The Eagles have known they were going to the playoffs for some time and they found out who they would be playing on Saturday when the Falcons beat the Rams, which just leaves the little matter of actually getting on the field.
For many Eagles, this will be the first opportunity that they’ve had to get on the field in a playoff game. During his Tuesday press conference, Eagles coach Doug Pederson was asked if he wonders how those players are going to react to their first postseason experience.
“Oh, yeah, you always wonder,” Pederson said. “Do you wonder? Yeah, there’s going to be wonder. But I’m going to tell you, listen, these guys are football players. I think sometimes the outside, whether it be the media, the fans, can make it bigger than it really is. When you boil it down, it’s football at the end of the day. It’s football at the end of the day. Just go do your job. Do what you’ve been coached to do all week long and give it your best effort on Saturday. If it’s good enough, great. If it’s not, then we focus on next season.”
Pederson’s message about keeping it simple extends to quarterback Nick Foles, who doesn’t fall into the category of players without playoff experience. He started the last game the Eagles played in the postseason, a 26-24 loss to the Saints after the 2013 season, but that experience won’t quell worries after he completed one pass on third down in his last two regular season starts.
Pederson said he doesn’t think Foles has a “confidence issue” and that he’s going to encourage him to “go be Nick” when he takes the field on Saturday. If that’s enough to get a win, it will make for the first upset involving a first seed winning a home game and, presumably, fewer questions about jitters the next time out.