NFC East breakdown: Eagles take control

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Donovan McNabb celebrates after Leonard Weaver's touchdown in the fourth quarter. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC East with their wild, 45-38 win over the Giants Sunday night.

The Cowboys' December struggles continued as they lost their second in a row, falling to the Chargers in Dallas.

With three games left, it's the Birds' division to lose.

Here's how things break down:

Philadelphia Eagles (9-4)

Division record: 4-1
Remaining schedule: San Francisco, Denver, at Dallas.
Record of remaining opponents: 21-17
Home games remaining: 2
Road games remaining: 1
Division games remaining: (at Dallas)

The Eagles are the hottest team in the division, having won four in a row. It's pretty simple. Regardless of what happens the next two weeks, if the Birds win in Dallas in Week 17, they win the division. Can the Eagles put it away before then? Yes. If the Cowboys lose Saturday night against the Saints and the Eagles beat the 49ers and Broncos, the Birds would have the division wrapped up going into the finale. The Eagles own the tiebreak over the Giants, having swept the season series. Should they somehow tie the Cowboys at 10-6 and lose the Week 17 matchup, Dallas would win the tiebreak (head to head). Needless to say, the Eagles are in great position heading into the final three games.

Dallas Cowboys (8-5)

Division record: 2-2
Remaining schedule: at New Orleans, at Washington, Philadelphia.
Record of remaining opponents: 26-13
Home games remaining: 1
Road games remaining: 2
Division games remaining: 2 (at Washington, Philadelphia)

The Cowboys are now 3-8 in December under Wade Phillips. They have lost back-to-back games for the first time all season and now have to travel to New Orleans to take on the undefeated Saints Saturday night. Dallas will have to root for an Eagles loss over the next two weeks. If that happens, the Cowboys could still win the division if they finish tied with the Eagles at 10-6 (which would mean a Week 17 win). Two weeks ago, they were in the driver's seat. Now, Dallas will have to play well down the stretch just to get into the postseason. If the season ended today, the Cowboys would travel to Philadelphia for a matchup against the Eagles on wild-card weekend.

New York Giants (7-6)

Division record: 3-2
Remaining schedule: at Washington, Carolina, at Minnesota.
Record of remaining opponents: 20-19
Home games remaining: 1
Road games remaining: 2
Division games remaining: 1 (at Washington)

The Giants had a chance to save their season Sunday night, but couldn't get it done. New York has lost six of eight. They haven't won back-to-back games since Weeks 4 and 5. The Giants would need to win out and have the Eagles lose out for a chance at the division. More realistically, they are battling for a wild-card spot with the Cowboys. The Packers are in control of one of those spots at 9-4. The Giants own the tiebreak over the Cowboys, should they finish with the same record. New York could catch a break in Week 17 if the Vikings are sitting their starters, which appears more and more likely with each passing week.

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