"There's a lot to be said by teams who have momentum going into the playoffs."
Kicker David Akers is correct in his assessment of teams who possess "momentum" going into the playoffs. The Eagles have won six straight and a seventh straight win this Sunday over Dallas secures the No. 2 seed and the NFC East crown.
Just last year, the Eagles won four of their last five games and carried that all the way to the NFC title game even though they had a 9-6-1 regular season record. In four out of the last five years, the eventual Super Bowl champion ended the season on a hot streak. The 2006 Indianapolis Colts were the exception as they stumbled down the stretch losing three of their final five games.
Last year, the Steelers had won six of seven games. In 2007, the Giants won just three of five, but remember one of those losses was the narrow defeat to the Patriots. It can be argued that loss gave the Giants the confidence that they could play with the Patriots and it showed in the Super Bowl. The Steelers won four straight in 2005 and won the Super Bowl as the No. 6 seed. The Patriots had won eight of nine before beating the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.
"It's huge. You look at the Giants a few years ago when they won the Super Bowl. They started out slow, got the momentum going and it carried them right into the playoffs and brought them all the way to a win in the Super Bowl. It's huge to get rolling at the right time," said linebacker Jeremiah Trotter. "Obviously, we still have a lot to work on. We've won six straight games, but I think we've played OK. We've played well enough to win, but we know we're a better football team."
The Eagles have won six straight by beating opponents in pretty much every way imaginable. They won in a blowout over Atlanta. They came from behind late against Chicago and Washington. They ousted the Giants in a shootout. As quarterback Michael Vick points out, momentum isn't something that is bestowed upon teams. It is something that is earned.
"Every player on the team has to have the right swagger, has to have that air of confidence about themselves," Vick said. "You have to win games and once you do that you feel like you're unstoppable and every game you go into you feel like you're going to win. It's an unbelievable feeling, but you have to work hard to get it."
One of the reasons for the Eagles' recent run of success has been the consistency of the offensive line. The performance of the offensive line will certainly be tested on Sunday with the loss of center Jamaal Jackson. Even with Nick Cole set to make his first career start at center, the rest of the line doesn't want to even entertain the idea of losing the momentum that has been generated.
"You always want to get the ball rolling. Not just for team momentum, but other teams see that and they start to think, 'They're on a roll. They might be tough to stop,'" guard Todd Herremans said. "Just for us, we just want to keep winning. We're not even thinking about stumbling. We just want to keep winning all the way until the end."
There's no question the Eagles would love to claim the No. 2 seed and enjoy a week off. They also wouldn't mind carrying the momentum of a seven-game win streak with them into the postseason.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 5:10 p.m., January 1