The Eagles are hoping their playoff chances are more than a prayer.Getty Images

Two weeks ago, the Eagles thought they would be suiting up to play on Thanksgiving with a chance to solidify their chances at winning the NFC East.

But after back-to-back home losses to mediocre teams from Florida and falling back by a game to the 5-5 Giants, the 4-6 Eagles are now looking to simply stay afloat and hope the Giants falter worse than they have.

After last week's 45-17 debacle against the Buccaneers, the defense is glad to have a short week. It allows them to turn the page and focus on the future.

"It was draining to lose like that, to prepare like that," defensive coordinator Billy Davis said,"and all of it implodes at once. It was humbling."


With Eagles fans (the ones who haven't turned yet) hoping the team has already reached bottom, there is nowhere for them to go but up.

Here are three (of many) keys for the Eagles to find victory Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in Detroit.

Bouncing back

The Eagles defense was third against the run through six games. Since then they've dropped all the way to 28th of 32 teams.

Luckily for them, the Lions are dead last in the NFL with just 711 rushing yards through 10 games. It should be a favorable matchup for the Birds, who have a relatively effective secondary.

Davis told reporters Tuesday thatthe team is focused on stopping Detroit's veteran receivers (like Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate).He also noted that rookie running backAmeer Abdullah is growing as an NFL player.

"We've got a challenge," the coach said.

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Quarterback uncertainty

Monday, when reporters asked Lane Johnson who would start at quarterback, the offensive tackle said he expected Mark Sanchez to be behind center.

With Chip Kelly mum on the subject, Pat Shurmursaid Sam Bradford, who is recovering from a shoulder injury and concussion, ran some plays with the first team offense in practice and has cleared the concussion protocol.

So who will be starting Thursday?

"We're going to get all the quarterbacks ready to go," Shurmur said Tuesday."Today is a walkthrough... Need to see who's healthy."

So if Bradford is healthy, will he be back on the field? Stay tuned...

Turkey day

The Eagles are 6-0 on Thanksgiving Day, with their most recent victory coming just a year ago in a breakout 33-10 win over the Cowboys. The Eagles have, in recent years, been a team that relishes the limelight and has played better in nationally televised games.

Could that possibly happen again, to a team with so much disarray as the 2015 Eagles have?

"We are going to get a chance to play on Thanksgiving, which is going to be great," Sanchez said, who was the architect of the Eagles Turkey Day triumph last season."You get to have your family back home watching and we will get like a mini bye week after that to get guys healthy. And this could be the start of something good."

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