PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Wild Card weekend was a good one for the road team. Three of the four visitors picked up victories and moved on to the Divisional Round for the first time since the 2015-16 season when all four lower-seeded teams earned a spot in round two. The wins have their respective fan bases feeling good as the league gets ready for divisional play this weekend.
Eagles fans, in particular, are dreaming of another magical playoff run from the man they have christened “St. Nick,” quarterback Nick Foles. The MVP of last year’s Super Bowl is once again set to be the starter when the Birds head to the Big Easy to play the Saints in a rematch of a regular season meeting.
However, for as optimistic as the fans may be about the team’s chances of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, history is not on their side. Since the NFL introduced the Wild Card weekend of games as currently formatted in 1978, only four teams have ever won the three road games necessary to make it to the Super Bowl. The 1984-85 Patriots, 2005-06 Steelers, 2007-08 Giants and the 2010-11 Packers all accomplished the feat.
Three of those teams (Steelers, Giants, Packers) won the Super Bowl in the year they made that run. All accomplished the feat in the last 15 years, which should certainly give fans a reason for hope.
But, the odds are stacked against the Eagles, along with the Chargers and Colts, this year’s other two Wild Card Cinderellas. With four teams seeded 5 and 6 playing road games each year for the last 40 years, you’re looking at 160 teams that have had the chance with only four (.025 percent) making the Super Bowl and three (.018 percent) winning the whole thing. If you’re looking for hope in the projection models, FiveThirtyEight gives the Birds a 16 percent chance of making it to Atlanta and an 8 percent chance of winning while ESPN’s FPI has the Eagles at a 1.8 percent of taking home the hardware.
That all said, fans of these three teams are all likely looking at me and quoting Dumb and Dumber. “So you’re saying there’s a chance?” Yes my dear fans, yes there is. For the Eagles, a team that relished the underdogs role last season, they have the football world right where they want them.