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Division the downfall

Perhaps it was fitting that the heartbreaking dagger Sunday came from the Washington Redskins and that the end could come at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys.

The Eagles' overall success, or lack of it, generally mirrors their results against their NFC East rivals. Since the Super Bowl season, the Eagles are just 8-15 against the three other teams in the division.

In 2005, the Eagles were 0-6 in the division and 6-4 in other games.

In 2006 -- the only one of the last three seasons to result in the playoff berth -- the Eagles were 5-1 in the division and 5-5 in other games. Three of those division wins came during successive weeks and were part of the five-game closing push that got them to the postseason after Donovan McNabb's injury.

In 2007, the Eagles were 2-4 inside the division and 6-4 in other games.

In 2008, the Eagles are 1-4 inside the division and 7-2-1 in other games.

Playing in one of the toughest divisions in the league is their lot in life and it is against those teams that they are measured. (The NFC East and NFC South are the only divisions with all four teams above .500.) You could argue that their path to four consecutive NFC Championship Games was eased by a division in a downturn. Well, now that this division has improved, they must improve with it or get left behind.


If you want to start looking ahead to next season, the Eagles' schedule will include these teams: two games apiece against the Giants, Washington and Dallas, road games at Atlanta, at Carolina, at Oakland and at San Diego; home games against Denver, Kansas City, New Orleans and Tampa Bay. The remaining home game will be against the NFC West opponent that finishes in the same place as the Eagles. Right now, with the Eagles in third place, that would be Seattle. The remaining road game will be against the NFC North opponent that finishes in the same place as the Eagles. Right now, that would be Green Bay.


Dallas running back Marion Barber did not practice, although that has become pretty standard since he injured a toe on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys are expecting him to play. Tight end Jason Witten was seemingly limited in practice, according to reports out of Dallas, with his ankle being the biggest concern. He is expected to play.