PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Donovan McNabb has a bounce to his step, and Brian Westbrook is moving about with ease.
Things are looking up for the Philadelphia Eagles, who, until late, haven't felt so good and had little to feel good about.
McNabb's spirits are buoyed by the Tuesday arrival of healthy twins. For Westbrook, dogged by injuries through most of the season, healthy translates into happy.
The combination of the Eagles' offensive stars in a good state of mind and Philadelphia (6-5-1) coming off one of its finest performances of an inconsistent season has the club feeling loose and hopeful heading into a must-win game against the New York Giants.
That's quite a change from stressed and pressing, which had become the norm.
``I think we tried the other way and it didn't work,'' safety Brian Dawkins said Wednesday. ``I believe we tried and pressed so long that we're going to just play now. I think you saw the results of that in the start of that Cardinals game.''
-1 rut. Against the Cardinals on Thanksgiving, the Eagles' play defied their .500 record.
Philly's offense displayed a balance (40 rushes and 39 passing attempts) seldom seen from the pass-happy Birds. Their smothering defense forced Kurt Warner into three interceptions in a 48-28 win over the NFC West leaders. It was the type of performance that restored the players' confidence and the kind the Eagles need if they hope to win their last four games and contend for a playoff berth.
``In order for us to go for it, we need to win this game,'' McNabb said a day after his wife delivered twins, a boy and a girl. ``We need to go out and play well and create turnovers, eliminate turnovers, put ourselves in positions to score touchdowns not field goals, and then whatever happens after that, then we can talk next week.''
The Birds have used up their second chances and need a better effort against the Giants than they got earlier this season. In their first meeting, the defending Super Bowl champs rushed for 219 yards and won 36-31.
The loss and the ease with which the Giants moved the ball has stuck with Dawkins, who said the defense recognized the mistakes it made and righted the wrongs.
g doing a much better job.''
The Eagles' play against Arizona makes the less-than-stellar performance against New York seem as if it was a long time ago, even if it was just over a month.
But the Birds' success has spawned confidence.
``We are starting to play all together,'' said Westbrook, who had been slowed by knee and ankle woes but scored four TDs against Arizona and ran for 110 yards on 22 carries. ``We have corrected some of the things we had wrong at the beginning of the season.''
McNabb threw for four touchdowns and 260 yards against the Cardinals, one week after being benched for the first time in his career at halftime against Baltimore following a dismal outing.
That, too, seems as if it was a long time ago. And, like a proud father, McNabb is displaying a seemingly newfound bravado.
``I am the quarterback, and I will be the quarterback ... I don't look at anything else that's happened,'' he said.
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