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The difference between 5-3 & 4-4

Bob Brookover does a nice job in today's Inky outlining just how important today's game is...

The Eagles' season would be far from over if they lose today. The last two seasons are proof of that. The Eagles were 5-6 after 11 games two years ago and still won the NFC East, and the Washington Redskins were 5-7 after 12 games last season and squeezed in as the final wild-card team.

But history tells us that if the quest is a Super Bowl appearance or title, 5-3 is twice as good as 4-4. Of the 84 teams that have been to the Super Bowl, nine of them started the season 5-3, including four eventual winners (the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, the 1988 San Francisco 49ers, the 1980 Oakland Raiders and the 1971 Dallas Cowboys).

Only four teams with 4-4 records have been to the NFL title game, and the 2001 New England Patriots are the only team to be .500 at the halfway mark and win the title.

With the NFC East being as competitive as it is, the importance of keeping above .500 is as important as ever. The Cowboys and Giants play each other today, so one of those teams will have a loss by the end of the day and the Redskins have a tough game against Pittsburgh tommorrow night. The injury ravaged 2-5 Seahawks are least challenging opponent an NFC East team will face this week. If this team wants to be in the postseason this year, a loss is unacceptable.