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Do Eagles Relish Spoiler Role?

Posted Dec 18, 2012

Without question, this is not where the Eagles wanted to be with two games remaining in the 2012 season. A three-way tie atop the NFC East has created what figures to be a chaotic finish to the regular season, but the Eagles are the only team in the division without a chance to make the playoffs. Still, the Eagles will be in the thick of the action with games against the Washington Redskins and New York Giants to close out the season. So is there some satisfaction in playing the role of spoiler with back-to-back NFC East games on tap?

"I'm not really happy with the way any of it's turning out, but us being the spoiler, we can do that," said tight end Brent Celek, who will be returning from a concussion that held him out of last week's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Redskins "are going to be ready to go when they come in here because they've got playoffs in their mind. They're going to be ready to go. So we're going to have to be geared up and ready to stop them."

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said he's anxious to play spoiler, and he's also looking forward to a bounceback performance against Robert Griffin III, who completed 14-of-15 passes against the Eagels back in Week 11 en route to a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating.

"It would be a great feeling to get a win against both those teams and try to mess up their playoff run," he said.

For some players, the ramifications of the final two games only serve as a reminder of what could have been this season.

"One of the most difficult things about it is you get down to a time like this and you look at how the race is and how it sets up and the records aren't that great," said defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins. "But to still not have a shot at it, that's what makes it the most difficult of all. You know, man, it set up perfectly for us to have a shot at it, but we didn't hold up our end.

"A lot of people ask what do you have left to play for? Playing against the Redskins and the Giants in the last two, there's plenty to play for there. Come out, rival game, approach it like that ... It'll be the last home game, try to get the fans a show out here."

Still, for the most part, the Eagles say they're mostly focused on getting wins for their own sake.

"We'd like to be in the other situation where we're fighting for the division," said quarterback Nick Foles. "We really just want to win the games. The first one's Washington and that's all I'm focused on right now is just beating them. The season hasn't gone the way we wanted it to but we still have the opportunity to play two more games and we just want to go out there and give our best versus Washington and we want to win."

"We're just trying to finish strong," said defensive end Vinny Curry. "We don't really need any fuel added to our fire. We're just trying to finish out strong these last two games and get ready for next year."

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