Eagles underdog status means everything and nothing

The Eagles are hosting the NFC Championship on Sunday — one win away from the Super Bowl. It’s what players work for their entire careers, and many greats have failed to play in the big game.

Philadelphia doesn’t need a reason get motivated for this game. It’s a chance for a trip to the Super Bowl for goodness sake. But there is no shortage of bulletin board material for the Eagles as the game approaches.

Las Vegas, as everyone no doubt already knows, has Philly as a No. 1 seed, at home, likely to lose once again.

“To have a lot of sort of people not having a lot of confidence in us and yet to find ways to win just makes it that much more special for this group,” Eagels head coach Doug Pederson said, “and they understand where we are. I’m sure Minnesota is the same way. They understand where they are, as well, and the things they’ve heard all season long, too.”

Everywhere you look, the Vikings are being picked to go to Super Bowl 52, where they could be the first ever team to play on its home field. The doubters have fueled Philly’s fire all season long.

“Any time you get to this point of the season, you do want more because you’re on the doorstep of being one of those elite football teams,” Pederson said. “The word ‘special’ with this team, it really means that. This is a really good group of men that play well together, have battled through adversity all season long with the injuries, and yet still find ways to pull out wins.”

The Vikings have the best defense in the NFL and that’s another sticking point for the Birds. For the defense — which perhaps feels they are being slighted when compared inferior (however slight) to the Minnesota unit — and for the offense, which will have to prove they can score enough points to earn a win Sunday.

“As a defensive player when you’ve got the number one defense coming in statistically, obviously, it fires us up,” Fletcher Cox said. “We know going into this game that whoever’s defense plays better is going to win the game. The way we’re prepared, we won’t change nothing that we do. We’ll just go out and be ourselves.”

 And if the Eagles find a way to win? Expect to see dog masks everywhere — from the stands (Amazon.com reportedly sold out of all of their dog masks this week) to the locker room. Just like last week.

“Lane [Johnson] and Chris [Long] I think devised it last Thursday night that they were going to have these dog masks out there,” Zach Ertz said. “And then Lane got the shirt right after the game, and that thing has made a ton of money to Philadelphia schools, which is an amazing thing.”

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