Philadelphia Eagles: Are The Playoffs A Real Possibility?

C KSenior Analyst IDecember 9, 2008

On Sunday, I did not see the Philadelphia Eagles I saw over the past few weeks.

Even versus Arizona, I didn't see a complete team win together.

But on Sunday, against the New York Giants, I saw a tremendous effort by every player on every play.

On offense, Brian Westbrook once again proved why he is still an elite runner in this league. L.J. Smith finally made a decent impact and made his presence felt. And Donovan McNabb was finally the old Donovan McNabb.

But I didn't come to that conclusion until I saw one play.

That was when Donovan ran for a first down on third and five to prolong a drive late in the fourth quarter. After the play, Donovan was near the Giants fans, so he politely waved to the spectators.

To me, his message was "this is our game and we intend to beat the Giants in every single way".

This is when I knew he was back. Donovan was having fun, all while playing a good game and winning.

He was leading the Birds down the field like a real leader, something I questioned him on a few weeks ago.

I still think McNabb's time as an Eagles should end, but my respect for him has risen.

On defense, the likes of Trent Cole, Brian Dawkins, Asante Samuel, and Chris Gocong held the G-Men in check all day.

The defense let up just seven points, yet those seven points came at the end of the game when Jim Johnson decided not to rush Eli Manning too much and the players didn't put their entire hearts into it. I wish they would have played hard for the entire game, but that's another story for another day.

Chris Gocong was seen time and time again in the backfield disrupting Brandon Jacobs and the Giants rushing attack.

Brian Dawkins almost had an interception that would have given him the all-time Eagles lead in INT's, but Samuel took that away from him (but dropped it!). No worries. Samuel has done a superb job so he gets a mulligan here.

So given this tremendous effort on Sunday, are the playoffs a real possibility?

Well just look at the standings and you will see that the Birds are a half game back of the sixth and final playoff spot. That spot is currently occupied by the Dallas Cowboys.

On their remaining schedule the Eagles battle the Cleveland Browns at home, the Washington Redskins on the road, and the Dallas Cowboys at home.

The Browns game is obviously a win-able game, and appears to be the best chance for a win out of the three games.

But after that things get tricky...

If Clinton Portis continues to struggle and mouth off, then the Eagles defense should have a field day tearing apart Jason Campbell.

But a healthy Portis would mean more attention on Portis who could still have a great day, and would allow Campbell to have more success.

Either way, this game is very win-able. The Eagles may have lost their first game against the Skins, but that was against a much better team than we are seeing now.

Finally, the Dallas Cowboys come to town...this should be interesting.

Over the past few years, the Eagles have thrashed the Tony Romo and the Cowboys late in the season.

To me, that is more of the Cowboys falling apart than it is the Eagles, and this year it could be the same.

Tony Romo isn't the same in December and January as he is the rest of the season. When Winter comes, it just seems he....chokes.

I can't ignore it anymore.

In his first December as a starter, Romo had a 77.1 rating. In his second December, he had a 70.3 rating. This year (one game against Pittsburgh), he has a 44.9 rating in December.

Altogether, he is 4-6 in December.

Let's not forget his failed attempts to win a playoff game either (mostly his blunder against Seattle where he bobbled the snap on the field goal).

People refer to McNabb as a choker, but what about Romo? Romo's much more of a choker to me...

That's why I think the Eagles will win another late December game against the Boys.

So I see two sure wins, and one "eh" game I'm not sure about.

Does a 2-1 finish give the Eagles a playoff birth? Probably not. That's why they need to win out.

Honestly, I don't think they can do it.

But I do have to admit, it's pretty amazing how far the Eagles have come.

I was trashing this team just two weeks ago. Now I'm predicting a possible playoff birth.

Only in Philly are fans allowed to flip-flop like this. Only in Philly.