As the Eagles work to get the bitter taste of their season-ending loss in Dallas out of their mouths, they can take solace in the opportunity for revenge and the ultimate stage that it comes on.
Although the regular season ended in disappointment, the Eagles are in the playoffs for the eighth time in the past ten years and, as past season's have proven, once you're in the playoffs, anything can happen.
"We're in the playoffs," said defensive tackle Mike Patterson. "We still have a chance to fight. We felt that we did well last year in the playoffs and we have to go out and continue that success this year."
The win-or-go-home ramifications of postseason play are familiar to Patterson and other veteran Eagles.
"Like everybody says, it's faster, things are louder and everybody's out there playing like it's their last game because it possibly could be," said left guard Todd Herremans.
But there are also players in the Eagles' locker room, veterans and rookies alike, who will be experiencing postseason play for the first time.
"I've never been in the playoffs, personally," said safety Sean Jones, who spent his first five seasons with the Cleveland Browns. "I want to continue to get deeper and deeper so we can get a Super Bowl. From day one when I got here, that was my main goal - to try and help this team win a Super Bowl. This is the first round of the playoffs. We have to knock out the Cowboys and keep going from there.
"If we go out there and everybody plays like their hair is on fire, I think we'll go down there and be successful. It's going to take a total team effort."
Another veteran who will taste the playoffs for the first time is defensive end Jason Babin.
"I'm very excited about it," said Babin, also a five-year veteran. "You could see last week that the speed, the tempo was picking up. I would imagine this Saturday it's going to be even faster."
For right tackle Winston Justice, the playoffs are familiar, but his role in them is not. The rematch in Dallas will mark the first postseason start in Justice's career.
"It's a wonderful opportunity and it's really a blessing to be out there playing and I'm really going to give God the glory," Justice said. "When you get beat up like (we did last week), you want to come back and fight the guy again. In some other words, you kind of want payback, but you also want to keep your mind cool and look at it like this is a playoff game; this is just one step of many."
And then there are the rookies. The first-year players in the Eagles' locker room knew when they arrived in Philadelphia that the playoffs were considered an expectation, and now they'll see it first-hand.
"I'm just excited to go out there for my first playoff game," said running back LeSean McCoy. "It's something I've kind of always looked forward to ever since I was little."
Meanwhile, strongside linebacker Moise Fokou is trying not to get distracted by the consequences of Saturday night's big game.
"Honestly, I don't really think too much about that," he said. "All I hear is playoffs, playoffs, everything is faster. I just think of it as the next game. If I start thinking about all that stuff, then it will really affect me and how I play, so I just think about it as the next game and go out there and prepare the same way and try to get a (win)."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 7:30 a.m., January 7