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Eagles Not Out of Playoff Race by a Long Shot: A Fan’s Outlook

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The Philadelphia Eagles are being written off as a playoff contender after their latest crushing loss on Oct. 28. Eagles fans like myself aren't really talking about the playoffs right now anyway, as our focus is more on next year and whether Andy Reid or Michael Vick should be part of it. However, the playoffs are still a possibility, since Philadelphia isn't in that much of a hole in the wild card race.

The NFC East appears to be out of the question, with the New York Giants nearly three games ahead of everyone else in the division. Therefore, the only way to make the postseason is as a wild card - and that race isn't as overwhelming.

In the NFC East alone, no team has a winning record aside from the Giants. For all of the Eagles' problems, they are still tied for second at 3-4 with the Dallas Cowboys, while the Washington Redskins are in last at 3-5. And this isn't the only division with a lack of .500 or higher teams either.

The NFC South is even more lopsided, with the 3-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in second place behind the 7-0 Atlanta Falcons. Meanwhile in the NFC West, the teams behind the first place San Francisco 49ers are slipping as well. The Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks are now 4-4 - although the Cardinals still hold a crucial tiebreaker over the Eagles - while the St. Louis Rams are down to 3-5.

Other than the four first place teams in the NFC, no one else has a winning record aside from the 5-3 Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. And with the Vikings getting exposed by their blowout loss to the Buccaneers on Oct. 25, they could slip before long as well. Therefore, there is still room for the Eagles to slip into the sixth and final playoff spot if they start winning.

Given how teams have tended to win the Super Bowl as a sixth seed lately, this isn't a bad place to be. And since the Eagles have winnable games ahead against the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Buccaneers and Redskins - among others - there's still time to win at least nine games with this schedule.

Nine wins might not be enough to make the playoffs in most years. But given how vulnerable the likes of the Vikings, Cardinals, Seahawks, Buccaneers and Cowboys are, they could collapse just in time for the Eagles to pass them. Of course, this all depends on Philadelphia actually winning a few games, which has usually been the big problem.

But as long as the second tier of the NFC continues to struggle, it will buy the Eagles time to get hot and stay within range of a postseason spot - and then anything can happen. However, if the Eagles keep struggling as much as their peers - or worse - then it won't matter what anyone else does anymore.

Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.

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