Eagles deserve to be underdogs this time


Good news! The Eagles can finally break out those dog masks again. 

The only difference is that this time, they’ve certainly earned the right to be counted out. 

The Eagles lost to the Panthers in truly pathetic fashion Sunday afternoon. They lost 21-17 after taking a 17-0 lead into the fourth quarter. It’s the second time this season the Eagles have blown a significant second-half lead in a loss. 

I just can’t seem to get over Doug Pederson’s message to his team. He relayed it to reporters Sunday night: 

“The message is that — quite frankly, I told them we have to learn from these. These are games that galvanize football teams, and this is going to do that. This is going to bring us even closer together. 

“Basically told them pressure’s off of us. Nobody on the outside world is giving us a chance to do much of anything. Pressure’s off, so we can go play, have fun and just relax. 

“A lot of football ahead too. We still have a bunch of games, and still, anything’s possible, anything can happen. We still treat it as one week at a time.” 

When asked later about what he meant by the pressure being off, Pederson spewed some malarkey about his team not being given much credit going into games, perhaps because of injuries. 

Go ahead … try to make sense of this: 

“No. 1, I think no one has really given us a chance anyway,” Pederson said. “Whether we’re putting pressure on ourselves to perform, to play, whatever it is, live up to a certain expectation, I think that’s it’s the point where I think that no one has given us that type of — maybe with the amount of injuries or whatever it is — given us much credit going into games.” 

He’s really trying to pull the underdog card? For a team coming off a championship? 

That’s just not true, by the way. The Eagles were favored Sunday. Everyone expected them to win. Everyone keeps expecting them to get back on track. 

The 2018 Eagles aren’t the underdog Eagles of last season. Those Eagles were counted out when they shouldn’t have been. Those Eagles were underdogs at home in the NFC Championship Game. Those Eagles exceeded expectations. Those Eagles won games they were supposed to lose. 

This team is coming off a Super Bowl championship. This team was expected to be one of the best in the NFL. This team is losing games they were supposed to win. 

Pederson said he didn’t think his team was feeling pressure to live up to last year’s success. He then said players and coaches put added pressure on themselves when they don’t need to. 

The whole thing was convoluted and hard to understand. I’m still not sure I do. 

But I get why Pederson is trying to start up that whole “us vs. the world” thing again. It worked really well for the Eagles last year, but it seemed to work because the Eagles continuously proved everyone wrong when they were counted out. 

This year, they’re earning those doubters.

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