Are the Eagles ready mentally?

January 8, 2009 8:45:08 PM PST
Most athletes will tell you sports is just as much mental as it is physical. And an expert tells us from her point of view the Eagles are looking strong both in the body and in the brain. For the Philadelphia Eagles, it's been a season of ups and downs. "I was a little doubtful there for a while," fan Marie Niven-Himes said.

But recently, there's been an undeniable shift in the right direction. "When they beat the Cowboys, that was great," said Brian Lohbauer. Tiesha Grundy said,"44 to 6 against Dallas, that's history."

And that momentum is what Jen Croneberger of Excellence Training Camps, Inc. said can help the birds continue to win. Croneberger is one of few certified mental game coaching professionals. They help athletes overcome mental obstacles to succeed.

Croneberger said because expectations were low, the Eagles played the last few games as if they had nothing to lose and it worked. For the New York Giants, it could be just the opposite.

"They're the returning world champions, there's a lot of expectations for them," Croneberger said.

High expectations lead to pressure and if players put too much pressure on themselves, They could lose focus. When the pressure was off, the Eagles shined. "If you look at the sidelines, the guys are laughing, they're smiling, they just look like they're playing relaxed and that's important at this point."

"This is the start of something special," Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said to the team the night after they beat the Minnesota Vikings. The players seem to know they've found their focus and are confident. Croneberger believes coach Andy Reid's decision to bench Donovan mid-season played a role in that confidence.

"I believe it was a good gut check for McNabb to be able to say, I'm not above this, I am part of this team and I need to pull my weight and he certainly responded," she said.

Now it's up to the team to stay focused. Croneberger said they can't expect to win Sunday just because they beat the Giants four weeks ago. But they do need to believe they can win.

"We're going to go in there, we're going to battle, we're going to fight, going to give it all we got and see how it turns out," Eagles cornerback Asante Samuels.

Fans predict the Eagles will turn out another victory. Fan Quincy Jacobs predicts "24 to 7, Eagles!"