The 3-2 Eagles’ return to the scene of their Super Bowl victory marks the first stop on a six-week journey that will help everyone figure out whether they are a true contender in the NFC. From the upcoming road game against the Vikings, the Eagles go to Dallas and then to Buffalo, before hosting the Bears, Patriots, and Seahawks.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson was asked on Wednesday by reporters about the challenges presented by those teams, all of which have potent defenses.
“Thanks for reminding me,” Pederson replied. “We just focus one at a time honestly. We’re focused on the Vikings this week. This is a really good opponent. It’s a good test. They have a good defense, good offense, they’re well-coached, and they’re a disciplined group.
“But this is the start of kind of that run you’re talking about for us. If you want to get to where you want to get to at the end the year, these are games that are sort of benchmark games for us.”
Indeed they are. And it will not be easy. The first game could be one of the hardest, given the volume in Minnesota.
“We need a great game plan on both sides of the ball, really all three phases,” Pederson said. “Players have to execute that game plan. We have to handle crowd noise this week. It’s a loud, loud stadium obviously, so it needs to be a great week of preparation. Guys need to be dialed in.”
However this Sunday goes, everyone will need to be dialed in next Sunday night, when the Cowboys host the Eagles in a game that could go a long way toward determining the eventual NFC East champion.