They have had a week to do as they pleased, and in some cases that meant absolutely nothing at all. "I didn't do much of anything," said right tackle Jon Runyan. "Having a weekend to see all the kids' games was pretty nice."
Yeah, it was pretty nice to have a bye week. The Eagles enjoyed the down time, and now they are back at it, ready for 10 tough weeks ahead. The changing face of the NFC East continues, with the Cowboys having lost two straight games to drop back into third place behind the Giants (5-1) and Redskins (4-2).
"You don't even look at that stuff yet. You have to take care of your own business," said Runyan. "We can't worry about anything but what we're doing. If we play like we know we can play, things will take care of themselves and we will be fine."
Watching the NFC East over the weekend again proved fascinating. Dallas opened its game in St. Louis by driving the length of the field for a touchdown. It seemed like the Cowboys were off and flying. But that didn't last long as the Cowboys imploded after their tumultuous week. And now, you wonder about Dallas and its mix of talent: Is it poison? Or is this just a case where the injuries have mounted -- Dallas lost safety Roy Williams for perhaps the season with a forearm injury on Sunday -- and the Cowboys have to bail water until the boat has all hands on deck?
This much we know: The Cowboys are a dangerous brew in the locker room and you have to wonder how much is bubbling under the surface there. Terrell Owens has been a non-factor for much of this season, and many are waiting for his personality and ego to get the best of him very soon.
For Dallas, cruising just a few weeks ago, the pressure is mounting. There are a lot of factors at play there, and the season could certainly go in many directions.
The Giants beat San Francisco on Sunday in a mess-fest. The 49ers moved the ball well, especially in the air, but the Giants capitalized on some terrible decisions and lousy throws from 49ers quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan to win a game. A win is a win, so the Giants will take it.
Washington beat Cleveland in a physical, at-the-line-of-scrimmage game. Clinton Portis was huge when it counted. the Redskins continued to play without making many errors, and the defense had a huge goal line to preserve a lead in the fourth quarter, fumbled away a chance to ice the game and then barely hung on to beat the Browns.
The standings are as the standings are: The Giants lead, the Redskins are a game back and the Cowboys and Eagles are two games behind in the loss column.
"You win divisions in November and December," said Runyan. "That's the way it always seems to go."
The Eagles have a busy, important week ahead. Beating Atlanta is the only thing that matters, and the picture is so much different than it was back in the spring when the schedules were announced. The Falcons are a playoff-hopeful team with a 4-2 record, coming off a bye, The Eagles have a tough game coming up. A really tough game.
And you understand what is at stake here: The Eagles have very little margin for error the rest of the way. They can't afford letdowns. They can't allow themselves to take quarters off. They have to play great football for the next 10 weeks.
Under Andy Reid, they have done exactly that through the years after the bye week. But simply thinking it is coming is totally different than actually going out and doing it. I hope the Eagles feel the urgency this week, and in the nine weeks after. I hope they don't think the "season is still young" and that they can afford a mistake or three along the way.
The NFL is an up-one-week, down-the-next-week kind of league. Playing consistent football is the key, and the Eagles have yet to find that rhythm through six games. They have some weapons back this week, as you know, so we are going to see how quickly Kevin Curtis and Co. can get into the game and contribute.
I hope you enjoyed your rest. Put on the chinstrap and get ready for a wild ride the rest of the way. The Eagles are in the mix in the division. They control their destiny.
I'm looking forward to what's ahead. The Eagles have to be better now than they were in September and through the first couple of weeks of this month. There are obvious areas of question marks here, so I want to see what the week of self scouting did for the X's and O's portion of the picture. I want to see a whole, healthy team. I want to see a rested team come out roaring on Sunday.
Two weeks ago we all lamented a 2-3 start to the season. We worried that the division was getting out of reach already. Obviously, the story is different now. Everything is alive. Anything is possible.
And the Eagles, rested and ready, are back at work.
"The NFL is a long, long season. You take your rest when you can get it," said Runyan. "It was good while it lasted. Now it's back to work. I think we'll be ready to go and to play our best ball ahead."