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Doug Pederson Advises Eagles to Not Focus on Patriots' Mystique, Super Bowl Wins

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2018

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson speaks with members of the media during an NFL football news conference at the team's training facility in Philadelphia, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. The Eagles face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52 on Sunday, Feb. 4, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is aware that facing the New England Patriots also means facing the legacy and "mystique" of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the organization that has won five Super Bowls since the 2001 season.

But he also knows the Eagles can't focus on what the Pats have done in the past, per Tim McManus of ESPN.com: 

"That's obviously a real question, that's a real issue that you have. These guys have been there, they've done it, they've proven it time and time again. My biggest focus with the team is let's just focus on today, let's just win today, let's get better today, and we'll worry about that when we get to the game.

"Obviously it's a credit to what the Patriots have done and their careers and their history and everybody is trying to win championships like that, but we've just got to focus on today."

Pederson added that the Eagles need to focus on themselves and not worry about the Patriots' past successes. 

"You know what? If I make this all about them, we're in trouble," he said. "Honestly, we're in trouble. Everything's going to be written about it—everything has been written about it—talked about it, debated, and it's about us. I'll keep saying that. It's about what we do and how well we execute and I can't worry about that."

The Eagles are five-point underdogs against the Patriots, per OddsShark.com, though they were also underdogs against the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings this postseason as well.

That, in large part, is due to having Nick Foles under center rather than Carson Wentz, who was having an MVP-worthy season before tearing his ACL in December. The Eagles have gone 5-1 since that injury, however, the latest example of the team overcoming adversity this season.

Before Wentz, key contributors like running back Darren Sproles, offensive tackle Jason Peters and linebacker Jordan Hicks were lost for the season. Cornerback Ronald Darby also missed eight games due to injury. 

Beating a Patriots team that equaled Philadelphia's 13-3 regular-season record and is the defending Super Bowl champion is no easy task, however, especially with arguably the greatest quarterback in history in Brady and the greatest coach ever in Belichick.

Pederson isn't ignoring that fact nor disregarding New England's talent in general, but he's not lingering on it, either.

"It's just an efficient group," he noted. "That's why it's important for us that we make sure that we continue to detail what we do in practice, we execute our game plan, guys are focused that way, and you just can't get caught up in what they do. It's more about what we do in this game."

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