Revolution: Eagles Win in D.C. Can Jumpstart This Season

Revolution: Eagles Win in D.C. Can Jumpstart This Season

If you're looking for an example of how quickly things can change in the NFL, one need look no further than the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins.

Last November, the Birds demolished the Skins 59-28 in their second meeting of the season, a game that was not nearly as close as the final score. Michael Vick posted a historic performance that had many believing he was becoming the new quarterback prototype before our eyes, laying waste to an opponent that was playing at half speed and seemed to quit the moment they fell behind. The action on the field more closely resembled a top five college program rolling over some mid-major cupcake than the typically hard-fought NFC East rivalry.

Even right until this season started, Washington was a joke, electing to go with a turnover-prone signal caller whose best football was never very good, and narrowly beat out a 30 year old with four career starts for the job. The Eagles, as we know, were the prohibitive favorite coming out of the division, their summer of free spending still being celebrated as a major coup for the organization.

Now the Redskins are 3-1, and currently reside in first place, converting a few believers on their quest to shock the world. And Philadelphia, well... you get the idea.

For another example of how quickly things can change in the NFL, we jump back to present day, where a picture of the standings could shift dramatically before the afternoon is out -- that is if the Eagles actually finish a game. But with a win today, and at least a New York Giants loss, the Birds would dive right back into the postseason hunt, as no club in the East would have larger than a one game lead heading into the bye week. Plus, at 1-1 and four division sets remaining, they still control their own destiny

I don't suspect such a scenario would do much to energize a fan base that's lost almost all hope, many of whom would just as soon detach themselves from the whole operation, if they only knew how. And really, we're talking about getting to 2-4. There is a long way to go before most people are willing to seriously entertain the notion that this team has a run in them.

Every turnaround has to begin somewhere though. Win or lose, this may not feel like the biggest moment of the 2011 season today, but it is. A loss would be be surprisingly devastating, the Eagles not suddenly mathematically out of it as a result, but their path to the playoffs no longer clearly visible. On the other hand, a W breathes new life into the franchise and their faithful, and if something special should happen down the road, we'll look back on this victory when we talk about where it started.

It won't be easy. The defense is without Trent Cole again, and King Dunlap's injury has created another shuffling along the offense line -- with Jason Peters also out, Todd Herremans slides over to left tackle, while Winston Justice makes his first start since last year on the right side.

And the Redskins are a quality opponent to say the least. They have a well-coached offense that plays to its strengths, and a top 10 defense stacked with talent at every position. By no means will winning come easy today.

Regardless, we're about to find out what kind of character the Eagles truly have. The talent is not really what's in question here. Their will to win, will to scrap, will to fight for 60 minutes are in doubt. But if they can just get that one win, maybe we'll learn something about this team, and just maybe this season isn't over.

Let's hit the reset button.

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets crush Islanders, 7-0

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets crush Islanders, 7-0

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Unlike some other NHL teams coming off their bye week, there wasn't a spot of rust on the sleek Columbus Blue Jackets.

In their first game following a five-day break, the high-energy Blue Jackets blew out the New York Islanders 7-0 Saturday as backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo earned his first career shutout.

Josh Anderson and Nick Foligno each scored twice, and David Savard had a goal and three assists. Boone Jenner and Jack Johnson also scored to help the Blue Jackets end New York's three-game winning streak (see full recap).

Zibanejad scores in OT to help Rangers beat Devils again
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New York Rangers are finding ways to win, and the New Jersey Devils just aren't.

Moments after goaltender Antti Raanta stopped Kyle Palmieri on a breakaway, Mika Zibanejad scored 1:16 into overtime and the Rangers rallied to beat the Devils 4-3 on Saturday.

"I had to redeem myself after that letdown on the breakaway the other way," said Zibanejad, whose mistake gave Palmieri a chance to complete a hat trick. "Rants came up big and it's nice to see that puck cross the goal line once again and win the game."

The goal was Zibanejad's first in 16 games and it gave the Rangers their ninth win in 11 games (9-1-1). Struggling New Jersey got its fourth loss in five games (1-3-1) (see full recap).

Shaw's OT goal gives Canadiens 14th straight win over the Leafs
TORONTO -- Andrew Shaw scored 1:06 into overtime and the Montreal Canadiens beat Toronto 3-2 on Saturday night for their 14th consecutive victory over the Maple Leafs.

Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk had the other goals for the Canadiens, who increased their Atlantic Division lead to four points over Ottawa and five on Toronto. They are 3-7-1 in the last 11 games and 2-2-0 under new coach Claude Julien.

Carey Price stopped 32 shots for Montreal, including a breakaway by Auston Matthews in overtime. The 19-year-old Matthews scored twice to reach 30 goals in his rookie season, and Frederik Andersen was sharp with 25 saves for Toronto (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Noel scores 9 points, grab 10 boards in Mavs debut

Best of NBA: Noel scores 9 points, grab 10 boards in Mavs debut

DALLAS -- Harrison Barnes scored 19 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 18 points and nine rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks ended a three-game losing streak by beating the New Orleans Pelicans 96-83 on Saturday night.

The Pelicans fell to 0-2 since trading for DeMarcus Cousins and pairing him with Anthony Davis.

Davis had 39 points and 14 rebounds but scored only 12 in the second half. Cousins finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

Seth Curry scored 10 of his 13 in the fourth quarter to help Dallas pull away. His 3-pointer with 4:49 to play gave the Mavericks an 84-72 lead, and the Pelicans never got closer than six after that (see full recap).

Harden leads Rockets past Timberwolves in 142-130 shootout
HOUSTON -- James Harden had 24 points and 10 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 142-130 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves as both teams set season scoring highs in a Saturday night shootout.

Houston won for the sixth time in seven games, handing the Timberwolves their first road loss in more than three weeks.

Minnesota committed a season-high 25 turnovers that led to 38 points for the Rockets.

Playing against Houston's guard-heavy rotation, Minnesota went inside all night and outscored the Rockets 68-44 in the paint. Karl-Anthony Towns had 37 points and 22 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins added 30 points (see full recap).

Bulls benefit as James sits with strep, beat Cavs 117-99
CLEVELAND -- Dwyane Wade scored 20 points and Jimmy Butler recorded a triple-double, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 117-99 victory Saturday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who played without LeBron James.

James missed the game with strep throat, and coach Tyronn Lue said he wasn't sure how long the Cavaliers would be without the four-time MVP. Cleveland struggled as it often does without its star - they are 4-19 without him since he returned to Cleveland in 2014, including 0-4 this season.

Chicago has won all three games against Cleveland this season. It took advantage of James' absence to win its fourth straight overall (see full recap).

George ejected, Heat stay hot with 113-95 win over Pacers
MIAMI -- Paul George had another frustrating night in Miami.

Hassan Whiteside scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, Dion Waiters added 22 points and the red-hot Miami Heat pulled away late to beat the Indiana Pacers 113-95 on Saturday night. Miami outscored Indiana 42-22 in the final 16 minutes, all with George watching from the Pacers' locker room after an ejection.

"It felt like a playoff-type game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said (see full recap).