|New-look Eagles set to face Browns|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 11 December 2008 14:58|
Every game is must win for Philadelphia (7-5-1) right now, starting with Monday night's matchup against the Cleveland Browns (4-9). The Eagles have no room for error. So, if the standings don't make it clear, players have adopted a new look to keep them focused on their playoff push.
Just like hockey players during the NHL's marathon playoffs, the Eagles are tossing aside their razors and growing beards. It started with safety Brian Dawkins and the secondary and expanded to other parts of the locker room.
going on right now and it makes me think about the task at hand and that's the run we're trying to make.''
After playing the lowly Cincinnati Bengals to a tie and a lopsided loss at Baltimore, the Eagles seemed headed for their third last-place finish in four years. But they responded with convincing wins over Arizona and the New York Giants to get back in the playoff picture.
Philadelphia is a half-game behind Dallas and Atlanta, both 8-5, for the final wild-card spot. The Eagles will make the playoffs if they win the last three games and the Falcons lose once.
By squandering opportunities early in the season, the Eagles have put themselves in a tough spot. They can't look ahead to division games with Washington and Dallas and suffer a letdown against the Browns, who are 14-point underdogs.
``We've got an opportunity here to have an extra day to study them and we can see the talent that they have on their football team,'' coach Andy Reid said. ``I know they've got a good coach in Romeo (Crennel). We competed against him when he was a defensive coordinator for the Patriots. He has a feel for us and I think we have a little bit of a feel for him. It should lend to being a very good game.''
Cleveland has lost three straight games and five of six. The Browns haven't even scored a touchdown in three weeks, and appear on the verge of rebuilding after going 10-6 last year.
s on the road and playing before a national audience. The Browns are 3-3 away from the Dawg Pound and 2-0 on Monday nights, including a win over the Giants (11-2) in Week 6.
``They are excited about where they are,'' Crennel said of the Eagles. ``They feel like they have a chance to make the playoffs. They need to win out because they're in a tough division. I know they'll be ready to play and we'll be ready to play.''
Ken Dorsey will make his second straight start for the Browns filling in for injured quarterbacks Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn. Dorsey hadn't completed a pass in three years in an NFL game before facing Tennessee last week. He finished 22-of-43 for 150 yards and one interception in a 28-9 loss.
His job doesn't get any easier against Philly. The Eagles have the NFL's fourth-ranked defense. They held Arizona's high-powered offense and the Giants' ball-control dominating attack to under 300 yards.
``They're a great defense; not only are they great schematically but great personnelwise,'' Dorsey said. ``They have been giving offenses fits for years now and that's part of the fun in playing them.''
rushing in the last two games, including 131 on a career-high 33 carries against the Giants.
``At this point in the season, it's important that you be able to run the ball, obviously due to weather,'' McNabb said. ``Teams now have to decide if they want to blitz or sit back in the zone. If they decide to sit in the zone, you have to be able to run the ball effectively.''