They were supposed to blow the Giants out. They should have blown the Giants out. The best team in football against one of the worst?
It didn't happen that way. And looking back at the way things unfolded Sunday at the Meadowlands, Doug Pederson says now there may have been some value in the way everything happened.
The Eagles escaped East Rutherford, New Jersey, with a way-too-close win over a last-place team, and Pederson says now being down two touchdowns to a two-win team on the road with your backup quarterback maybe wasn't the worst thing for this football team to experience.
"The beauty of it is, we were in a dogfight and we needed to be in a dogfight," Pederson said Wednesday.
The Eagles overcame a 13-point second-quarter deficit and a late Giants drive down to the 6-yard line to win 34-29 Sunday, clinch a first-round bye and improve to 12-2.
After a series of blowout wins, the Eagles over the last three weeks have lost to Seattle and overcome deficits against both the Rams and Giants.
Pederson conceded Wednesday the Eagles may have been looking past the Giants.
"I think sometimes it’s human nature," he said. "We’ve all been in situations where sometimes you just know you’re probably going to win the football game. At the same time, you either look past it or whatever goes through your mind.
"I can remember when I was coaching high school ball, and you kind of go through the week like, 'Oh, we got this,' and then you’re in a dogfight.
"The beauty of it is, we were in a dogfight and we needed to be in a dogfight the other day."
The Giants scored three touchdowns in the game's first 16½ minutes and led 20-7. The Eagles outscored them, 27-9, the rest of the way.
"I talk about starting fast every week on offense, defense and special teams and obviously, we didn’t start fast enough on defense and it was that wakeup call, and it’s going to happen," Pederson said. "Listen, it’s going to happen.
"Offense might be sluggish and the defense has to step up, and last week, it was the offense coming through. That’s the beauty of football. It’s a team sport. We were in a dogfight and we figured out how to win the game."
Sunday's game was the first the Eagles have won after trailing by 13 or more points since the Chip Kelly Eagles upset the Patriots in Foxboro in 2015 after trailing 14-0 in the first quarter.
"We rebounded and had a great second half and found out what our team was made of," Pederson said. “I just think it shows character, it shows grit, determination, the ability to pull out a game in the fourth quarter.
"The things we’ve talked about all season with this football team, that we learned from a year ago, and really understanding what’s at stake for us. What’s on the line. Just bearing down and doing your job and finding ways. Sometimes as ugly or sloppy as it can be, you figure it out."
During their nine-game winning streak, the Eagles outscored their opponents by an average of 17 points.
The last three weeks? They lost by 14 and won two games that were decided in the final minutes.
But the Eagles are now 4-0 in games decided by six or fewer points, and that doesn't include the Rams game, which was a two-point game until no time was on the clock.
Last year, they were 1-5 in close games.
Pederson said the Eagles need to understand how to win these close games with the playoffs on the horizon.
“Going to be in that (close) game," he said. "Because now, you’re talking about six teams that can win, the know how to win, who are there for a reason. Everybody is good and you have to practice well during the week and prepare well during the week and come to play.
"That’s definitely something we can lean on and learn from going forward, but we just can’t have those lapses during the postseason."