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Philadelphia Eagles Now Officially The NFC East Team To Beat

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By Kevin McGuire

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 08: Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles signals to teammates in the first quarter against the Detroit Lions on December 8, 2013 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

(Credit, Elsa/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Eagles are now the team to beat in the NFC East. You don’t think so? Check the standings in the NFC East. With the Chicago Bears blowing away the Dallas Cowboys Monday night, the Eagles are now sitting alone at the top of the division with just three games to play.

If the NFL playoffs were to begin today, the Eagles would get a home game as the division winner. They would host the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, despite San Francisco having one more win than the Eagles at this point. A win at home against the Niners would send the Eagles down to New Orleans to take on the Saints, with a potential trip to Seattle awaiting the winner in the NFC Championship Game.

The good vibes the Eagles have been giving off during this five-game winning streak even have some talking about a potential Super Bowl run. Hey, in a league where all it takes sometimes is to be the hottest team at the right time, the Eagles could be playing that exact role, but let’s slow down just a tad on those dream scenarios. After all, they are called dream scenarios for a reason.

The Eagles are still an unproven team with a second-year quarterback and a first-year head coach leading the charge. That does not mean Nick Foles and Chip Kelly are necessarily incapable of turning the world upside down and sending a parade down Broad Street, but this is still very much an uphill battle. There’s a lot of work still to be done this season.

That starts this weekend on the road at Minnesota. The Vikings have struggled this season and the Eagles could be getting them at a good time. The Eagles have already shown this season they have the ability to go on the road and take control of an undermanned and out-matched opponent before in wins against at Washington, New York, Oakland and Green Bay. Playing on the road is not an issue for this team. But now the pressure is on for the Eagles. While entering the year with few or reduced expectations, the success on the field and in the standings has changed the outlook.

The Eagles may have a one-game lead in the NFC East, but if the Cowboys rebound after a rough loss in Chicago, the season could still come down to one finale game, the regular season finale in Dallas. The good news is the Eagles have a one-game advantage on the Cowboys for the division, but the Cowboys have the division tiebreaker advantage for now. Any tie in the division would go to Dallas.

The Eagles are currently one game back in the NFC Wild Card situation, one win behind San Francisco and the Carolina Panthers, so winning the division may be the only way the Eagles get in to the postseason with time running out. A win in Minnesota this weekend and another at home against Chicago next week could change the entire playoff picture regardless of what happens in Dallas in the final game.

There is plenty of work to be done, but feel free to dream now if you wish.

For more Eagles news and updates, visit Eagles Central.

Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.