What did the Eagles learn from back-to-back losses? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
It’s a playoff game before the playoffs begin. It’s a must-win that never should have happened. It’s the biggest game of the year but they should have been playing the backups.
The Eagles blew two chances to clinch No. 1 seed in the NFC and a 1st-round bye and now they have to forget about it and find a way to beat the Giants Sunday.
No more chances after this one.
“You’ll see our resilience,” Dallas Goedert said. “The last two weeks haven’t gone the way we wanted to, but we’re sitting here in Week 18 playing for the division title, playing for the No. 1 seed, and that’s everything we ever wanted, to be in this position at the end of the year. We want a good feeling going into the playoffs, and that’s what you’ll see.
“We have so many good players on this team. We killed ourselves last week. A lot of self-inflicted wounds against a good team, a good defense. We just have to go out there and put a full game together.”
Because if they don’t … well, let’s not even go there.
“When you’re winning, especially as much as we’ve won this year, you get complacent at times, it’s human nature,” Haason Reddick said. “Things are going well, a lot of people, they fall back and get complacent and we have to make sure we don’t.
“We have three losses now, and that should be three reminders or three lessons that should have taught us that, ‘Hey, if we’re not locked in and focused on what we need to do, we can very well lose.’ I think each one of us knows that, it’s about going out there and getting it done.”
The Giants, 9-6-1 after a 6-1 start, are locked into the No. 6 seed, so they don’t really have a reason to play their starters, although coach Brian Daboll – who worked with Nick Sirianni on Romeo Crennel’s Chiefs staff in 2012 – hasn’t said how he’ll handle Sunday’s game.
But whether or not the Eagles are facing the Giants’ starters or backups, whether or not Gardner Minshew or Jalen Hurts starts at quarterback, all that matters is that the Eagles find a way to win and avoid the turnovers, penalties and mistakes they’ve made the last two weeks.
“Yeah, we had two back-to-back losses, but that doesn’t affect the process,” Jordan Mailata said. “The process is always the same whether it’s a win, loss or a draw. What happened happened. We can’t keep talking about the game when we have another game to prepare for.
“Fix what needs to be fixed, but that’s every week. That’s always what it’s been about. It may be repetitive, but, bleep, it’s working. Big reason why we’re 13-3. When we’re winning, it’s the same thing.
“Nick came in last year and built that foundation and then it rolled over to this year and everyone bought into it, and when you have all the guys on the team buying into the same system, it’s pretty effective. Proof is in the pudding.”
The Eagles are 13-3 after a 13-1 start. Allowing for the longer season, no team in NFL history has ever opened a season 12-1 and failed to win its division or earn the top seed in its conference.
If the Eagles lose Sunday, they’ll finish second to the Cowboys in the NFC East and be the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoff bracket with a likely wild-card trip to tampa. Unless the Cowboys lose to the Commanders and the 49ers lose to the Cards.
“You want to approach it the same way you approach every game as far as preparation,” Reddick said. “But there’s no doubt in the back of my mind I understand how important this game is, and I know everybody does. There’s no way around it.
“What we’re trying to accomplish as far as getting the one seed for the playoffs, everybody knows it. The one thing is making sure you keep the approach the same, keep the same work you kept all year the same, and during the week remind yourself not to do anything uncharacteristic of what you’ve been doing all year.
“If anything, just being a little more detailed and focused on doing what you can do the right way.”