Why this is their biggest game of the year

Eagles (3-1) at Pittsburgh (1-2), Sunday, 1 p.m., Heinz Field (FOX)

The Eagles need a victory to stay close to unbeaten Arizona and Atlanta in the NFC race and keep at least a share of first place in the NFC East. They may have trouble avoiding a letdown against the Steelers, however. Their hard-fought victory over the New York Giants was part of an emotional night in which the team also retired Brian Dawkins' No. 20 jersey.

Evaluating the Eagles

(Observations from the 19-17 victory over the New York Giants)

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha: Couldn't see eye to eye with the refs.

Fullback Stanley Havili: Who needs Owen Schmitt?

Place-kicker Alex Henery: New holder didn't faze him.

Running back LeSean McCoy: Turned it up in the second half.

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: He's not a "knee-taker."

Quarterback Michael Vick: Finally avoided costly mistakes.

Evaluating their special teams

Henery made a career-high four field goals in as many attempts despite having to change holders in the beginning of the week. New punter Mat McBriar, who also replaced Chas Henry as the holder, averaged 45.5 yards per punt and placed two inside the 20-yard line. The kickoff coverage unit was horrible. Giants returner David Wilson repeatedly gashed them for big gains. He averaged a whopping 36.2 yards on six returns. Three of his returns were 45 yards or longer.

3-and-out with Andy Reid

Q: Vick said after the game that he wasn't a fan of your decision to ice the kicker. Your thoughts?

A: For about a minute there, I wasn't a fan of myself.

Q: What was the problem on kickoff coverages?

A: We had guys in position. They just have to make plays.

Q: What was the big key to the win?

A: We won the turnover battle for the first time this year. That was important.

David Weinberg, 609-272-7186