NFC East

Eagles Control Playoff Destiny Despite Losing Record

Despite all their shortcomings, the Philadelphia Eagles control their playoff hopes.

They've lost three of their past five games by a margin of 130-48. They have a losing record at home, on the road and overall. Their offense is inconsistent and turnover prone. Their defense can't stop anyone.

Yet, the Eagles (6-8) would clinch the NFC East title with victories over Washington (7-7) at home Saturday and at the Giants (6-8) on Jan. 3.

"Everybody is aware of what's at stake and how this thing is going to shake itself out at this point in time," coach Chip Kelly said Monday.

A 40-17 loss to Arizona on Sunday showed just how far the Eagles are from the elite teams. Sure, they pulled off a stunning 35-28 upset at New England earlier this month. But it took two touchdowns on special teams and one on defense to knock off the Patriots, and the defense barely held on.

The Eagles missed the playoffs last year with a 10-6 record. They're not even close to that level this season. But a mediocre division has kept them in contention.

"The playoffs start on Saturday," linebacker Connor Barwin said. "We have to put this one behind us. We will watch the film, not make the same mistakes and play with an edge. We will play a lot better."

Sam Bradford threw for 361 yards against the Cardinals, but lost a fumble and had two interceptions, including a pick-six. Ryan Mathews also lost a fumble.

"We just had too many self-inflicted wounds to really do anything," Bradford said.

DeMarco Murray, who signed a big contract in free agency, was on the field for just eight snaps. He carried twice for 3 yards. Kelly fielded more questions about Murray's role than anything else in two media sessions since the game ended.

"It's not about getting touches; it's about winning and productivity," Kelly said.

The Redskins already beat the Eagles in Week 4 when Kirk Cousins drove them 90 yards in the fourth quarter for the go-ahead score in a 23-20 win. But they're only 1-5 on the road this season and 2-12 under coach Jay Gruden.

Washington clinches the division title with a win. If the Eagles win, the Giants also remain alive going into their game Sunday night against Minnesota.

"Just win," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "If you win, it takes care of itself. If you start looking at scenarios, you lose sight of what is at hand. We win, it takes care of itself."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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