DENVER -- The winds can shift on you pretty quickly in the NFL.
Exiting Empower Field at Mile High on Sunday night, a group of Broncos fans were lamenting the 30-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles that dropped Denver to 5-5, pushing the red-hot 3-0 start to the season way back into the memory bank.
"If the Eagles can do that to them," one said, "[coach] Vic Fangio has got to go!"
Similar frustrations have been vented in Philadelphia for much of the year, as the Eagles stumbled to a 2-5 start under first-year head coach Nick Sirianni. But they've won two of their last three games, forged an offensive identity in the process, and all of a sudden have a little swagger to them. For all the trials and hand-wringing over the last 10 weeks, they exited Sunday just one game back in the race for the final NFC wild-card spot.
Playoffs? It sounds crazy. But the odds are improving for the 4-6 Eagles. According to ESPN's Football Power Index, the Eagles have a 25.4% chance of making the playoffs after Sunday's win.
Here are three reasons why Philadelphia actually has a shot.
Finishing schedule: The Eagles have the second-easiest closing schedule behind only the Tennessee Titans, according to FPI. They do not get on a plane for the remainder of the regular season and play four of their final seven games at home. (All four of Philadelphia's wins have been on the road, granted, but that's been more about quality of opponent.)
They still have two games remaining against both the New York Giants (3-6) and Washington Football Team (3-6) and also play the New York Jets (2-7). And who knows, the regular-season finale against the Dallas Cowboys could end up being meaningless for Dallas from a playoff-positioning perspective. Either way, there are wins to be had over the final seven games.
Tiebreakers: If the season ended today, the New Orleans Saints (5-4) and Carolina Panthers (5-5) would be the final two NFC wild-card teams. The Minnesota Vikings (4-5) and Atlanta Falcons (4-5) are just ahead of the Eagles as bubble teams.
Philadelphia holds the head-to-head tiebreakers over the Panthers and Falcons, having beaten both this year. This week's home game against the Saints is sneaky-big. A win would give them the tiebreaker advantage over three of the teams they're competing with for a postseason berth. The Eagles opened as 1 1/2-point favorites against New Orleans.
Finding their formula: The Eagles have turned to the ground game over the last three weeks, and are a different team because of it. Leaning on their stout offensive front to pave the way, they've racked up an incredible 626 rushing yards on 125 carries in three games for an average of 42 carries for 209 yards per game.
It has taken pressure off the defense and 23-year-old quarterback Jalen Hurts who, by no coincidence, is in the midst of his best stretch as a pro to date.
So long as they stick with that identity, they should, at a minimum, be competitive in every game. That should keep them relevant in the playoff discussion for the rest of the season.