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Heart Of The Beast

Last week's stroke of fortune may not be the first that's coming the Eagles' way this season.

The Giants' loss to Cleveland coupled with the Cowboys' loss to Arizona and the Redskins' loss to the Rams may each be harbingers of things to come.

Despite devastating losses to both the Bears and Redskins in back-to-back weeks, the Eagles find themselves just a game-and-a-half behind the division-leading New York Giants heading into the bye week.


Brian Westbrook's expected return is just another bit of good news for the Eagles
And considering that they're 3-3 and have been without their leading receiver from last season in Kevin Curtis and without running back Brian Westbrook and No. 2 receiver Reggie Brown for good portions of the year, that's a decent accomplishment.

With most of the injured players expected back and ready to go when the Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday, combined with the schedule that lies ahead for their division rivals, the time for the Eagles to gain control of the division may be at hand.

Over the next three weeks, the Eagles play Atlanta at home, travel across the country to Seattle before playing the Giants at home. The Falcons have won two straight, including a last-second win over the Bears last week. They are much improved, but defensive coordinator Jim Johnson likes to confuse rookie signal callers with the blitz, so expect Exton, PA native Matt Ryan to be battered in his homecoming.

Seattle is decimated by injuries so despite the long trip the Eagles should come out with their second consecutive win. If they can continue the hot streak and beat a divisional opponent at home, they'll have made up significant ground with the currently winless Bengals waiting afterwards.

The Giants, who are 4-1, face San Francisco at home before going on the road to face a tough Steelers team in Pittsburgh. New York better not get caught looking ahead to hosting the Cowboys the next week or by the time it walks out of Lincoln Financial Field it could be looking at a three-game losing streak.

Considering the problems the Cowboys have at defensive back and the fact that quarterback Tony Romo's broken pinkie will keep him from being 100 percent, Dallas could lose to New York. If that happens, it may be disastrous for Dallas, which faces a tough stretch of games after playing the Rams this week. The Cowboys host the 4-2 Buccaneers before traveling to New York to take on the defending Super Bowl Champions.

The Redskins, meanwhile, are licking their wounds after getting upset by the lowly Rams last week. The face a suddenly resurgent Cleveland Browns team on Sunday before traveling to Detroit to take on the hapless Lions. However, Washington returns home to play the Steelers on Monday Night Football, which is no easy task.

The next NFC East game on the Eagles schedule is against the Giants. If they can take care of business through that point, they could find themselves back in the thick of the race for the division title.

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