How cruel of the Eagles to win on Monday night, pulling us all back
into the hunt for the playoffs like that. Why did they have to beat a
Panthers team expected to win Super Bowl XLI and take their spot in the
playoff ladder? Why couldn’t Jeff Garcia have just embarrassed himself
and taught coach Andy Reid a lesson for not opting for A.J. Feely? Why
did they have to build our hopes back up, only to disappoint us in
If the Eagles are going to disprove their city’s natural doubters,
they are going to have to accomplish one of the most daunting feats a
schedule can present: win three consecutive games, against your three
division rivals—all on the road.
There are several factors that make this task even more difficult
than it already should be. For starters, the NFC East is the most
competitive division in football. If the season ended last week, three
of the division’s four teams would have made the playoffs: the Dallas
Cowboys, the New York Giants, and the Eagles. The NFC East is also the
most spastic division this year, making analysts’ predictions look
downright stupid. The Giants blowing a 21-point fourth quarter lead to
the Titans? The Redskins beating the Panthers and Cowboys? Finally,
there are a plethora of other mediocre teams that can legitimately make
a playoff run in the NFC—six outside the NFC East to be exact.
The Eagles road ‘on the road’ to the playoffs begins tomorrow
afternoon, when they make the short commute south to do battle with the
Redskins. This should be Philly’s easiest contest. Less than a month
ago, they trounced Washington at Lincoln Financial Field 27-3, and this
will only be Redskin quarterback Jason Campbell’s third NFL start.
Next up are the violently reeling New York Giants. Plagued by
injuries, negative media, and an overrated quarterback in Eli Manning,
the Giants need to pull their act together quickly if they don’t want
to be taloned by the Eagles.
Finally, the marquee match-up against America’s Team: the Cowboys.
Former Eagles poison, Terrell Owens is having the last laugh in Dallas.
His new team is currently sitting comfortably atop the division with an
8-4 record, behind the surprisingly stellar play of America’s newest
wonder boy: Tony Romo. At this point, the Eagles will most likely be
vying for a wildcard berth, so a win entering their last game at home
against the Atlanta Falcons will be huge.
But that is thinking too far in the future. For now, if the
E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles want their playoff hopes to carry over into Monday,
they cannot lose a game against Washington they are supposed win.