Doug Pederson wants team's focus on Redskins, not the future

Several players could be wearing an Eagles uniform for the final time, plus more on Sunday's matchup

Even though Sunday’s game could be the last one for longtime Eagles Brandon Graham and Jason Peters, Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, and others, head coach Doug Pederson has done his best to try to divert them from thinking about that.

“I want them to think about the Redskins and playing this game, said Pederson. “If we're fortunate, we're going to continue to play next week. I just want them focused on that and not worrying about the future.”

The Eagles need to beat the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on Sunday (4:25 p.m. kickoff) and the Chicago Bears, who are already in the playoffs, have to beat the Vikings in Minneapolis for the Eagles to extend their season, otherwise an important offseason for the Birds will commence.

The Bears control who they can play in the postseason. If they lose to the Vikings, Chicago would host Minnesota in the opening round of the playoffs. If the Bears beat the Vikings and the Los Angeles Rams beat the 49ers, then the Bears would host the Eagles – provided they win on Sunday – next weekend.

Nobody would want to play the Eagles right now, because a win over the Redskins would be their fifth in their last six games. That qualifies as red-hot, plus they have Foles, the magic man at quarterback.

“Hopefully the Bears don’t sit their starters because the Rams are beating the 49ers,” said Graham. “There’s a lot of stuff that’s going on. Yeah, obviously I’m into it because I want to give ourselves a chance. First we have to win the game then obviously the Vikings do have a big chance against the Bears, but at the end of the day, I like our chances as long as we go out and take care of business.

“It would be a tragedy if you go out there and worry about another team and you don’t even take care of what you’re supposed to and that’s go out there and try to win against the Redskins. I think we just have to not get all caught up in it, let everything take care of itself, but we have to take of business on Sunday.”

The Eagles have only themselves to blame for the precarious situation they are in.

If they don’t make the postseason, they could look back at overtime losses to the Titans and Cowboys, a home loss to the Cowboys, and a 17-point lead they let get away in the fourth quarter against Carolina.

If they don’t make the postseason, it would the fourth time in five years they didn’t make it, with the only time they did make it being their Super Bowl triumph in 2017.

“We dug this hole for ourselves early in the year,” said defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. “There were games we didn’t finish but we’re finishing games right now. I feel we have pretty good momentum right now. We just need to keep it going. Most importantly, we have to win this game right here and we’ll see where we’re at when the clock hits zero.”

Sproles to the Hall?

Sunday could be the final game of Darren Sproles’ career. Could his next stop be Canton and the Hall of Fame?

His numbers make a strong case.

His 19,428 career all-purpose yards rank sixth on the NFL’s all-time list, trailing Jerry Rice (23,546), Brian Mitchell (23,330), Walter Payton (21,803), Emmitt Smith (21,564), and Tim Brown (19,682).

All are Hall of Famers except Mitchell.

Sproles, though, is the only player in NFL history with 30-plus receiving touchdowns, 20-plus rushing touchdowns, one-plus kickoff return touchdown and one-plus punt return touchdown.

A reminder

Foles, who was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week, threw four touchdowns last week and finished with a franchise-record 471 passing yards. He also completed 15 of 16 passes on third and fourth downs for 193 yards, three touchdowns, and a passer rating of 156.5.

Finally

Pro Bowl guard Brandon Brooks is one of only three NFL offensive linemen with 15 games started and no sacks allowed this season. He has played 1,016 snaps. The other two linemen are Baltimore’s Marshal Yanda (1,086 snaps) and New England’s Joe Thuney (1,051)…

Rookie running back Josh Adams has the ninth most yards by a rookie in team history with 461, ahead of Steve Van Buren’s 444 in 1944. LeSean McCoy is at the top of the list with 637. A big day could launch Adams even higher since there are a jumble of players between him and McCoy…

Tight end Zach Ertz has the second most receptions of nay player this season, with 113, trailing only New Orleans’ Michael Thomas, who has 120. Ertz could pass Thomas, because Thomas’ reps may be limited with the Saints not having anything left to play for on Sunday after already clinching the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.

Prediction: EAGLES 27, REDSKINS 13

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