Good morning, Eagles fans. Jalen Hurts’ performance in his first game as a starting quarterback helped the Eagles snap a four-game losing streak in Sunday’s 24-21 win over the visiting New Orleans Saints. It probably improved the overall mood in the Delaware Valley by 1,000 percent.

While coach Doug Pederson wouldn’t say in his postgame news conference that Hurts would be the starter next week against Arizona, even the Eagles coach admitted that the rookie provided a major spark.

Hurts will be the talk of the town all week as the Eagles prepare to make one of their patented late-season runs under Pederson.

If you like what you’re reading, tell your friends it’s free to sign up here​. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @SJnard.

— Marc Narducci (earlybirds@inquirer.com)

Another late-season charge by the Eagles?

This is Pederson’s fifth season. and he can only hope that the Eagles continue their late-season pattern of dominance since he has taken over. In each of the previous two seasons, the Eagles have made late-season runs that earned them a playoff berth.

Here is a look at the Eagles in their final four regular-season games each year under Pederson:

  • 2016: 2-2

  • 2017: 3-1

  • 2018: 3-1

  • 2019: 4-0

  • 2020: 1-0

  • Total: 13-4.

Even this record doesn’t tell the entire story. In 2017, the Eagles’ Super Bowl season, they lost their season finale, 6-0, to the Dallas Cowboys, but the game meant nothing to them. The Eagles had already earned home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. In that season finale, Pederson sat several starters and pulled many others by halftime.

In 2018, the Eagles won their final three games and clinched a playoff berth with a 24-0 road win against Washington in the final game of the season.

Last year, the Eagles were 5-7 before winning their final four games. They clinched the NFC East with a 34-17 win in the regular-season finale against the New York Giants.

Breaking it down further, the Eagles have an eight-game winning streak in the final four games of the regular season. They won the final three in 2018, all four last year, and are 1-0 this season.

Pederson has come under plenty of scrutiny this season for the way Carson Wentz has regressed. More than ever, Pederson’s play-calling also has come into question. Yet there is no denying that these late-season surges show that he doesn’t lose the locker room. Even in the 2016 season, when the Eagles finished 7-9, they won their last two games, fighting down to the end.

A cynic would suggest that if the Eagles were more consistent in the regular season, that they wouldn’t need these late charges.

There is obviously something to that. And this year the Eagles are being helped by playing in the NFC East, the worst division in the NFL. That said, the Eagles’ ability to keep fighting under Pederson is apparent. The Eagles have just three games remaining, and once again they are playing meaningful football in December under their fifth-year head coach.

What you need to know about the Eagles

From the mailbag

“Why does the team play great for everyone except Wentz?” — @Curtsminkey on Twitter.

Thanks for the question, Curt; I got several with a similar tone. It wasn’t that long ago (last year) that the Eagles played great for Wentz. One reason the Eagles played so well against New Orleans is that Hurts didn’t throw an interception. Wentz has become a turnover machine this season, with 15 interceptions. Many are because he hangs in the pocket too long instead of throwing the ball away or running out of danger. Hurts might have broken out of the pocket early a few times, but at least he was gaining positive yards. He didn’t hold onto the ball too long and was decisive. The threat of him running also opened things up for Miles Sanders and the ground game. New Orleans didn’t seem to have an answer for Hurts’ scrambling, and the Eagles fed off the energy he created with his legs. In past seasons, when Wentz played well, his teammates would follow. That didn’t happen this year and a lot of the blame goes to Wentz for poor decision-making and execution. Players feed off a quarterback, and, for his first NFL start, that is what happened with Hurts.