Resilient Eagles look to avoid consecutive losses
PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia Eagles went from being considered Super Bowl contenders to longshots in a one-week span.
That's why Chip Kelly preaches: ''Praise and blame are all the same.''
After dominating the Cowboys in a 33-10 win on Thanksgiving, the Eagles had seemingly stamped themselves as one of the elite teams in the NFC. But they followed up with a 24-14 loss at home to the Seahawks that dropped into the second tier behind Green Bay (10-3), Arizona (10-3) and Seattle (9-4).
They're 9-4 and tied with Dallas for first place in the NFC East going into Sunday's rematch against the Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field.
''They understand it doesn't define you,'' Kelly said about a bad loss. ''Someone says that you played well and you're real happy about it and then someone says you play poorly. I think you have to answer to yourself.''
The Eagles have been a resilient team under Kelly. They haven't lost consecutive games since Week 7 and 8 last year. They're 16-5 since.
Each time they've lost this season, the Eagles rebounded with two straight wins. They're averaging 36 points per game following a loss. They'll need another strong bounce-back effort and the Cowboys are the perfect opponent.
''This team has good resolve,'' Kelly said. ''There's no better thing to get their attention than playing the Dallas Cowboys at home in the Linc in front of our crowd, so I think they will be fired up for it.''
The Eagles practiced indoors Tuesday because of rainy weather, focusing on the mistakes they made against Seattle.
''We don't look at it like the past game is going to dictate our success this week,'' tight end Zach Ertz said. ''It's the business of football. It's a roller coaster. The highs are high and the lows are low.''
Kelly relies on his veteran players to make sure younger guys don't dwell on losses, especially when the stakes upcoming are high.
''We have a mature group of guys so that's never a problem,'' linebacker Connor Barwin said. ''This game is so important so late in the season.''
It might be tougher for some players to forget the loss to the Seahawks because guys like Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett criticized the Eagles afterward. But the Eagles realize there's a chance they'll play the Seahawks again in the playoffs.
First, they have to beat the Cowboys.
''They were the better team, but hopefully we see them down the road,'' linebacker Trent Cole said of Seattle. ''Our focus is on Dallas. It's a very big game and we have to win.''
NOTES: The Eagles released CB Roc Carmichael without making a corresponding roster move.
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