The last time the Eagles won the NFC East, they did it with five successive victories to end the season, led by their backup quarterback.

They did it again last night, without breaking a sweat, when the Packers defeated the Giants, 45-17, clinching the division for the Birds. Again, the guy who was the backup quarterback when the season started was the catalyst - Michael Vick this time, instead of Jeff Garcia, who led the Birds to the postseason in 2006.

Eagles coach Andy Reid has made the playoffs for the ninth time in 12 seasons, the third year in a row.

The Eagles can still finish as high as second in the NFC, which would net them a first-round bye, if they beat both the Vikings and the Cowboys and the Bears lose their finale to the Packers. If the Eagles end up seeded third, they could play the Packers, Giants, Bucs or Saints.

An Eagles spokesman said last night that Reid would have no comment, that the team remained focused on the Vikings. *

- Les Bowen