The Eagles were 4-6 following their 48-7 Week 11 loss to the New Orleans Saints. They have won six of seven since, including a 16-15 thriller against the Chicago Bears over the weekend to set up a rematch with the Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs on Sunday (4:40 p.m. ET).
“I think everyone knows what happened last time,” Eagles tight end Zach Ertz said. “That was probably the most humbling game I’ve ever played in. Phenomenal football team. The No. 1 seed for a reason. At the same time, no one expected us to be here. We’re playing with house money right now. We’re focusing on going 1-0 every week.”
“I think we’re a different football team now than we were then,” said coach Doug Pederson, “and you know, we’ve just got to put a good plan together in all three phases and, you know, go back down there. We’re on the road. It’s going to be in a dome. It’s going to be loud again, all those things. It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”
“Why wouldn’t it be?” safety Malcolm Jenkins said, when asked if he thought a rematch with the Saints was possible back then. “At that point in time, obviously, that’s the low point of our season, but at no point did we doubt that we have the locker room, we just knew that we had to put it together. Since then, I think we responded and earned our opportunity to go back down there.”
That loss in November to the Saints was painful to watch if you’re an Eagles fan. Drew Brees led an offense which torched us for 546 total yards. Brees burned our secondary for 4 TD passes. Carson Wentz had a horrible day, partly because our offensive line got roasted. The Eagles’ defensive line got little pressure against Brees. In short, nothing went right. Did Sean Payton run up the score on us? He won’t admit it, but Jenkins thinks he did.
“It wasn’t a good game for us but at the same time, the thing that impresses me about my team is even in those moments where it wasn’t a good game for us, we still stuck together,” Nick Foles said. “So it’s going to be a tall task this week. New Orleans, they had a bye week and they are a tremendous team. They had an amazing season but you know, I love these guys that I get to go play with. I know we’re ready for this week. Just one day at a time.”
House money. A puncher’s chance. The first Rocky movie or the second? Something to ponder before the rematch in New Orleans…