After stringing together back-to-back wins for the first time this season, the Eagles have the unenviable task of facing the 10-0 New England Patriots on Sunday in Foxborough, Mass.
If the 5-5 Eagles, who have been made three-touchdown underdogs by the Las Vegas oddsmakers, are to have any hope of pulling off an upset, they must find a way to slow down the Patriots' prolific passing game.
They've got to find a way to get pressure on quarterback Tom Brady, who has thrown 38 touchdown passes already and just 88 incompletions. And they've got to find a way neutralize his favorite receiver, Randy Moss, who has caught 16 of those TD passes and already has 1,052 receiving yards.
This game hasn't come at a good time for the Eagles defense. The unit has been having trouble getting to opposing quarterbacks, registering just one sack in the past three games. And the banged-up secondary has given up six touchdown passes in the last three games.
The Eagles lost their starting strong safety, Sean Considine, for the season three weeks ago with a shoulder injury. His replacement, Quintin Mikell, sprained the MCL in his knee last week and probably won't play. J.R. Reed, who was cut by the Eagles earlier this season and then re-signed, will replace Mikell.
Things aren't much better at cornerback. Their best cover man, Lito Sheppard, missed four games earlier this season with an MCL sprain and still is nowhere close to 100 percent. Nickel back Will James, the only corner on the roster taller than 5-foot-10, has plantar fasciitis in his foot and was benched two weeks ago after giving up back-to-back 31-yard completions to Redskins wide receiver James Thrash, who never will be confused with Moss.
"This is a big challenge for us," Philadelphia coach Andy Reid said. "Right now, they're the best team in the National Football League. And it's well-deserved.
"They're throwing the ball around a little bit. They spread you out and they're throwing it. They're doing a nice job with it. They're doing it as well as anybody I've seen."
Brady has thrown just four interceptions in 338 pass attempts this season. The Eagles, meanwhile, have picked off just six passes, only one in the past five games.
"I think everybody's beatable," Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown said. "This is what's funny to me, and this is why I wouldn't gamble. Say Tom Brady takes a blow to the head in the first quarter and gets a concussion. Are they beatable?
"Say Randy Moss runs a go route and pulls a hamstring. Are they beatable? It always takes a total team effort. Everybody seems to forget that. The game we play, it's such a violent sport, you never know when a guy is going to go down."
The Eagles always have struggled against taller wideouts like Moss, the Giants' Plaxico Burress and the Cowboys' Terrell Owens. Brown, Sheppard and Joselio Hanson, who has replaced James as the nickel back, all are undersized.
"I've never seen a guy with a stride like Randy's," Brown said. "It's like he's running 2 yards to your 1.
"He's just an explosive guy. If you're too close to him and he takes off deep, he has a height advantage, and you're going to look crazy going for the ball. I don't care if you're 6-2. He's 6-5, and he can jump."