Doug Pederson's message for Eagles: Focus on today, not Pats' mystique

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Pederson to Eagles: Focus on today, not Pats' mystique. Jamie Apody reports during Action News at 4pm on January 25, 2018. (WPVI)

When you play the New England Patriots, you're taking on not just a team, but a mystique.

Tom Brady. Bill Belichick. Five Lombardi Trophies. Two decades' worth of dominance. It's the elephant in the room, andPhiladelphia Eaglescoach Doug Pederson addressed it on Thursday.

"That's obviously a real question. That's a real issue that you have," he said. "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."

The Eagles held their first practice of the week Thursday in preparation for Super Bowl LII. They are rolling in with a head of steam, having dismantled the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 in the NFC Championship Game to set up a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX. This is just the Eagles' third Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, while the Patriots are making their third appearance in four years.

Pederson was asked how he can ensure that his players aren't mentally impacted by the mystique of the "larger than life" Patriots.

"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."

Pederson has done an excellent job this season keeping his group focused on what's important. They have not met a moment that has been too big for them to this point, and they've had very few letdowns along the way to a No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs and an eventual Super Bowl berth. Pederson knows that will have to continue for 60 minutes on Feb. 4.

Asked what stands out about the Patriots that makes them a championship-caliber team, Pederson pointed to their resiliency.

"Just put on that Jacksonville game. Here's a team that gets down in a game early, and there's no panic. They just stay the course. They execute their game plan," he said. "Defense is creating turnovers. They're getting three-and-outs, they're getting the ball back to their offense, and that's what they're doing.

"It's just an efficient group. 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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