PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles aren't ready to give up just yet.
Despite their four-game losing streak, they still see the playoffs and even an NFC East title as a possibility. But the players also acknowledge that none of those goals will be achievable if they don't start winning, starting with today's showdown against Dallas.
"Our No. 1 priority is to end this losing streak," defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. "We want to get a win and then go from there."
The Eagles enter the second half of their regular season still in contention for a playoff spot. At 3-5, they are tied with the Cowboys for second place in the division, 2 games behind the New York Giants (6-3). The Eagles are 1-0 against division opponents this season, having beaten the Giants 19-17 on Sept. 30, and have won six straight games against NFC East foes dating back to last season.
The wild-card races are also wide open. Aside from Atlanta (8-0), which already leads the NFC South by four games, no team has been able to take control. Only seven NFC teams have winning records.
"We can still turn this thing around, absolutely," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "It's the halfway point in the season and there's still a lot of football left. This can easily be turned around. We just have to keep believing in one another. Keep believing in everybody. Continue to do your job and do it all out. You have to do it with all your might and play for both yourself and your team."
The Eagles have shown the ability to bounce back from adversity.
Monday's 28-13 loss at New Orleans bore a lot of similarities to last season's 31-14 defeat at Seattle. Both were terrible performances featuring costly turnovers, silly penalties and an apparent lack of effort.
The Eagles answered that loss to the Seahawks by closing the season with four consecutive victories.
"I think this is very similar to what we went through last season," Eagles tight end Brent Celek said. "The difference is we have a chance to turn it around a little earlier this year. We need to do it right now because time is running out."
If the Eagles want to save this season, they will have to fix several problems that have cropped up during the course of the season. Here's a look at some of the mistakes that will have to be corrected over the second half of the season.
1. Offensive line breakdowns: Most of the offensive troubles have been caused by the Eagles' inability to protect Michael Vick and provide consistent blocking for running back LeSean McCoy. Injuries have hurt. Left tackle Jason Peters has yet to play this season, center Jason Kelce and right tackle Todd Herremans will miss the rest of the year and right guard Danny Watkins will miss his third straight game. The holdovers have to come together to form a cohesive unit and do it in a hurry.
"No matter who's out there, we have to execute," Eagles guard Evan Mathis said. "But we can't turn this around by talking. We have to put this thing on our shoulders and start producing."
2. Michael Vick's turnovers: He's committed 14 turnovers on the season, including two that were especially costly. New Orleans cornerback Patrick Robinson's 99-yard interception return for a touchdown last Monday was Vick's second turnover that resulted in an opposing team's touchdown. Arizona safety Larry Sanders scooped up a fumble and rumbled 93 yards for a TD on Sept. 23. In both cases, the Eagles were close to scoring a TD that may have changed the outcome.
"We've just got to have a never-give-up attitude and keep pressing forward," Vick said. "Don't let up because the minute you start doing that is the minute you can pack it up. We're going to catch a break sooner or later."
3. Lack of sacks: The Eagles sacked New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees twice on Monday, but still have only 11 sacks on the season a year after tying for the league lead with 50. Defensive end Jason Babin leads the team with 3 sacks. He had 18 last year. Defensive end Trent Cole has 1. He's ranked third in franchise history with 69 sacks and has had at least 10 in three straight seasons.
"You can't put the blame on one person or one position," Cole said. "It takes a team to win and everybody has to do their job. We're not going to let (the Saints loss) beat us down. We're going to keep fighting, regardless."
Contact David Weinberg:
at Eagles (3-5)
When: 4:25 p.m. today
TV/radio: FOX/97.3 FM
Line: Cowboys by 2 points
Over/under: 44½ points