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The Burning Question

Can The Eagles Get Back In The Playoff Picture?

Trick question, because the Eagles are in the playoff picture, as crazy as that sounds after a 13-13 game in Cincinnati. At 5-4-1, the Eagles are one-half game behind both the Cowboys and Redskins in the division with games against both teams remaining.

But the focus can't be on the playoffs right now. The focus is on Baltimore, and a tough Ravens team that waits on Sunday. The Eagles have to take this thing one day at a time, understanding that in the big picture it is going to take near-perfection down the stretch to make it to the postseason.

The Eagles have quite a task on their hands for Sunday. Baltimore is playing well under first-year head coach John Harbaugh. The Ravens are a physical team, led by a tenacious defense that plays downhill and poses all kinds of problems with an outstanding front seven. Offensively, the Ravens run the ball behind a big, strong line and give rookie quarterback Joe Flacco help with an intermediate-passing game. He is likely to throw anywhere from 15 to 25 passes as the Ravens approach things with a run-first attitude.

Clearly, the Eagles need to jump on things much earlier if they are to beat quality teams in what is a difficult stretch run. The first quarter has been a dead zone in the last month for the offense. The team hasn't taken a significant early lead since the October 5 game against Washington, and that 14-0 advantage was lost in the second half.

The only thing the Eagles can do – and this is a broken record – is to keep working hard, try to correct their mistakes and hope something clicks, that a spark ignites the team. Donovan McNabb remains the quarterback and is diligent in his prep work, and he needs to see some early positive results to get cranking.

Nobody is trying to see the forest through the trees. Baltimore comes first. The Eagles need a win. The playoffs are still there for the taking, but obviously the Eagles have a huge challenge in front of them.

What is the team morale? Disappointed for sure after the tie in Cincinnati. Understanding the monumental assignment ahead. But still hopeful that if and when it all clicks ...

Maybe Sunday will be that day. Maybe it has to be that day. The Eagles play a very good Ravens team on their turf on Sunday. A season rests in the balance.

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