Carson Wentz will finally get his opportunity to write his own chapter in the Philadelphia Eagles history books, making his first postseason start after missing the playoffs the last two years with injuries. Wentz will be playing in January for the first time, but has played in “win or go home” games in each of the past two weeks, as the Eagles have been fighting for their season throughout the month of December.
As Wentz prepares for his first playoff game, the Eagles aren’t going to ask him to do any more than what’s needed.
“The last month they have been playoff-type games for us,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday. “This team is battle tested that way and we prepare that way. I think in Carson’s case, he doesn’t have to focus on that. He doesn’t have to focus on anything more than just continuing to lead this team and doing the things that have made him successful down the stretch here.
“I don’t want to add any more stress or pressure on him. Just the game itself, it’s a one and done mentality and I want him to play free and not have to worry about things in the past that are out of our control at this time. We are going to focus on Seattle and getting prepared for them.”
In 2019, Wentz has played his best football when the Eagles needed him most, completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 1,199 yards, 7 touchdowns and no interceptions for a 100.8 rating over the past four games. He’s completed 73.3% of his passes for five touchdowns in the second half of each of those games, averaging 160 passing yards.
Wentz has been playing his best football with a questionable supporting cast at the skill positions. Greg Ward, Deontay Burnett, and Robert Davis each were called up from the practice squad after November and are now producing as Wentz’s top three receivers. Dallas Goedert has 34 catches for 350 yards over the past six games and may have to fill in for Zach Ertz (rib) as the No. 1 tight end once again this week. Boston Scott, another practice squad signing from October, has 350 yards from scrimmage over the last four games. Scott has filled in for Jordan Howard while he was out with a shoulder injury and will be relied upon to help Miles Sanders, who is recovering from an ankle sprain this week.
Wentz is not letting the pressure mount or get to him prior to this weekend’s game.
“I think the biggest thing, and this is something that I’ll keep addressing the team this week, is we have so many young guys that haven’t been in these games and the emotions run high. Just keeping the emotions in check and just calming your nerves a little bit, especially early in the game.
“I think in games like this, especially in Carson’s case, being able to get him to settle into the game and try keep the emotions the best we can. Everybody is going to be excited. Seattle is going to be excited. It’s a great opportunity for both teams. But how we handle that I think during the week helps us, especially in games like this.”
The most important chapter in Wentz’s Eagles storybook takes place this Sunday.