Tie makes Eagles' playoff chances simple Print
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Tuesday, 16 December 2008 11:39
NFL Headline News

 PHILADELPHIA (AP) -The Philadelphia Eagles don't have to worry about head-to-head or division records, strength of schedule, net points in conference games or any of those confusing tiebreakers.
Thanks to that ugly tie against lowly Cincinnati last month, it's much easier to figure out the Eagles' playoff chances. A 10-5-1 record beats 10-6, but loses to 11-5.
Of course, the Eagles (8-5-1) have to win their last two games - at Washington and home against Dallas - to reach 10 wins. That still won't be good enough to earn them one of the two NFC wild-card spots unless Tampa Bay or Atlanta, both 9-5, lose one more game.
How does the 13-13 tie with the Bengals affect Philadelphia's chances beyond simplifying the tiebreaker scenarios? The Eagles would control their playoff fortunes and not have to depend on help if they had found a way to beat Cincinnati (2-11-1).
ears, so it doesn't matter that they would be 10-5-1 instead of 10-6.
The only case where the tie benefits the Eagles is in a head-to-head situation with Chicago (8-6) because the Bears beat Philadelphia earlier in the season.
``Control what you can control and don't stress out about the other stuff,'' coach Andy Reid said Tuesday. ``We have plenty of things that we need to work on for the Washington Redskins and one of them isn't watching the other games and getting emotionally caught up in those and so on. Let it happen. Let those games happen. Whatever happens, happens. And take care of your business.''
A few weeks ago, it didn't seem like any of this would matter. The Eagles followed that tie at Cincinnati with a lopsided loss at Baltimore in a game that saw Donovan McNabb get benched for the first time in his 10-year career.
The benching suggested the Eagles were preparing to move on without the five-time Pro Bowl quarterback who led them to four straight NFC championship games and a Super Bowl.
All the talk in Philadelphia centered on the future and who should call the shots. Frustrated fans wanted Reid fired and reporters criticized the coach's personnel decisions and in-game strategy.
But McNabb got another chance to keep his starting job and the team rallied around its leader. The Eagles routed the NFC West champion Arizona Cardinals 48-20 on Thanksgiving. An impressive 20-14 win on the road against the conference-leading New York Giants came next. The Eagles beat the overmatched Cleveland Browns 30-10 on Monday night for their third straight victory.
``We wanted to play good for the guy in the No. 5 jersey,'' wide receiver Jason Avant said of McNabb. ``We love him as a person. We hate to see bad things happen to a good person, especially when it's our fault.''
McNabb has been outstanding since returning. He has completed 72 of 104 passes (69.2 percent) for 741 yards, seven TDs and one interception in the last three games. His passer rating is 107.9 in those games.
Reid yanked McNabb after the usually error-free QB threw five interceptions and lost two fumbles in 1 1/2 games.
``He's always been a great player, and there were some things that were very abnormal for him in the turnover category,'' Reid said. ``That's just not how he plays, and he's now playing the way that he does. This is what Donovan McNabb is all about.''
 

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