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Eagles' Two Best Games Have Also Been Their Luckiest: A Fan's Analysis

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The Philadelphia Eagles are already regarded as the luckiest team in the NFL. Eagles fans like myself know that although the team is 3-1, they have played more like they are 1-3 or 0-4 at various stretches. But there have been two games in which Philadelphia has looked like a truly solid team - although those were way too close for comfort anyway.

The Eagles were mostly awful against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 9, then were completely awful against the Arizona Cardinals two weeks later. But they have played much better, complete games with the Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants on Sept. 16 and Sept. 30 - which makes it more puzzling that they almost lost both contests.

These were games in which Michael Vick was more efficient than usual, the offensive attack was actually balanced, and the defense shut down explosive opponents and quarterbacks. And yet despite showing these strengths, the Eagles' two best games of the season were also their luckiest wins of the season.

Philadelphia needed controversial pass interference calls to survive both games late in the fourth quarter. Before then, some defensive slip ups and missed red zone opportunities kept the Ravens and Giants hanging around longer than they should have. As such, the Eagles needed big last-minute drives to get both these wins, even though they were clearly the better team.

For the most part, the wins over Baltimore and New York showed just how good Philadelphia can be. However, the Eagles still live on such a thin margin for error, they almost forfeited these wins away anyway.

Putting away Super Bowl caliber opponents like the Ravens and Giants is often a hard task for any team. And the fact that the Eagles outplayed these elite clubs sends a very strong message. But Philadelphia can't play these kind of clubs - or any club, for that matter - and expect to just hold on every time out.

One of these days, Philadelphia must have a game where Vick is mistake free, the attack is balanced, the defense is powerful - and it still manages to win by more than one or two points. The Eagles are good at playing a 40 or 45 minute kind of game, but full 60 minute performances are needed to win championships eventually.

The Eagles have played these otherwise solid games at home in even numbered weeks. By that pattern, they are due for another ugly outing in Week 5 on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yet maybe when they get to host the Detroit Lions in Week 6, they can outplay them and it will be more accurately reflected on the scoreboard.

Or maybe the Birds can have an easy win over the Steelers first and break the pattern that way - since they'll have to do that eventually.

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

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