AND NOW, for any Eagles faithful, to hope and to wish.

The playoff berth that seemed a fait accompli 2 weeks ago now is tenuous. After consecutive home losses in December by a relatively healthy team, a playoff berth is anything but assured.

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What the Eagles accomplished last night, besides wasting a monumental comeback in front of a home crowd, is that they forfeited control of their own fate. Now, they need help.

But, for argument's sake, we must assume that the Lions lose at Green Bay and/or Chicago. Also, the Cowboys could lose when the Colts visit Sunday; after all, the Cowboys play much better away from Jerry World than they do under its MonsterVision screen. They're 7-0 on the road after last night's 38-27 win over the Eagles and just 3-4 at home.

Green Bay also must win on the road, which has proven an unsuccessful task four of seven times this season. Then again, the road leads to woeful Tampa Bay on Sunday, which amounts to something more like a light practice.

The assumption has to be that the Eagles dispatch the Redskins on Saturday then travel to the Giants and win their finale.

The hope would be that the Eagles make the playoffs, period.

The wish . . . that is more subjective, more a whim of taste.

Is it more important to host a game than to have a manageable travel task?

For example: Would the Eagles rather wind up on the road in Green Bay on the first or second week of the playoffs . . . or would they rather have Seattle visit again in the wild-card round?

Well, here's what the Eagles should want.

They should want the Colts to beat Dallas, which then puts them in the driver's seat for the NFC East title, since the Eagles would have a better division record if they tied Dallas with 11 wins.

They should want the Seahawks to beat the Cardinals and Rams, which would give Seattle a leg up in tiebreakers over the Cardinals and Packers. If the Seahawks get the No. 1 seed, the Eagles, as the No. 3 seed, should avoid them until the NFC Championship Game.

The Eagles should want the Lions or Cowboys to have to visit Philadelphia, and for things to be as inclement as possible. The Lions play indoors, where they are 6-2 this season. A road playoff game would put them away from Ford Field for 3 weeks in a row, and they would have played the week before at Green Bay.

The Cowboys also play indoors. They need Dez Bryant to be the weapon he was last night, when he caught six passes for 114 yards and three touchdowns and drew three penalties for 50 more yards. Perhaps a spot of weather would mitigate Bryant's effectiveness.

Then ostensibly, the Eagles would have to travel to Green Bay, where the Pack would hold the second seed.

Yes, it's tough to win in Lambeau Field, especially this season.

It's tougher to win against Seattle, anywhere, any time.

Besides, there is a chance that Arizona takes care of whatever non-winning team exits the dreadful NFC South, then wins in Seattle.

There's not much of a chance, granted. The Seahawks beat them in Washington state already, and there's little likelihood Arizona, battered by attrition and playing a scorching-hot defending Super Bowl champion, will hold serve when the Seahawks visit Sunday.

Really, this scenario isn't totally impossible.

The Seahawks should win out. The Cowboys could lose one of the last two games. The Eagles should win out and earn the No. 3 seed . . . and host the Cowboys in a rematch of what happened last night, while Arizona travels to the NFC South.

That puts the Birds in Green Bay in the second round.

If the Cowboys beat the Colts, the Eagles could get the Pokes again, only in Dallas, where they manhandled the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

That wouldn't be so bad, either.

Hypothetically.

Considering the ineffectiveness with which the Eagles played their last two games, does any of this even matter?

On Twitter: @inkstainedretch

Blog: ph.ly/DNL