Jan 5, 2024 - Sports

Reeling Eagles take on Giants, still have a shot at NFC East crown

Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown gets a hug from teammate Julio Jones.

A.J. Brown needs a big hug from Eagles fans. Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Smile, Eagles fans. You're not on candid camera, but we understand it might feel that way after the Birds have dropped four of their last five games since starting the season 10-1.

āœ… Reality check: The Eagles are 11-5 and have already clinched a playoff berth.

  • They're playing the lackluster New York Giants and have a chance to win the NFC East crown on Sunday, with a loss needed from the notorious fumble-the-bag Cowboys.
  • Nick Sirianni, who found himself answering questions about his future, is still a pretty decent coach by all accounts.
  • A.J. Brown, frustrated or not, is still one of the NFL's best wide receivers, and Jalen Hurts is still Jalen Hurts.

Why it matters: In this town, expectations of a second straight Super Bowl appearance have turned into late-season resentments.

  • One minute, it's all sunny in Philadelphia. The next thing you know, the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection has turned to shoving and disconnection.

What happened:: "Fly, Eagles, Fly," the song fans chant after every Eagles' score, was replaced by a more malcontent mantra: "What the hell are you doing?"

  • Fox cameras caught Eagles superfan Jasmine Kelly yelling that after the Birds' late-game play-calling turned conservative last week, leading to a 35-31 loss to the lowly Arizona Cardinals.
  • And then Philadelphia went back to making T-shirts, so at least the whole world isn't out of whack.

Zoom in: Brown basically got icicles thrown at him the last couple of weeks for giving the media the cold shoulder.

What they're saying: Why was he silent? "To avoid piling on negativity."

  • That late-game interception that sealed the Eagles' fate against Seattle? He and Hurt "improvised" on the play.
  • Afterward, Sirianni shouldered the blame, saying they were trying to draw a penalty.
  • "He really made himself look like a fool for us," Brown told reporters. "We're ridin' with Nick."

Be smart: Fans of the NFL ā€” or Not For Long ā€” quickly forget that Sirianni was the only first-year coach to lead his team to the playoffs in 2021.

  • They forget that he's 36-17 overall and the only Eagles coach in franchise history to get to the playoffs in each of his first three years.
  • And they forget that he embodies everything it means to be a Philadelphian. Tough, gritty, loyal and above all, thick-skinned.
  • "There may be things that Nick probably wants to fix about himself, but one thing I can respect is loyalty is not one of them," Brown said.

The bottom line: Show your guy a little loyalty this weekend, Philly. Take it from Jimmy Durante: "Smile, what's the use of cryin'."

  • The 4:25pm game is on CBS.

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