Originally posted 12/8/08.
...the Eagles are 6-0 in weeks 15 through 17 the past 2 seasons.
Sometimes it's too little too late, sometimes it's the December explosion they need to launch into the playoffs. But if the Eagles can continue that late December trend and win out, they're in the playoffs. They control their own destiny against every team but Atlanta, and no way the Falcons win out with Tampa and Minnesota on the horizon.
2 weeks ago I'd have gasped, Jim Mora-style, at the mention of playoffs. I actually had to drag myself to the Thanksgiving game against the Cardinals, figuring it was nearly pointless (and cold weather usually trumps pointless in my book). Yet suddenly they get over an enormous (Giant?) hurdle today and that spark of hope returns. Is the unspeakable suddenly... able to be spoken?
Now, let me quickly add that I may very well be eating my words next week, as it would hardly surprise me if the Eagles followed up 2 huge wins against worthy division leaders with an embarassing performance against another dismal Ohio team. But breaking it down week-by-week, the playoffs (and a respectable 10-5-1 record) are within reach.
Next week's game against the Browns, on Monday Night Football, is a must-win obviously. Yes, we know that the Birds tend to crap the bed on primetime, but if they can't beat the Browns, they don't deserve to be in the hunt in the first place (sure, the same could be said for the Bengals tie, but why rehash old news now when it goes against my point?) So let's just assume for a moment that they win next Monday, putting them at 8-5-1. The Redskins, frankly, are getting shittier by the minute, but even if they win next week they're still sitting a half-game behind the Eagles. The Cowboys are only occasionally competent and will probably lose to a now-pissed-off Giants team, nestling them a half-game behind them as well. The Falcons have Tampa, a very tough divisional matchup, and if they lose, all of a sudden.... wait for it, wait for it... the Eagles are sitting in the number 2 wild card spot- just like that!
Even if the Falcons win, the Eagles are only a smidge behind them- however this would bring up the crushing memory of our head-to-head win over Atlanta (in the event of a tiebreaker) that will never happen thanks to our ugly third-wheel digit in the tie column. Nevertheless, I just don't see talented-but-still-learning Matt Ryan knocking off vets Jeff Garcia and Gus Frerotte in consecutive weeks. Point being, the Falcons don't win out. And at the risk of sounding overly confident, I don't think our final 2 games against the Skins and Cowboys are as daunting as they seemed a few weeks ago, thanks to their sudden inability to not suck. Not that beating both would be an easy feat by any means, but it's definitely doable. I think the Cowboys might actually end their season in a cloud of choke before they even travel to Philly, with 2 huge games against the G-men and Ravens coming up, but it'd be interesting to have a rematch of that week 2 epic where it really means something to both teams.
Anyone remember 2006? Where 5-6 became 10-6, can 5-5-1 now become 10-5-1? They knocked off all 3 divisional opponents, AWAY, in 3 straight weeks in December '06- their remaining task this season is actually an easier one, with 2 of the last 3 games at the Linc.
Not saying it's going to happen, but logically speaking it's a very real possibility. Just sayin...