NFC. If the Eagles can take care of business on their end, then the road to the Super Bowl will go through Philadelphia and Lincoln Financial Field (The Linc). Why is that so important you ask? What’s the one thing each of those teams has in common? Good January weather.

Have you been to Philly in January lately? The normal temperature will rest between 20-45 degrees. While that may seem normal in most NFL cities, teams like the Vikings, Rams, and Saints all play indoors. While the Panthers are not a dome team, their weather in Carolina in January usually hits around the 40-70 degree mark.

What that means is that the Eagles will enter each playoff game with what could turn out to be a clear advantage. Now, NFL players are no strangers to cold weather games. Nonetheless, when a team plays in this on a regular basis, compared to teams who may face this once a season, there is a slight advantage.

Take the Rams for instance. They play in a division that houses the San Francisco 49ers (hot), Arizona Cardinals (dome), and the Seattle Seahawks (cold). The Saints are a dome team and play in a division in which they face the Panthers (warm), Atlanta Falcons (dome), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (hot). The one team where the playing field might be slightly even will be the Vikings. The Vikes are a dome team but they also face the Chicago Bears (cold), Green Bay Packers (cold), and Detroit Lions (dome) twice a season.

The cold weather causes problems for all quarterbacks. Another advantage is having one who understands how to manage the cold, and winds. This could be the difference in a first-round exit or Super Bowl trip. While Carson Wentz is only in his second season, he and the Eagles will be favorites. Not only record-wise but in regards to the weather as well. However, that’s not to say that a veteran like Drew Brees or Cam Newton cannot come into The Linc and escape with a victory.

Additionally, the cold weather does also play a crucial part in terms of the running game. The Panthers still have three capable runners with Newton, Jonathan Stewart, and Christian McCaffrey. Furthermore, the Saints can counter with a deadly two-headed monster in Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Similarly, the Vikes will deploy Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray to help ease the chill off their bones. Nevertheless, the Philadelphia Eagles are one of the best defenses in terms of stopping the run. That will force quarterbacks to try to beat them through the cold and windy air.

The Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions play at snow-covered Lincoln Financial Field during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

What the Eagles plan has to be is to make receivers like Devin Funchess, Michael Thomas, and Robert Woods beat them with their hands. While the rule books will say it’s 11-on-11, with the wind chill, it’s more like 11-on-12. In favor of the Eagles. But, cold weather is still cold weather and players are human. People in Alaska are used to the cold yet, they still wear coats and dress warmly.

The Philadelphia Eagles are no different. However, if I was the Rams or Saints, my goal is to snatch home field away from the Eagles. On the other hand, by doing that it forces the Eagles to play indoors. Is that really an advantage for the other teams? If they are good in the cold, just imagine how dangerous they will be indoors.

 

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