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PHILADELPHIA – If the Philadelphia Eagles really wanted to win the NFC East, they'd petition the NFL to move all their home games out of town.
Chip Kelly's squad is 5-1 on the road and 0-4 at the Linc. And, that's only this year. The Eagles (5-5) have lost a franchise-record 10 straight games at home since a victory over the New York Giants on Sept. 30, 2012.
Talk about a home-field disadvantage.
They'll have to break that losing streak to have any chance at winning a division that's up for grabs. The Eagles won't hit the road again for another month. They have three home games and a bye over the next four weeks.
"What is the answer for us not winning at home and being 5-1 on the road? I don't know," Kelly said. "If we knew it, we'd replicate it. Do we have to take the buses and drive around for a half hour before we go to the stadium? I don't know. If that was the answer, we would do it. We don't have that answer.
"But I do think we have an advantage. We love playing at home. Our fans are outstanding. They deserve it. That's what our goal is right now. We have a one-game season, and it's against the Washington Redskins, it's at home, and we're excited to get back into the Linc and play in front of our fans."
A victory over the Redskins (3-6) on Sunday would give the Eagles sole possession of first place in the mediocre East. They're tied for first with Dallas (5-5), which is off this week.
Perhaps a friendly crowd will be the solution for the team's woes. At least that's what star wideout DeSean Jackson suggested after Sunday's win at Green Bay.
"We got to get it going. We got to get back in the swing of things at home," Jackson said. "Our fans deserve it. So, hopefully, we can collect something together, figure out what it is and just win in front of our home fans. But there's got to be support. We can't be coming into the game, first quarter, getting boos and all that type of stuff. (The fans) just got to work with us throughout the game. I think as long as everybody is doing their job and doing what they need to do, we'll be all right."
The days when opponents feared coming to Philadelphia are long gone. There was a time when nobody wanted to play here, especially when the Eagles called Veterans Stadium home.
Then again, players hated playing on the rock-hard artificial turf at the Vet almost as much hearing jeers from the rowdies in the 700 level. The Linc just doesn't seem to be quite that intimidating.
"It is always a tough place to play at because people are ready for the game," Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said after Dallas' win here last month.
That hardly sounds like fear.
The problem last year was the Eagles were just an awful team whether they were home or away. They finished 4-12 and cost Andy Reid his job.
These Eagles are much improved. Kelly's fast-paced offense is one of the best in the league and the defense has made tremendous progress since the first month.
"That's pretty hard to explain," LeSean McCoy said of the home struggles. "I think this next week against the Redskins at home is a game where we have to win. It's a division game that's very important, and I think for this week we have to be the better team."
Perhaps the Eagles should wear their white jerseys at home instead of the midnight green ones. Maybe they could change their pregame preparation to mirror what they do on the road.
Some fans feel changing one of the lyrics to the team's fight song, "Fly, Eagles, Fly," might do the trick. There's a line that says: "On the road to victory."
"Maybe we'll get on a bus and drive around. We'll drive to Jersey and back, or I don't know," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "We love to have a dominance at home. We found a way to win games on the road, which we all know is difficult, and we just got to come back and play better."
NOTES: The Eagles signed return specialist Brad Smith and released WR B.J. Cunningham. Smith, who also play receiver and can be a quarterback in wildcat formations, averaged 25.7 yards on kickoff returns with four touchdowns during an eight-year career with the New York Jets and Buffalo. Smith has five TDs receiving, four rushing and one passing.
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