The Philadelphia Eagles are in great position to clinch a playoff spot after beating the Dallas Cowboys but their work isn’t done yet. Doug Pederson and Malcolm Jenkins both stressed as much in their postgame locker room victory speeches.
DOUG PEDERSON: “I told you before the game when we stood in this locker room: ‘You were built for this.’ Okay? You’re made for this right now. This time of the year, where we are as a team, nobody on the outside gives us a chance. But you guys in this room believe. Coaches believe. Everybody believes and that’s what it takes. A little bit of faith, okay, can move mountains. I’m not here to preach or anything but I’m telling you what. Okay? Hey, I’m so proud of you guys. So proud of you guys. My hat is off again for the way you come to work, men. You won this game during the week. The sky’s the limit with this team. I’m so happy. I’m literally so happy, man. Defense, I’ll tell you what now, that was a great performance. You kept that team out of the end zone. Out of the end zone. And offense, hey, when you needed to put a drive together, you put a drive together. You did that. Big plays. Special teams, special teams, Cam [Johnston], a couple punts in there, covering those kickoffs, great job. I’m talking about a great job all around, team effort.
Hey, we ain’t done. We’re not done. Because you know what, you know what we gotta do next weekend, right? Next weekend clinches the entire thing. You understand? I want you to enjoy this. And I want you to take care of each other. Because we are not done … YET!
We’ve obviously seen Pederson pull out the “no one believes in us” card in the past and it’s worked well for this team. Pederson was asked about as much on Monday.
Q. Do you feel like you’re at your best when you guys are in an underdog mode? We saw it with Carson going down in 2017 with Nick Foles, we saw it last year again and now we see it with all these injuries on offense. Do you feel like you’re messaging and the way the players perform for you —
DOUG PEDERSON: I think the guys really respond to adversity. You don’t ever want to be in this situation with so many injuries and the way our season has gone to respond this late in the year. You’d love for this to happen -- we’ve talked about this before, but you want to maybe respond a little bit sooner in the season. But I think that, listen, me handling the football team and dealing -- I just keep it as honest and keep it as transparent as I can with the guys and say, ‘Guys, this is where we’re at and this is who we are. Let’s embrace it. Let’s just spend each day getting better, and just focus on today,’ and that’s kind of been the messaging down the stretch. Kind of whatever happens, happens. If we stick together and trust in each other and do those types of things, because a lot has to happen for a win in the National Football League, and these guys trust in each other and that’s what it takes and that’s what you’re seeing right now.
Of course, plenty of people did believe in the Eagles until they under-performed and created doubt.
The Eagles won’t be able to play the underdog card in Week 17 because they’re significant road favorites against the 4-11 New York Giants.
Q. You guys won’t be the underdogs on Sunday. How do you emphasize not taking a Giants team, that could play spoiler to an NFC East rival, lightly?
DOUG PEDERSON: Just put on the film and watch the Giants right now. This is a good football team. It’s a good football team. This defense that we’re playing is a good defense and they have some young guys in the back end and they are playing really well, as well. This is a big defensive line. What Daniel Jones did yesterday, coming off an injury and doing those things, and they have weapons on offense. And we have a lot on the line. We have the NFC East and we have a possible playoff spot. What we’ve done to this point, does it matter? Yeah it matters, but you know what, it’s about going 1-0 this week and again, putting the hard work and the preparation in to try to win a game, and it’s hard, but our guys will be up for it.
I thought Jenkins set the tone well in his postgame speech, not unlike he did ahead of Dallas week.
MALCOLM JENKINS: “Ay, same thing we said last week, man. Enjoy this s*** but this is not the destination. Y’all know what we gotta do. All the chips are in on next week. My mind is there already, bruh, I’m telling you. Prepare all f***ing week and get ready to go win this f***ing division. Let’s take what’s ours.
The Eagles did the heavy lifting by beating the Cowboys. Now it’s time for them to seal the deal with a win over the Giants.