The players can read the standings, and they know that the rickety bridge they are crossing could turn into a gangplank at any moment. For public consumption, they talk of coming together, and it might even be accurate, but among themselves they know the risks.
"Hey, that's just one game," receiver DeSean Jackson told his teammates in the locker room immediately after Sunday's 34-7 thumping of the Cowboys. "We're still 3-4."
They are, amazingly enough. And although no one has come out and said Monday's game at Lincoln Financial Field against the Bears is the third straight "must-win," it's pretty darn close. Would a 3-5 record eliminate them from the playoffs? No, it is far too soon for that. It would, however, make them a very unlikely candidate. That's what happens when you blow three consecutive fourth-quarter leads early in the schedule.
"Sitting here now, it's like, how in the world did we lose those games?" defensive tackle Trevor Laws said. "It makes no sense to me."
Well, it was a group effort. The defense couldn't make stops and the offense couldn't stop making turnovers. Toss in some dumb penalties, some missed field goals, and a nifty pass-fumble option at the goal line, and you have a 1-4 beginning of the season.
"Early on, we weren't picking each other up," tight end Brent Celek said. "Now, we're playing as a team. We're back in the race, but we've got to keep going."
Ah, yes, the race. To win the NFC East division, and have a reasonable chance to advance deep in the playoffs, the Eagles have to run down the Giants. They already have succeeded in catching the Cowboys and Redskins, which didn't turn out to be so tough, but are still two games behind New York.
If things are going to turn their way, the Eagles need to see that happen in the next five weeks. The schedule favors them ridiculously, so if they mess up this next set of opportunities, not only will they have themselves to blame, but everyone in the Philadelphia region will join in blaming them, too.
In the middle of the forthcoming five-game sandwich, the Eagles are in the Meadowlands against the Giants, a game that sets up as the fulcrum of the season for both teams. Around that game, two on either side, are four weeks in which the Eagles play opponents with a combined (as of now) 12-16 record and the Giants play opponents with a combined 23-6 record.
From the Eagles' perspective, it can't get much more promising than that.
While the Giants play New England, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Green Bay in that stretch, the Eagles have Chicago, Arizona, New England, and Seattle. All nestled around that Nov. 20 game in the Meadowlands.
Of course, if the Eagles lose Monday to the Bears, all this squinting at the schedule is meaningless.
"We know if we lose a game, there are going to be consequences," Laws said. "We have to play every single week like it's do or die, because our goal is still to win the Super Bowl. Losing games is not an option for us. Not yet, at least."
They would like to reach that place where there is enough breathing room to contemplate something other than disaster following the next loss. Not yet, as the man said.
"I wish it wouldn't have taken us this long [to start playing well]," defensive end Jason Babin said. "It was a short training camp for [all the teams]. I don't want to use that as an excuse. But sometimes, things take longer for some teams than for others. What matters is we're going in the right direction."
It always seems that way after a win, particularly a rump-roasting like the one they gave Dallas on Sunday night. Their true direction, like that of a ship that continues to spin after exiting a whirlpool, will take a while to determine.
"We don't have a winning record right now," coach Andy Reid said. "We have to keep playing and doing well."
That's the tricky part, naturally, and it might prove to be beyond their ability. For now, though, the players get all their regular days off as if there really is no reason to panic. Just beneath the placid surface, each of them knows that another misstep or two will provide them with more days off than any of them want.
Contact columnist Bob Ford at 215-854-5008, email@example.com, read his blog at www.philly.com/postpatterns, and follow @bobfordsports on Twitter.