Yeah, but . . .

The Eagles are on a roll. That's clear. They're now leading the NFC East, having swept the Giants and Redskins, and have a date remaining with the biggest December dog in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys.

This just in: The Eagles scored again on the Giants. It's now 204-196. DeSean Jackson has seven touchdowns and 452 yards. His phone is ringing. It's the Pro Bowl calling with his hotel reservation. And he just back-bumped Andy Reid. Again.

So with the team 9-4 and three winnable games to play, everyone's having fun, thinking about hosting a first-round playoff game and going deep into January.

But here's the only question that really matters, since nothing short of a Super Bowl berth - or is it a Super Bowl win? - will qualify as a success: Can the Eagles do what no other team has done this season and beat the New Orleans Saints?

The answer, quite simply, is yes.

Make no mistake, the Saints are a dangerously good team, and the way the Eagles allowed the Giants to move the ball Sunday night, New Orleans could hang half a hundred on them by halftime.

Sheldon Brown had a heads-up play grabbing a Giants fumble and returning it for a score, but he twice lost his man in the end zone, and was lucky that the receiver stepped out of bounds. Drew Brees will put the ball on the money. He's done it 32 times this season.

New Orleans is just the seventh team in history to go 13-0. Teams don't remain undefeated this late into the season because they're pretty good. They've got to be real good, and a little lucky.

But while Brees likes to say that the team is "battle tested," the Saints been vulnerable the last two weeks. It took overtime for the Saints to beat a Redskins team known for its defense, not its offense.

In that game, New Orleans made Jason Campbell look like Donovan McNabb. Campbell completed 30 of 42 passes to nine receivers for 367 yards and three touchdowns. It was his most efficient game of the year. The week before, Campbell threw two picks and misfired on 15 of 37 passes - against the Eagles.

Last Sunday, the Saints made Atlanta backup quarterback Chris Redman look serviceable. A week after connecting on only 52.3 percent of his passes in his first start since 2007, Redman completed 23 of 34 for 303 yards, or 68 percent, with a touchdown and an interception.

He led the Falcons on scoring drives on five of their first six possessions, and had they not settled for field goals on three first-half trips inside the red zone, Atlanta probably would have won rather than lost, 26-23.

The Saints are having serious issues in the secondary, and that is where the Eagles could do the most damage. No one has been able to slow Jackson, and the cornerbacks New Orleans has on the field now won't be able to, either. Mike McKenzie is too old, Malcolm Jenkins too green, and Randall Gay too average.

New Orleans is hoping to have cornerback Jabari Greer back for the season finale against Carolina, but he had sports-hernia surgery and hasn't played since early November. Ask Kevin Curtis how his recovery from that injury is going.

The Saints also hope to have cornerback Tracy Porter back soon. Porter started the first nine games of the season and had three interceptions, including one for a touchdown, but the second-round pick out of Indiana in 2008 strained a knee ligament and hasn't played since Week 10.

Yes, New Orleans' offense is unstoppable. The Saints gain more yards and score more points than any other team in the NFL. But the Eagles can hang tough in a shoot-out. Their strength would be against the Saints' weakness. It's a matchup the Eagles would welcome in the playoffs, and then, most likely, exploit.

Contact columnist Ashley Fox
at 215-854-5064 or afox@phillynews.com.