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Weapon X Mailbag: Who do the Eagles have the best chance of beating in the playoffs?

Plus: Best Eagles pump-up songs?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

PLAYOFFS APPROACHING!

THE HYPE FROM THIS MAILBAG IS OOZING!

If you have a question for a future mailbag, you can tweet at me or send an email to bleedinggreeninfo (at) gmail (dot com).

@LEE_YUM_GR80: Who do we have the best chance to beat in round one between the Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Rams?

The Eagles can face one of four possible teams come Wild Card Weekend: the Cardinals, the Buccaneers, the Cowboys or the Rams.

Here’s how I’d rank them based on the team I most want the Eagles to face to the team I least want the Eagles to face:

  1. Cardinals
  2. Rams
  3. Buccaneers
  4. Cowboys

My rationale:

  • The Cardinals had a great win over Dallas yesterday, but they’ve been more than suspect in the second half of the season. It seems unlikely that star wideout Deandre Hopkins will play in the postseason. The Eagles might even have the head coaching advantage over Kliff Kingsbury.
  • Matthew Stafford looks like he could combust at any moment’s notice. He has as many playoff wins to his name as Jalen Hurts does.
  • Tom Brady is Tom Brady. That Tampa Bay defense continues to ride high after giving the Buccaneers a Super Bowl win last year. Again, they have the best player of all time on their team who improbably seems to be playing better football than he ever has before as a 44-year-old signal-caller.
  • Playing the Cowboys in back-to-back games heading into the playoffs gives me bad 2009 vibes. The Eagles are an entirely different team than they were when the two squads faced off way back in Week 3, but I can’t help but envision a 75-yard touchdown to CeeDee Lamb on the first play from scrimmage and everything going to hell from there.

I can see all sides here though. Kyler Murray could run circles around the Birds’ defensive line. The idea of Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. causing havoc on the Eagles’ backend is terrifying. The absences of Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown are huge blows for the Bucs. Mike freakin’ McCarthy is the Cowboys’ head coach. I’ll ultimately convince myself the Eagles will pull an upset regardless of who they play because I’m a freak.

@GoodhartJustin: How does this defense allow the WFT to score on all 4 possessions in the first half and look genuinely abysmal and then blank them in the 2nd half? Are we too harsh on Gannon or is it the result of us playing some bad teams?

This Eagles defense will only go as far as their pass rush takes them. The lack of pressure the defensive line got on Washington quarterback Taylor Heinecke early on Sunday was truly pathetic. Giving opposing quarterbacks too much time to throw leads to those absurd completion percentage numbers the Eagles were surrendering to begin this season. Despite a four-sack effort down in Landover, Maryland, the Birds are still just 29th in the NFL in sacks.

If Fletcher Cox can play like his 2018 self and Josh Sweat continues to thrive, they could be a force. I’m not super confident in it right now. Javon Hargrave needs to be the Hargrave we saw to kick off 2021. Continued development from rookie Milton Williams would be a boost too.

In the heat of a game, any defensive coordinator can be infuriating, but Gannon has done a decent enough job. Has he done enough to get future head coach buzz? Absolutely not, but Gannon has the dudes in the linebacker group and guys like Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox looking infinitely better than they did in 2020.

@Playing_Opossum: If, by chance, the Bucs pull out with a late game drive to win, does the draft go: CB, LB, OL instead of Edge, WR, CB?

Can we be positive for a second, enjoy the playoff magic, and not assume a loss against an opponent that hasn’t even been decided yet? Why would Brady being Brady change the Eagles’ entire draft strategy anyway? It shouldn’t and it won’t.

EDGE is sneakily the top need for me with Brandon Graham’s devastating injury. It’s obvious the emphasis the Eagles organization puts on the trenches too. A guy like Georgia’s Travon Walker would be on my radar in the mid-late first round come April.

@3_AV_Crue: Rank top 5 pre-playoff game pump up songs (I will help if you need.)

Great question, AV.

“Dreams and Nightmares (Intro)” by Meek Mill is such an obvious answer for Eagles fans that I’ll set it aside. Like, your grandma might know the words to it by this point.

Here are some choice cuts:

I had to include a different Meek song, right? Another album-opening track, “Lord Knows” has the same rags-to-riches energy as Meek’s most legendary song.

Its use as the pump-up training montage song in Creed solidifies its position on the list too:

I want to be on Broad Street shouting that chorus alongside hundreds of people the night the Eagles make the Super Bowl.

Used in the now iconic Eagles hype video before the 2013 season, “It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning” makes me want to reflect on the totality of my life before imagining myself running out of the tunnel at Lincoln Financial Field. The build up is cathartic and when those pulsating drums hit, I just lose it.

It’s a track that sums up getting your ass kicked and keeping on keeping on no matter what.

An iconic Philly anthem! That jangly guitar intro whipping into a power pop bop is perfect.

I came out swinging from a South Philly basement, caked in stale beer and sweat under half-lit fluorescents and I spent the winter writing songs about getting better, well, if I’m being honest, I’m getting there.”

That hits your soul.

@FlyGoalScoredBy: Quick question for the mailbag: Can they fricken’ do it?

In the words of a wise man: