Despite obvious struggles and the supposed inability to put 60 complete minutes of football together, Andy Reid's Eagles are in a solid position they haven't seen since 2004.
With a 5-3 mark through the season's first half, Philadelphia is above .500 at this point for the first time since that Super Bowl run – a mark they either replicated or exceeded in each season from 2001 to 2004, all seasons in which they won the NFC East and advanced to the NFC Championship game.
And with the 7-1 New York Giants looming this week, Reid's team can solidify its spot for a playoff run.
"We always talk about the halfway point and you always feel like if you're within striking distance at the halfway point, then you have a chance down the stretch there," Reid said. "The parity in the league is crazy right now." Andy Reid PC: November 3
What the Eagles have done, despite dropping some heartbreakers, is allow themselves to head into a relatively encouraging stretch of the schedule in which they should be favored in at least five more games. A 10-6 record would, at least, have the Eagles competing for one of the NFC playoff spots.
But the staunchest competition will almost certainly come from within the division, where the Eagles are already a disappointing 0-2 with the apparent class of the conference awaiting on Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field. The time to make the move – and an impression – is now, Reid said.
"We have a great team coming in here," Reid said. "It should just be a heck of an atmosphere for a football game, and we just have to keep taking care of business on our side and we'll be fine."
Right now, the Eagles are riding a three-game win streak and key offensive weapons have been returning to the fold seemingly every week. Two weeks ago, Brian Westbrook was back, last week Kevin Curtis busted out and this coming Sunday tight end L.J. Smith should be ready to go after nursing a concussion.
Defensively, the Eagles seem to be hitting a stride as well. After two mistakes in the secondary led to a 90-yard touchdown pass on Seattle's first play from scrimmage on Sunday, Philadelphia forced 11 straight punts from Seattle and sacked Seneca Wallace four times in the fourth quarter.
Should the Eagles avoid the temporary lapses that have plagued them this season, a run at the Giants could be in the cards.
"We have to do a better job there," Reid said. "That's more (an) individual situation probably. We're trying to be aggressive and it came back to get us a little bit, but I'll always take those aggressive (mistakes) over the passive ones."
But the leeway for mistakes is small against a team that rarely makes them and often capitalizes when its opponent does. The mettle of the Eagles will be tested this week, Reid said. In the NFC East, consistency is almost certainly the dividing factor between a champion and an early draft pick.
"Obviously, we strive for perfection, and we don't have a lot of patience as coaches or players if things aren't clicking. But, the thing you have to do is keep firing and keep blocking and running hard and catching the football and doing the important things," Reid said. "Things work in cycles. That's how it goes. Again, do we want to do better? Absolutely. Do we want to start faster? Absolutely. But, that's how that goes."