PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia Eagles are back to pointing to the future.
They entered the season as a rebuilding team with a rookie quarterback and low expectations. A 3-0 start changed everything and put playoffs in the conversation.
But the Eagles have lost six of eight and suddenly they're thinking about next season and beyond, even though they're mathematically still in contention.
''I do think we're heading in the right direction,'' coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday, a day after a 27-13 loss to Green Bay .
''We have a process. We're going to stick with that process and that routine. You look back on seasons like this and some of the close games that we were in and you learn from them and it puts you in better positions in the future. So we just continue the journey, continue the process.''
The Packers (5-6) came to Philadelphia reeling. They had lost four straight games and no team had defeated the Eagles in their house. But Green Bay has No. 12 and Aaron Rodgers was spectacular .
Meanwhile, Carson Wentz and a mediocre supporting cast couldn't keep up. It didn't help that the defense couldn't make any stops, allowing the Packers to convert 11 of 15 on third and fourth downs.
These Eagles can't win shootouts. Not with Wentz learning on the job. Not without any real playmakers on offense.
Definitely not with No. 1 running back Ryan Mathews sidelined and No. 1 receiver Jordan Matthews missing most of the second half.
''These young guys are getting valuable, valuable reps,'' Pederson said. ''It may not show on the scoreboard and it may not show with the wins and losses. I totally get that. We're in this business to win games. That's why we're here.
''But at the same time, I look at the process. I look at the plan. I use those words because those are words that we use around here because there is a plan and there is a process. You build your team through the draft. You pick up a couple good free agents in the offseason. You continue to work. You watch these young kids develop and turn into ball players and you see the potential.''
Pederson took over a 7-9 team that had regressed under Chip Kelly. Wentz was drafted with the second overall pick to be the franchise quarterback, but he didn't get the starting job until Sam Bradford was traded eight days before the season opener.
With Bradford, the Eagles weren't expected to go anywhere. So, they're ahead of schedule because Wentz has taken every snap.
''I look at how Seattle has built their team. I look how the Raiders have built their team,'' Pederson said. ''I look at the plan that's been in place for a lot of teams around the National Football League that are having success now in their third, fourth, seventh years.
''That's the direction that we're heading in. I see us three, four years down the road. I see us seven, eight years down the road having consistency that way and winning more of these games than not.''
NOTES: Mathews (knee) is day to day. ... Matthews (ankle) is expected to be ready to play at Cincinnati next Sunday. ... RG Brandon Brooks also should return after missing the game with an illness.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-RobMaaddi