Eagles Ready For Major West Coast Test
PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Eagles enter the month of December with the best record in the NFL. They have started the season 10-1 for the fourth time in franchise history. Each of the last three times they started 10-1 the Eagles made it to the Super Bowl (2004 & 1980) or the NFL Championship Game (1949).
The Eagles are dominating opponents lately having won by 28 points or more in three straight weeks. They are the only NFL team to score 20 or more points in every game this season. The Eagles have also scored 30 or more points in five straight games.
You get the picture, this team is on a roll. Doubters say the Eagles have not really played anyone and had a bit of an easy schedule to date. The birds will get the chance to prove them wrong with a difficult west coast swing that begins this weekend.
The Eagles will visit the Seattle Seahawks Sunday night. They will remain on the west coast and practice in Los Angeles the following week leading up to their game in LA against the Rams. Both of those teams are in the playoff mix and lurking in the Eagles shadow as it relates to the NFC standings.
“For us there is nothing to measure,” Safety Malcolm Jenkins chuckled. “We are our measuring stick. We prepare to be the best every week. We have a lot of respect for these teams that are coming up in Seattle and LA.”
“There are a lot of big matchups with good teams,” Quarterback Carson Wentz stated. “Being on the road and being away from home for a while will be big for us. We’re very confident right now coming off of this win at home and we know what to expect. We’re excited for it.”
Eagles players are looking forward to this trip and the opportunity it presents. A successful west coast trip could all but lock up a first-round bye and potentially home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
“This is our season right here,” Defensive End Brandon Graham said. “This is where we separate ourselves if we want to get that bye. We have to go out there and we have to win.”
“The goal right now is to get that first-round bye,” Tight End Zach Ertz declared. “That is the one thing we can control right now. We are focused on getting that and setting up for success in the postseason. These games are huge coming up.”
The trip begins with a difficult game in Seattle. The Seahawks have enjoyed a tremendous advantage at CenturyLink Field in recent years. The Eagles lost in Seattle 26-15 a year ago.
“We played there last year,” Head Coach Doug Pederson said. “It's loud. We have to handle the crowd noise. It's a great opponent, great team. They are well-coached, good players, the whole thing. So [we] got our work cut out for us. [It is going to be] a challenge, but we'll be ready to go.”
“Every time I’ve been up there it’s been a very hostile environment,” Jenkins shrugged. “Their crowd gets into it. They take a lot of pride in it. Their team is a prideful group that’s confident. They play well and are well coached.”
After dominating teams like the Bears, Cowboys and Broncos in November, the Eagles are looking forward to what should be a more difficult task and potentially learning a little more about themselves in the process.
“It’s a good test to see where we are as a team,” Center Jason Kelce explained. “Right now we got one loss on our record and it was an away game. We are going to get two away games against two of the best teams in the NFC. This is going to be a good test to see where we are at and see how we handle it and I am looking forward to seeing how our team does.”
The Eagles currently hold a one-game lead over the Minnesota Vikings for the top seed in the NFC. They are two games ahead of the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers with five games remaining in the regular season.