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Must-wins are nothing new for Eagles

In this up-and-down 2015 season, where it seems there has been more downs than ups, the Eagles have actually passed many tests they’ve had come there way in the subject matter of “must win” games.

Since 1990, history says an 0-2 start slims your chances of making the playoffs to just 12 percent. However, the 2003 Eagles are an example of one team that overcame the long odds. By virtue of passing the previous "must-win" tests this season, the 2015 Eagles have a chance to be another exception to the 12-percent rule.

Going 0-3 plummets the percentage to just two percent. So the Eagles passed their first test by avoiding the 0-3 mark by beating the New York Jets.

Coming off the bye week, the Birds had a pivotal rematch with the Dallas Cowboys. A loss in this spot would have given the Cowboys the season sweep and the Eagles a 1-3 divisional record.

Not only did the Eagles pass the test by defeating the Cowboys in an overtime thriller, the victory also kept them just a half game behind the Giants for first place with a game in hand. Dallas was knocked back to 2-6, hindering their chances of ever truly getting back in the playoff hunt.

After an abysmal three-game losing streak, a fourth consecutive loss seemed inevitable based on the opponent on the schedule, the one-loss New England Patriots. Losing to the Patriots would all but pronounce the Eagles playoff hopes dead.

With the help of three non-offensive touchdowns by the defense and special teams, the Eagles pulled off the improbable upset. The huge win somehow pulled them into a three way tie at the top of the NFC East with a record of 5-7.

Any game in the Eagles loss column this season could be looked at as a failed test, but the importance of games won in certain spots throughout the course of the year have outweighed the defeats by large margins to this point. No loss suffered this season put them at an ultimate disadvantage of making the postseason.

Another test awaits the Eagles on Saturday night in home finale against the Redskins. The "must-win" matter is at hand and this time a loss will officially end the Eagles playoff possibilities. But the bottom line is that the previous "must-wins" through the first 14 games have enabled the Eagles to control their own destiny to clinching an NFC Division Title in this up-and-down 2015 season.

Ryan Shute is a contributing writer for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @ShutemUpSports.

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