There is no secret sauce here, no hidden messages, or agendas: In Week 18, the Eagles have a job to do and that's to finish the regular season by beating the New York Giants and earning the first seed in the conference playoffs and, with that, a bye next when Wild Card Weekend is played.
"It's pretty straightforward," safety Marcus Epps said. "Our purpose is to go out and win on Sunday. That's what we're here for."
There are no other storylines. There are no other "matchups to watch." The Eagles, after two consecutive losses for the first time this season, have focused in on the task in front of them and that's to beat New York – no matter who is playing for the playoff-bound Giants.
"I've noticed at practice this week that it's business as usual. It's the dawg mentality. I've drug myself through the mud for each and every one of us of what happened and held ourselves accountable to what happened in that football game, and then I move on and I fix those things in attempts to get better, and now I'm just worried about one day at a time," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said on Friday. "To me, I felt like we had a really crisp practice yesterday. We had a great walk-through the day before. What I felt like it's just been, 'Hey, here we are. We're here. We're here. We're here. We're here. We're not worried about there. We fixed what happened here.' Because dawg mentality is not like, 'Hey, here. You forget about this,' – and this is the past, this is the future.
"You don't forget about this, you make yourself better from this, right? But once you get here, you build that confidence back up of where you are right now and what you've done so far and be better from that but be totally focused on this day. That's what I felt like. Listen, what I keep telling you and the guys keep saying it, like 'That's green, that's green, that's green, that's green' or 'Hey, that's blue, that's blue, that's blue, that's blue, that's blue, that's blue' so eventually you're like, 'Yeah, that is blue.' That's what we talk about at all times. Doesn't matter if you're coming off a two-game win streak, a two-game losing streak, 8-0, 2-5, whatever. That's the mindset of the team. That's the mindset of the culture. That's the mindset that we want everybody to have. I think we have great leaders here on our football team and that's to me the best teams think that way."
The Eagles expect to be closer to whole on Sunday with the potential additions of quarterback Jalen Hurts to the offense along with safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson and defensive end Robert Quinn to the defense – if the two latter players are activated from Injured Reserve. Hurts is the difference-making Most Valuable Player candidate whose absence has been most notably felt. His teammates are ready to welcome Hurts back to the offense after two weeks away.
"I'm excited. He's looked great out there," wide receiver A.J. Brown said. "Throwing the ball well. Looking like he's ready to go and I know he wants to play. It was hard for him being out, but that's the way this game is. We want to get this one, build some momentum, and get ready for the playoffs."
This is not a "win and in" proposition for the Eagles on Sunday because they've already clinched a playoff spot. This is the chance to win and claim the No. 1 seed and look back at a great regular season and correctly understand that the reward is the bye week and the home-field advantage.
It comes down to Week 18.
"Go and play the way we play," defensive end Brandon Graham said. "That's how we do it and I don't think anyone is going to hesitate. Let's go play Eagles football, play fast and be physical and smart and I think if we do that, we're going to be OK."
There really isn't a whole lot more to say. The stakes for Sunday are high. A win means so much.
A team that has done things the right way all season has one more test.
"We've been together all season and we have played our kind of football and prepared the right way and that isn't changing," cornerback James Bradberry said. "We have prepared all week the same way we've prepared throughout the season. This is Week 18. We know that with a win with get the No. 1 seed and I think all are focused in on that."