Sunday, December 10, 2006

Eagles Opt For Wins Over Style Points

LANDOVER, MD -- They don't go for style points when a team is fighting and clawing for a playoff berth.
The Eagles made things a little too interesting, turning a 21-3 potential rout into a 21-19 nail-biting win over the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.
Washington rushed for 210 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry, but could only get into the end zone once.
Even though the Redskins are a struggling team that the Eagles struggled to beat, the fact remains that the Birds will visit the New York Giants on Sunday with both teams 7-6 and major contenders for a playoff berth.
The Eagles will have to do a better job at rushing the passer and stopping the run, but the difference during their modest two-game win streak has been defensive takeaways. The Eagles intercepted two passes, and returned one for an 84-yard TD by Michael Lewis against the Skins.
When the defense is making opportunistic plays such as that, the Eagles take on a different personality.
The two interceptions in their 27-24 win over Carolina, especially the one by Lito Sheppard late in the game, was the difference.
Sure, the Eagles have plenty to work on and can't afford to make the same mistakes against the Giants than they did against Washington, but the fact remains that they remain in playoff contention. And many of us wouldn't have considered that possible just a few short weeks ago.