The Eagles are going to the playoffs. For the eighth time in Andy Reid's 11-year tenure as head coach, his team will play beyond the regular season.
For rookies and veterans like Jason Peters, this will be their first taste of playoff football.
"It feels good, but it hasn't hit me yet," said Peters, the starting left tackle who has talked all season long about his thirst for the playoffs. "It probably won't hit me until I actually play in a playoff game, but man it feels good to come here. I've never won 10 games in my NFL career, so it feels good."
Peters is one of 10 players on the active roster who have never made the playoffs before, four of whom are starters.
"The atmosphere in the game last week (against the Giants) and this week, it just feels like you're playing football again like in high school or college," said defensive end Jason Babin, another veteran looking forward to his first taste of meaningful January football. "Every game matters. It's so exciting, it's so much fun. You look forward to it - it's hard to put into words."
And then there's linebacker Will Witherspoon. Acquired by the Eagles at the trade deadline, Witherspoon got an early taste of postseason life in Carolina, where he started seven playoff games in his four years as a Panther. But he hasn't been to the postseason since 2005 after spending over three seasons with the St. Louis Rams.
"It's a great feeling," he said. "Getting into the playoff spot is a huge step forward, knowing that you've put yourself in that hunt.
"I know exactly what it takes to get into the playoffs and this is the type of team that is going to be great in the playoffs because (we are) about that weekly approach. We're not looking to the end-game; we're looking at it week by week."
It's up to veterans like Witherspoon and the rest of the playoff-seasoned Eagles to make sure no one in the locker room is looking too far ahead.
"I think for the young guys, when they hear playoffs, they automatically go to a bowl season or something," said quarterback Donovan McNabb, on tap to play in the seventh postseason of his illustrious career. "For guys who have been on teams who have never made the playoffs, it's an exciting time for them but I think they'll be a lot more excited if we put ourselves in a better position to win the NFC East and get a bye and home field."
The Eagles are one game ahead of the Cowboys with two games remaining and a season-ending trip to Dallas on tap. They're also one game behind the Minnesota Vikings for the No. 2 seed and the coveted first-round bye that comes with it. If the Vikings lose one of their remaining two games, at Chicago and home against the New York Giants, and the Eagles win out, McNabb and co. will have the bye because of their superior conference record.
"It's an exciting time, but nothing to get overly excited about," said McNabb. "Obviously, you want to put yourself in the position to make the playoffs, but ... it goes back to one of out goals was to obviously have a bye week and to win the NFC East and we know the only way that will be able to happen is to be successful these next two weeks."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 6:30 p.m., December 22