Eagles

Nothing to celebrate yet, as far as Eagles are concerned

Nothing to celebrate yet, as far as Eagles are concerned

The world's most focused team just keeps on winning. And keeps on shrugging it off.

The Eagles won their seventh straight game Sunday, demolishing the Broncos and their vaunted defense, 51-23, to head into the bye week 8-1.

Normally this sort of thing is cause for celebration.

Not in the Eagles' locker room.

They're too busy figuring out when their next practice is to get excited about being the best team on the planet.

“We're just focused on one thing and every single week somebody’s in the way of us reaching our goal, and that’s winning the division, getting in the playoffs and making something happen once we get there," Rodney McLeod said.

"This week, the Broncos were in the way. They were that roadblock. That's all that was on our minds. All we care about is, 'Who's in our way next?'"

The Eagles head into the bye riding the eighth longest winning streak in the franchise's 85-year history. They haven't lost since they fell to the Chiefs in Week 2 and they seem to be gathering steam with each passing week.

They've been basically unstoppable for nearly two months.

“It means that we’re here and we kind of control our own destiny, and that’s a good place to be," Chris Long said. "But there is a lot of football left. Just getting into November, this is when games get bigger and bigger, but they’re big games because we put ourselves in a position to have big games.

"I think a healthy confidence is good and we’ve done a lot of good work to get to this point, but we also need to take it to another level when we get back.”

This team's focus is remarkable. They literally let nothing distract them.

Injuries? Trap games? Letdown games? Looking past an opponent? Taking a week off? It simply doesn't happen with this team.

"It’s the leaders on the team," said Brandon Graham, who is one of them. "People that have been in this spot before, having success, and who know what it takes.

"We know how it is and how things can change based on (our) attitude. … Everybody’s just out there having fun and not getting too big-headed about what’s going on. Just living in the moment."

The Eagles are one of only two teams in the NFL that hasn't lost a game by more than a touchdown.

The other is the Rams, who are 6-2 with a red-hot second-year quarterback of their own in Jared Goff. The Eagles-Rams showdown in Los Angeles in mid-December is looming as a possible battle for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Not that anybody is looking that far ahead.

"We are where we are because that group in the locker room," head coach Doug Pederson said. "They are playing with a lot of confidence. They love to play together. They practice extremely well during the week and prepare themselves, and they are doing the little things right. That's what you want out of our football team."

How rare is it for a team to win seven straight games and score 26 or more points in all seven games?

The Eagles are the 26th team in NFL history to do that. Which in the big scope of things is very, very few.

“Man, we don't get complacent at all," Jalen Mills said. "We have the wins. We know the record. We know we’re winning. But at the same time, it’s like a 24-hour rule with us. We're happy after we win, but when we get back in (the next day), everybody’s focused and it switches to our next opponent.

"It's always the team in front of us. Coming from last year, starting as fast as we did (3-0) and then being up and down, we learned a lot from that.

"We’ve got guys on our team who are hungry, guys who sacrifice their stats, guys who don’t care about their body, guys who don't care about anything but winning. Sacrificing everything to help the guy next to them.”

Things will get harder. Soon.

The Eagles have only beaten one team that currently has a winning record -- the 6-3 Panthers. Their eight wins have come over seven teams with a combined 25-41 record.

And among their next four opponents are the 5-3 Cowboys, 5-3 Seahawks and 6-2 Rams.

So we'll know what the Eagles really have here in about five weeks.

But for now, 8-1 in an NFL where no other team even has seven wins is a remarkable place to be.

"For us to be at 8-1 right now, it's a tremendous credit to the guys and coaches in the locker room," Pederson said.

"Hats off to those guys for the way they work, the way they practice, and prepare. And standing here today looking back at it, I'm not surprised by the way they work."

QB clash in NFC title game is what makes sports great

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AP Images/USA Today Images

QB clash in NFC title game is what makes sports great

Life is just too darn predictable. Death, taxes, partisan politics, some form of Law and Order running on cable, Liam Neeson rescuing someone.

That predictability often seeps into the sporting world as well. Alabama playing for a national title, the Cleveland Browns playing for no title and the Patriots owning the NFL. We’ve been there, done that, too many times.

That’s why the Nick Foles-Case Keenum South Philly showdown for the right to play in the Super Bowl is an awesome, unexpected gift bestowed upon us by the sports gods.

Think about the premise of someone suggesting to you prior to the season that Foles and Keenum would be playing for an NFC title. You wouldn’t even have gotten to the point of laughing them off. You would have dismissed that person and probably sought an intervention for them before it even got to that point. But that’s what makes this matchup so unique. Take last year’s final four quarterbacks for example. Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady. Three Hall of Fame locks. With the exception of Ryan, all have won a ring and all are perennial Pro Bowlers. The blue bloods of the league. Predictable.

This year’s box of QB chocolates is what makes sports great. Foles and Keenum were overlooked, written off, one-time starters who washed out at their previous stops. Foles even contemplated retirement. Yet here they are, one guaranteed to be playing in their sport's ultimate game. If you throw Blake Bortles into the mix in the AFC, three of the four quarterbacks left standing would have been completely unthinkable prior to the season.

It’s also what makes this Eagles season and this run that much sweeter. Even if they had stayed healthy all season, few of us saw them playing for the right to take home the Lombardi Trophy. Let alone with Foles, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Jake Elliott and the fill-in crew. Foles' and Keenum’s success could also go a long way in dispelling the myth that if your starting quarterback goes down, your season is over. Granted, the Eagles, Vikings and Jaguars all have phenomenal defenses, which helps quite a bit. 

Both quarterbacks have their work cut out for them considering the ferociousness of those defenses they will be facing. But taking into account what both have been through to get to this point, I don’t think either will be daunted. One thing we also know for sure, the game and the quarterback matchup will be anything but predictable.

Lane Johnson using underdog status to raise money for Philly schools

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Lane Johnson using underdog status to raise money for Philly schools

How do you turn being a home underdog into a good thing? Use it as motivation to win a football game.

How do you turn being a home underdog into a great thing? Raise money for Philadelphia schools and win football games. That’s what Lane Johnson is doing.

After the nation doubted the Eagles against the Falcons, Johnson and Chris Long donned dog masks after divisional round win, embracing the role of underdogs. Now, Johnson has his own T-shirt and is raising money. A lot of it, too.

Shirts can be purchased at lj65.shop for just $18 and Johnson tweeted that more than 3,000 have already been sold.

Hopefully, the home dogs continue to eat this weekend against the Vikings.