Eagles

Eagles

The Eagles hear it. 

As much as they'd probably like to insulate the walls of the NovaCare Complex and tune it all out, they can't. They know what's being said about their team. 

Despite being the No. 1 seed, nobody is really giving the Eagles much of a chance without Carson Wentz in these playoffs. Despite being the No. 1 seed, they're more David than Goliath. 

"You see it because you get tweeted or you're watching ESPN or something," Torrey Smith said. "You know, you can't expect everyone to believe in you. No one believed in us before the season even started. I feel like our message has been the same since Day 1. It's just that more people hopped along when Carson started playing like the MVP — by the way, he is the MVP ... I'll go ahead and throw that out there. You can't expect everyone to believe in you. 

"We say it all the time: we're all we got, we're all we need. That's the way we approach it. The guys in this locker room go out there and play our best and put our best foot forward."

Over at Sports Illustrated, 10 of 11 staffers have the Eagles losing in the divisional round. It was 9 out of 10 at ESPN (see story)

 

It's all to be expected, of course. Despite winning three of their last four games, the Eagles simply haven't looked like the same team since Wentz went down in Los Angeles. Nick Foles has struggled over the last couple of weeks. 

It might seem strange because they're the top seed, but the Eagles are taking an "us vs. the world" mentality into the playoffs. 

"At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what the outside world thinks," Jay Ajayi said. "Because at the end of the day, when you're on a team, it's a bubble. We believe in what we have in this team. And obviously, the media, they come out with the storylines and everything that's going on, but we don't buy into that. We believe in what we have. We understand what's in front of us and we're in a great position to go achieve our goals. Other teams are at home right now. We're ready to go get it done next week. Excited to see who we'll be playing." 

Rookie ready 
Derek Barnett missed the Eagles' regular-season finale, resting because of a groin injury. But he said he's fine and ready to go for the playoffs. 

Barnett said he never hit the "rookie wall" we hear so much about, but said he just needs to continue to get better. Barnett finished the regular season with 25 tackles and five sacks. He was a big part of the defensive line rotation. 

What does he want to do in the playoffs? 

"Make plays and help us win," he said. "That's what I hope to contribute. Play my role and do what I can do best to help the team win. That's anything, get to the quarterback, block kicks, special teams. Whatever I can do, I'm going to try my best." 

No respect
The numbers show that the Eagles have an elite defense (see story).

The Eagles sort of know that the defense is going to need to carry the team into the playoffs without Wentz. At times this season, the defense has faltered — think 504 yards against the Giants — so maybe that's why Jim Schwartz's unit doesn't get mentioned among the top ones in the league.

Stop us if you've heard this before, but the Eagles are using that slight as motivation. 

"I think it keeps motivating us, at the end of the day," linebacker Nigel Bradham said. "You go and look at the teams we've faced and the players that we've faced. We faced some of the top running backs. And to do some of the things we did, it doesn't go unnoticed by us. Maybe it goes unnoticed by other teams. It's just a respect thing, keeps a chip on our shoulder, continue to motivate us and prove that we're the best defense." 

 

Quote of the Week I: "We've earned the right to sit and watch games for a week." — Chris Long 

Quote of the Week II: "We have an opportunity to win and put ourselves deep into the playoffs. We win one game, we’re in the NFC Championship at home. I don’t care who we got at quarterback, who we’ve got on offense. We’ll take those odds." — Malcolm Jenkins 

Quote of the Week III: "Basically we're getting ready for war out there. Three-game season, leave it all out on the line. That's our focus." — Ajayi (see story)

Random media guide note: Jason Kelce's three items needed on a deserted island: duct tape, lighter, fishing pole.