Eagles tackle Lane Johnson cannot wait to prove doubters wrong Saturday when Philadelphia faces off against the Falcons at 4:35 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field in the NFC divisional round.
“I think everybody perceives us as being the weakest, and that is fine,” Johnson told reporters Tuesday, via ESPN. “I think that is good. I think if teams want to overlook us, that is good. We’ll just see about Saturday. … We’re excited. We know what people are saying.”
The Eagles were seen by many as the favorite to win the NFC after a 31-3 Week 12 win over the Bears. Philadelphia was 10-1, it had an MVP candidate in Carson Wentz at quarterback and had all but locked up a first-round bye.
Three weeks later, the Eagles had lost to the Seahawks in Week 13 and, worse, Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury in a win over the Rams in Week 14. That is when Johnson saw a difference in how people were portraying the Eagles, who still led the NFC.
“What bothered me was we were 12-2 [at the time] and treated like we were the Browns,” he said. “It happens, but I think although we don’t like it, it’s a good motivator to have people not write good things. I think it’s the best motivator there is, and you can go and change it.”
Philadelphia has gone 3-2 since Week 12, and 2-1 since losing Wentz. However, a 6-0 loss to the Cowboys in Week 17 and a lackluster performance by backup QB Nick Foles in a Week 16 win over the Raiders brought out the doubters. Johnson and teammate Malcolm Jenkins heard those doubters, and they are eager to show they are still a very good team.
“I feel like we’ve got a lot of people in this locker room who have been doubted their whole lives and have continued to prove people wrong,” Jenkins told reporters Tuesday. “We’ve done it all year, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon.”