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The Eagles are suddenly showing the form of a contender

At 5-4 after defeating the Bears on Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles could be well on their way to an NFC East crown.

In Week 9, the Philadelphia Eagles improved their record to 5-4 after besting the visiting Chicago Bears, 22-14. The performance was more dominant than the final score indicates, with the Eagles out-gaining the Bears 373 yards to 164, converting eight of their 18 third-down attempts (compared to two-of-10 for Chicago) and dominating the time of possession, 40:18 to 19:42.

Suddenly, it looks like the Eagles could be legitimate postseason contenders now that the season has moved beyond its halfway point.

While it might be difficult for the Eagles to earn a Wild Card berth given the level of talent around the NFC, the door is wide open for Philadelphia to head to the playoffs as NFC East champions. Currently, the Dallas Cowboys are atop the division, at 4-3, but their inconsistencies have been apparent all season long. The New York Giants and Washington, meanwhile, are two of the NFL‘s worst teams this season and with 2-6 and 1-8 records, respectively, and don’t seem like their headed for dramatic turnarounds during the second half of the season.

The Eagles’ remaining schedule is also favorable. Only their next two contents, home games against the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, are against proven winners. After that, they face the Miami Dolphins, who picked up their first win of the year in Week 9, and then stay in the division to close out the season, taking on the Giants twice and the Cowboys and Washington each once. It’s entirely plausible that the Eagles win all five of those games, and with that the divisional crown.

It’s not that the Eagles are doing anything particularly well; in all important metrics the team is decidedly middle-of-the-road. But wins are wins and a favorable schedule late in the year can sometimes be all it takes for a team to become a postseason threat. It also helps that the NFC East isn’t all that competitive. As of now, it’s a two-horse race between Philadelphia and Dallas and the latter has a much more difficult stretch of games ahead.

Beating the Bears is not that difficult to do this year. But the Eagles did so convincingly. And that victory, paired with what’s ahead on the schedule makes Philadelphia a definite playoff contender and NFC East favorite through nine weeks.

Next: Are the Bears going to fire Matt Nagy?

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