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Birds primed for big finish

Next stop, NFC East title?<p></p>

Next stop, NFC East title?

With a 27-13 victory over the 49ers yesterday at a snow-ringed Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles clinched a spot in the playoffs for the eighth time in Andy Reid’s 11-year tenure.

The win was the fifth straight for the Eagles (10-4), which kept them in the NFC East’s driver’s seat, a full game ahead of the Dallas Cowboys (9-5).

“It’s an exciting thing,” quarterback Donovan Mc-Nabb said. “But, it’s nothing to get overexcited about.”

The Eagles’ defense forced four first-half turnovers and survived a big day from Frank Gore (106 yards on 16 carries).

The Eagles struck first, cashing in on a 19-yard DeSean Jackson touchdown, then padded the lead with an 8-yard scoring scramble by McNabb. The Eagles led 20-3 at halftime, but couldn’t quite drive the final nail.

McNabb (21-of-36 for 306 yards) threw two interceptions and was forced to watch Josh Morgan catch a 12-yard touchdown to make it 20-13. However, the Eagles answered when Jackson converted a third-and-2 by streaking 59 yards down the right sideline. A few plays later, rookie LeSean McCoy found the end zone from two yards out.

The 49ers made it into Eagles territory on a last-gasp drive, but Trent Cole sacked Alex Smith on fourth down. From there, the Eagles ran out the clock.

“I’m proud of our guys and the way they’ve worked through a bunch of situations,” Reid said.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity [to make the playoffs].”

 
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