Eagles clinch without playing

The Vikings' opponent on Tuesday night, the Eagles, clinched their division title without playing Sunday, but the Eagles are still jockeying for playoff positioning and hoping to earn a first-round bye.

The Eagles clinched their sixth NFC East title in the last 10 years Sunday and didn't have to lift a finger to do it.

The Green Bay Packers' 45-17 win over the New York Giants earned the Eagles their first division crown since 2006.

The Giants, who blew a 21-point lead in the final 7 1/2 minutes to the Eagles last week, fell to 9-6. The Eagles, whose scheduled game against the Minnesota Vikings was postponed by snow until Tuesday, are 10-4.

The Eagles can be no worse than the third seed in the playoffs. But they go into Tuesday's game against the Vikings still hopeful of landing the No. 2 seed in the NFC, which comes with a first-round bye.

The Atlanta Falcons, who took a 12-2 record into Monday night's game against the New Orleans Saints, are the frontrunner to be the NFC's top seed. The Chicago Bears (11-4), who beat the Eagles earlier this season and have a tie-breaker advantage over them, would be the second seed if the playoffs started tomorrow.

But they've still got to play the Green Bay Packers Sunday in their final regular-season game.

"It's very gratifying to have won the division and be going back to the playoffs," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "That's one of the goals we've been working toward all year. But the job isn't finished."

This will be the Eagles' ninth post-season appearance in the last 11 years under Reid. They've been to the NFC Championship five times and to the Super Bowl once, losing to the New England Patriots in 2004.

This is also their eighth double-digit-win season under Reid.

The movement of Sunday's game to Tuesday means the Eagles will have a short week to get ready for their final regular-season game against the Dallas Cowboys. But they played a Thursday night game three weeks ago against Houston on four days rest and did well, beating the Texans, 34-24. They also had a Monday night game earlier this season and came back the next Sunday to beat the Giants, 27-17.

"I don't think it's a problem," Reid said. "I think we'll be all right. We've had Monday games, Sunday night games, we had a Thursday game. So we've been through a lot of this already, and that will help us. We'll be fine."

If the Eagles hope to make any noise in the playoffs, their defense needs to do a better job against the pass. Going into the Vikings game, the Eagles had given up a club-record 30 touchdown passes, including 12 in the last four games.

The Giants' Eli Manning had four touchdown passes against them last week, and the Bears' Jay Cutler also threw for four TDs against them in his team's 31-26 late-November win.

"Well, there's a lot that goes into it there," defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said. "A young defense, a young secondary, and then pass rush, you can always have more pass rush. But I'll just say this, with those points have come turnovers (the Eagles have a league-high 23 interceptions), and it's hard to have both.

"Is that what we're shooting for? Absolutely, we are. But with those turnovers we give the ball back to our offense and we've been a factor and one of the reasons why we're 10-4. Now, am I happy about those points? Absolutely not. Some of those points are coming in the red zone, in addition to the big plays, so we have to get that corrected and we're working hard at that. So that's a big goal of ours coming down the stretch here."

LINEUP WATCH: A year ago at this time, defensive tackle Trevor Laws looked like a guy who wasn't long for the Eagles. A former second-round pick, he was a healthy inactive for the last four regular-season games and their playoff loss to Dallas. But he has worked his way back into defensive coordinator Sean McDermott's good graces and continues to get more and more playing time. Laws has become a key part of the McDermott's nickel package as an interior pass-rusher. Laws ranks third on the team in sacks with four. He's also getting more and more snaps in the base package.

BY THE NUMBERS: In the five games leading up to Tuesday's game against the Vikings, the Eagles outscored their opponents in the fourth quarter, 79-21. In their previous nine games, they were outscored in the fourth quarter, 46-77.


  • ORT Winston Justice will start Tuesday against the Vikings after missing the last two games with a hyperextended knee.

  • DT Mike Patterson should benefit from the postponement of Sunday's game. The extra two days gives his sore knee more time to heal.

  • RB/WR Chad Hall may get an opportunity to return punts and kicks Tuesday against the Vikings with Jorrick Calvin on injured reserve. Calvin was placed on IR Thursday with a lower back injury.

  • WR DeSean Jackson's sore foot will get a couple of extra days to recover because of the move of Sunday's game against the Vikings to Tuesday.

  • LB Stewart Bradley has been ruled out of Tuesday's game against the Vikings. He has a dislocated elbow.

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