”It’s tough not to control your own destiny but at the same time, if you focus on everything else that is going on and we have a slip-up because we’re not focusing on our jobs, it’s really not going to matter,” Eagles tight end Zach Ertz said.
By Harry Allison
The Eagles didn’t expect to be in this position after winning their first NFL championship since 1960.
They were the clear favorites in the NFC East and thinking repeat, but inconsistency and injuries plagued them from the start.
The Redskins were surprise division leaders when they opened 6-3. But they’ve lost five of six after starting quarterback Alex Smith and backup Colt McCoy went down with season-ending injuries.
”We have to set our goals high and we have to try to figure out a way to beat Philadelphia and focus on what they do and try to come up with a plan to best put our players in a position to make plays and win the football game,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said.
”That’s the only thing we can do right now moving forward. Are we sick about the position we’re in? Yes we are. There’s 15, 16 other teams that are in the same boat, and I expect they are going to go out and compete the last game of the year also. It’s no different here.”
The Eagles have been resilient, rebounding after a 41-point loss to the Saints dropped their record to 4-6. They won two in a row only to suffer a disappointing overtime loss at Dallas and learning afterward that Carson Wentz would be sidelined by a back injury.
Then Nick Foles stepped in and led the Birds to consecutive victories over 10-win teams. Foles, the Super Bowl MVP in the victory over New England, was outstanding in an upset win at the Los Angeles Rams and sensational in a comeback win over Houston.
Now, he has to do it again and it may not be enough.
If the Vikings win, the Eagles are eliminated. The playoff-bound Bears still have a chance to earn the No. 2 seed so a first-round bye is enough incentive for coach Matt Nagy to play his starters at Minnesota.
The Eagles can only focus on the Redskins.
”All we can control is our preparation and what we do on a day-in-and-day-out basis getting ready for the game, staying in the moment, controlling what we can control,” Foles said.