IT WAS ONE of the most annoying things about the Eagles' disappointing 2011 season.

After every game that they gave away, choked in or simply got beat, some Eagles player would acknowledge the loss but then add the caveat that the Birds knew they were actually the better team.

Maybe on paper they were, but on the field they got their rears handed to them way too many times, and "paper talk" was the last thing anyone wanted to hear.

So that's why the first 2 weeks of the Eagles' 2012 season have been refreshing.

On Sunday, the Eagles beat the Baltimore Ravens, 24-23, in their home opener at Lincoln Financial Field.

The bottom line is that it was a good win over a team many predict will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

But just like a week ago when they opened the season with a 17-16 victory at Cleveland, this was not an efficient performance.

With two more interceptions and two lost fumbles against the Ravens, the Eagles have totaled nine turnovers in the first two games.

They once again had bad penalties and made some questionable decisions.

It's not a reach to say that the Eagles have been about as inefficient as a team can be while still starting 2-0.

The thing is that the Eagles know it.

They know that a team cannot continue to commit an abundance of mistakes, miscues and mishaps if wants to win the Super Bowl.

"I say minus the turnovers we are a dangerous team," said running back LeSean McCoy, who rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown but also fumbled for the second consecutive game, "but I think that's the difference between a great team and a good team. Right now, we're just a good team.

"This is nothing to brag about. I don't want to say, 'We have turnovers, but we're still going to win.' We have to go back to the board and focus in. We have to cut out the penalties, cut out the turnovers.

"I think we're a disciplined team, but we're not displaying that right now. If we want to be a great team, that's something we have to change."

In some cities, the Birds' first two wins would be looked as a sign of good things.

Could a "bad" team overcome nine turnovers to stage two one-point victories on late fourth-quarter drives?

A team has to have potential to pull that off, right?

Maybe this is one of those seasons where we end up calling the Eagles the "Cardiac Birds."

Umm . . . no.

Eagles fans don't want a season of nail-biters that should have been blowouts.

Philadelphia already has experienced how hard the fall is when the Birds have been good, very good and/or excellent.

But there were always some missing details that kept them from becoming great.

Three NFC Championship Game losses, then a loss in the Super Bowl and then a little later another loss in a NFC Championship Game tells it all.

Eagles fans don't expect perfection, but they've seen how even the smallest flaws can conspire to destroy Super Bowl hopes.

Nine turnovers and 19 total penalties are not small flaws. They are huge issues that could rip apart a season unless corrected.

The Eagles have rolled up nearly 1,000 yards of total offense and 51 first downs in the first two games. Still, they've needed to drive the length of the field late in the fourth quarter to pull out two one-point victories.

That's not the easiest path to a Super Bowl.

I know a win is a win. It does say something about the Eagles' character that they've overcome adversity to still win.

But how good can you feel about the Eagles' play when you know this team is bound to break your heart again down the road if things don't get corrected?

The players know the deal. You can't keep playing this reckless and keep winning.

Eventually, it will catch up with you - most likely at the most inopportune time.

"Just thinking about this makes me sick to my stomach as far as how many times we turned the ball over in two games," said quarterback Michael Vick, who has six interceptions. "We just have to do a better job of holding onto the football. I have to do a better job with decision-making, and then everything will work itself out.

"It's kind of a Catch-22 situation. We know how good we can be. We see progress and we see what we do down after down and then it's negated by penalties and turnovers.

"I'm waiting to have a game where it is all clean. I know sometimes that is very rare in this league, but it can be done."

Last season, despite finishing just 8-8, they missed winning the NFC East by one game.

The New York Giants barely got into the playoffs but parlayed that into a Super Bowl title run.

Down the New Jersey Turnpike, Eagles fans spent an entire offseason re-examining the four or five games the Eagles literally gave away.

A win in any of those games could have had the Eagles changing places with the Giants.

It didn't happen, and, now, with all of the adversity the Eagles have had to overcome in Weeks 1 and 2 there is a gnawing sense of concern that 2011 could happen again unless the Birds get things together ASAP.

"We have to get better," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "There's nothing more that I can tell you. I don't like turnovers, and I don't want turnovers. The players don't want turnovers, so we have to get better at it.

"You have to hang onto the football when you're given a chance to handle the football. You have to make sure that you throw the ball to the right person. [A turnover] isn't something we planned on having."

The Eagles see what has happened. They know what is at stake if they don't clean things up.

"If you cut away those turnovers, we can be the best team in the league," Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson said.

Jackson's words don't bother me because this year the Eagles know what level they have to get to, and more important, they seem to know that talk in itself won't get them there.