The sky is not falling on the Eagles. It has crashed upon them, and the force of the blow from three straight repulsive losses has launched Chip Kelly into a hellish existence in which it is not a stretch to consider his team among the worst in the NFL.

So where do the Eagles and their coach go from here?

New England for a date with the 10-1 Patriots is the microscopic answer. The Eagles' best hope this Sunday at Gillette Stadium is that quarterback Tom Brady is struck with an abdominal injury caused by the excessive laughter that is sure to ensue when he gets a load of the Eagles defense in high def.

The macroscopic answer is much more difficult to tackle but slightly more pleasant to ponder for the Eagles and their fans.

As silly as it sounds, the Eagles are still a contender. Nothing, in fact, that has happened in the wretched NFC East since the Eagles embarrassingly left the field Thursday afternoon in Detroit has squashed the notion that they are still alive in their dilapidated division.

A horrific season got worse for Dallas later that day, when Tony Romo fractured his collarbone for a second time, ending his own season and the Cowboys' hopes they could creep back into the creepiest of races.

And then the New York Giants had a chance to seize control of the NFC East Sunday. Instead, they were beaten by the Washington Redskins, who, despite being 5-6 and winless on the road, took over the division lead based on their record within the division.

The game started with two punts, two interceptions, and a blocked field goal, as if the teams needed to confirm that their division is the worst. It ended with the Giants desperately throwing the football around like a hot potato before fittingly losing it out of bounds as time expired.

Worse for the Giants were the injury losses of offensive tackle Geoff Schwartz and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, leaving them thinner in two areas that were already problems.

The Eagles probably are not as bad as they looked in their losses to Tampa Bay and Detroit. Few teams in the NFL are ever that bad. Easily forgotten because of those two losses is that the Eagles were beating Miami in Week 10, and Sam Bradford was playing a pretty good game and in a decent groove when the quarterback left with a concussion and shoulder injury near the end of the third quarter.

Since then, the Eagles have been outscored by 97-34, and Mark Sanchez has proven that no team will ever win anything with him at quarterback.

Still being in the race should be enough motivation for the players and coaches to return to work Tuesday with some renewed enthusiasm. They have a division game remaining at home with Washington and on the season's final day against the Giants at MetLife Stadium. Win both of them and one of the other three against New England, Buffalo, or Arizona, and, as ridiculous as it sounds, 7-9 could get them into the postseason.

A year ago, on Nov. 30, the Carolina Panthers lost badly to Minnesota to fall to 3-8-1. They won their last four games and claimed the NFC South with a 7-8-1 record before upsetting Arizona in the first round of the playoffs. Since that loss to the Vikings, they are 16-1.

Five years ago, Seattle lost five of its last seven games, but still won the NFC West with a 7-9 record before also winning a playoff game against the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans.

Stupid stuff happens in this league, and the Eagles still have a chance to do something that would make absolutely no sense.

Beyond the potentially surreal divisional implications for the Eagles are the final auditions for 2016. The most important decision, of course, is at quarterback. The assumption is that Bradford will be back against New England after practicing last week in a limited role. These last five games will determine whether his future with the Eagles extends beyond this season.

How things go from here for the entire team will also have a strong bearing on how Kelly is perceived heading into the offseason. If we did not see the worst of the Eagles in their last two games, then the temperature at Lincoln Financial Field is going to become uncomfortably hot for Kelly and his team, regardless of what the thermometer says during the season's final three home games.

@brookob