Eagles' ability to laugh at adversity has them atop NFL

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Sometimes you beat the Vikings by 17 points or the Steelers by 22 points or the Titans by 25 or the Giants by 26.

Sometimes everything seems to go right.

And sometimes everything seems to go wrong.

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Even the best teams in NFL history have challenging moments, difficult days. There’s a reason only one Super Bowl champion has made it through the regular season undefeated. It’s so hard to keep winning week after week after week because so many things can and will go wrong. It’s just the nature of the game.

Those are the moments that separate the good teams from the great ones.

And one of the biggest reasons the Eagles are 13-1.

Nothing gets to this team.  

Nothing bothers them. Nothing affects them. 

Short week? Trap game? Consecutive road games? Poor conditions? Injuries? Fourth-quarter deficit? 

None of that stuff matters.

This team is so ridiculously focused on next play, next rep, next snap that all the stuff that we’ve seen topple other teams is irrelevant to the Eagles.

They nearly blew a 17-point 3rd-quarter lead in the opener in Detroit but after the Lions cut the lead to three with 3:51 left, they ran out the clock with a clutch 81-yard drive.

They fell behind Doug Pederson and the Jaguars 14-0 before scoring 29 straight points and winning 29-21 – only their third win in 23 games since 1993 when they trailed by 14 after the first quarter.

They nearly blew a 14-point lead in Arizona before a ridiculous eight-minute, 70-yard drive and a game-winning field goal by Cameron Dicker in his first NFL game.

They watched a 20-point lead against the Cowboys dwindle down to three before converting three straight third downs on a clinching 75-yard touchdown drive in the 4th quarter.

They were tied with the lowly Texans in the middle of the third quarter before finally pulling away on a couple Jalen Hurts TD passes.

They trailed the Colts by 10 in the 4th quarter coming off their loss to Washington before more late Hurts heroics, including a 4th down keeper and 3rd-and-goal TD run.

And on Sunday in Chicago, on a brutally cold and windy day when nothing came easy, when they had three turnovers and missed a chippie field goal, when they could have easily folded against a fired-up 3-10 Bears team, they just kept fighting and once again found a way to win.

You’re not going to blow out the other team every week, no matter how talented or well-coached you are. 

So those close, difficult, challenging games are the ones that truly define a football team. 

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The Eagles have won seven games by two possessions, which means they’re 6-0 in one-possession games. Those are all games that could have gone either away. A play here, a play there, and any one of them could have been a loss.

But they’ve all been wins. 

That’s the sign of a team that’s locked in, that’s clutch, that has that rare ability to block out all the mistakes and misfortune and negativity and function at the highest level when the stakes are the greatest.

The Eagles have been around for 90 years and have never been 6-0 in one-possession games. They were 4-0 in 2004 and went to the Super Bowl, 2-0 in 1949 and won the NFL Championship and 6-1 in 1960 and won the NFL Championship.

The best teams, the ones that go on deep playoff runs, don’t make excuses or point fingers or blame someone else. They just figure it out. They find a way. They find ways to win games that don’t seem winnable. They find ways to win trap games, on short weeks, on the road, in bad conditions or when they’re down by double digits and nothing is going right and everything seems hopeless and a hostile crowd is going bonkers and time is running out.

When you truly are focused only on the next snap, the next play, you can insulate yourself from any distraction out there.

The Eagles’ ability to do that consistently and routinely is remarkable. It’s a direct reflection of Nick Sirianni constantly preaching don’t look back and don’t look ahead as well as Hurts’ ability to stay calm no matter what sort of chaos is swirling around him.

The blowouts are fun. But it’s games like the Lions, the Cards, the Colts and the Bears that have defined what this team is. 

Yeah, they have really, really good players and coaches. But they also have the one thing that’s even more important. A profound belief in themselves and each other that allows them to overcome any obstacle in their way.

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