Doug Pederson said it about five times during his 17-minute press conference on Monday afternoon.
The Eagles still have a lot to play for.
“Right now, we're still in the hunt, we're still leading the division, so we have a lot to play for right now,” Pederson said.
On some level, sure, he’s right. Despite the loss and the fact that two other division teams picked up wins, the Eagles remain in first place in the NFC East with a 3-6-1 record.
FiveThirtyEight still gives the Eagles the best chance to win the division:
Eagles: (3-6-1) — 34%
Giants: (3-7) — 25%
Cowboys: (3-7) — 23%
Washinton: (3-7) — 18%
And PointsBet, our NBC Sports betting partner, still has the Eagles as the favorite to win the NFC East:
All pretty hard to believe, right?
Of course, the Eagles will not be in first place of the NFC East going into Monday night’s game against the Seahawks. The Cowboys host Washington on Thanksgiving and the winner of that game will take over first place. And then the Giants have a very winnable game against the Bengals on Sunday.
So there’s no way the Eagles will be in first place come Monday and there’s a decent shot they’ll be third out of four teams in the NFC East before having to face a team that has completely owned them in recent seasons. And then they play the Packers, Saints and Cardinals before finishing the season off with two division games.
Pederson has made it pretty clear that he’s not even considering benching Carson Wentz right now and the reason he gave on Sunday night was that he would be worried about the message that would send to the rest of the team. On Monday, he was asked if he’d be handling this the same way if the division wasn’t as pathetic — my words — as it is.
“That’s a hypothetical question and I’m not getting into that,” Pederson said.
When pressed on the play of his quarterback and asked if he’s worried that not benching Wentz might actually send a message about a lack of accountability, Pederson began pointing out all the flaws the Eagles have. And they have plenty.
“There is enough to go around that none of it is excusable,” Pederson said. “We all hold each other accountable, coaches and players. That's why I keep saying that we have a lot to play for. There is a lot of pride here. That's what we're going to do.”
While you could certainly make a case that sitting Wentz would give the Eagles a better chance to win the division, Pederson doesn’t think so. And his focus as the head coach is to win the division. That’s also why there’s a built-in excuse for the Eagles to play aging veterans instead of younger players.
Right now, the Eagles are 3-6-1 and in a position that we’ve never seen in the NFL before. They have three wins through 10 games and are in first place in a division and are still the favorites to win that division.
If the season ended today, the Eagles would win the NFC East and would end up with the No. 19 pick in the draft. Meanwhile, the Cowboys, who have the same number of wins, would end up picking fourth. You know where this is going …
The rest of us can wonder if it wouldn’t be better to end up with a top draft pick, but that’s not for the head coach to worry about. Pederson is still trying to win games because that’s his job.
“Listen, I guess it's a hard task, right? It's an uphill battle,” he said. “But we just have to do our part. I've got to coach better, we have to practice better, and ultimately, we have to play better in order to really get this thing back on track.”
If you don’t believe that they’ll get it back on track — you’re not alone — Pederson and the Eagles have six games left to prove it to you.
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