The Eagles are kind of pissed.
After posting the best record in the NFC, earning the No. 1 seed and fighting through injuries to nearly every one of their top players — including of course Carson Wentz, Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks (not to mention Fletcher Cox, Darren Sproles, Ronald Darby and more) — the Birds are getting no respect.
Nearly every prediction this weekend has the Falcons, the favored No. 6 seed winning in Philadelphia.
Forget the weather, which will be wet and cold and help the Eagles. Forget the Eagles defense, one of the top units in football. Forget the fact that Nick Foles has played in the postseason before and a top three NFL running attack. The league’s pundits have hung Philly out to dry and more than a few Eagles fans have already started hedging their high hopes.
In the Eagles locker room, the team is using it.
“What bothered me is we were 12-2, and we got treated like we were the Browns,” Pro Bowl tackle Lane Johnson said. “I don’t like it, but I think it’s a good motivator. We come in, and Nick Foles is the new quarterback. He’s not putting up 400 yards passing, so people panic.”
There is no shortage of bulleton board material for the Eagles, who seem to have gotten comfortable in the underdog role.
“Now it’s kind of in our DNA,” cornerback Jalen Mills said. “We know how people view us and see us and at the end of the day we find a way to win. After we won at Washignton but lost at KC a lot of media guys came in saying ‘people think the Eagles are done.’ We are over that. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion but at the same time this team, the coaching staff, we know the kind of work we put in day in and day out.”
Why is it that Philadelphia teams always seem to get treated like Rocky Balboa?
“I think if you look at when the Patriots are playing well, that’s expected,” wide receiver Torrey Smith saith. “The Steelers have high expectations. In the NFC the Rams are flying high, the Falcons were just there last year. There are a lot of teams who are very good. I can’t speculate on that but I know that we believe in us and in the end that’s all that matters.”