The fifth-placed Eagles' 28.7 (175) to 12.5 (77) thumping of the Lions at Patersons Stadium recharged their momentum after big losses to Sydney and Adelaide.
But the loss of midfield gun Daniel Kerr (pictured), who sat out the second half with a hamstring injury, and the report and potential suspension of captain Darren Glass for a head-high bump on Lions counterpart Jonathan Brown could make a difficult run home even harder.
The Eagles pushed their percentage above that of the third-placed Crows and fourth-placed Collingwood - who each have one more win - giving hope they could grab a crucial double chance.
But they face an horrifically difficult last five rounds, starting with Saturday's derby against Fremantle and including clashes with Geelong, the Magpies and second-placed Hawthorn.
The Lions' finals hopes are effectively over.
But ninth-placed Fremantle and 10th-placed St Kilda are still in touch after wins on Sunday.
The Dockers beat Port Adelaide 11.9 (75) to 6.12 (48) at AAMI Stadium.
But, after leading by 44 points at the last change, they might rue failing to ram home their advantage, as a bigger win could have lifted them above North Melbourne (eighth).
The Saints thrashed the Western Bulldogs 16.22 (118) to 6.6 (42) at Etihad Stadium.
While the Saints are a game behind the Kangaroos and Dockers, their percentage is much higher.
Earlier in the round, Hawthorn stretched their winning streak to eight games when they humiliated a flagging Essendon 27.18 (180) to 12.14 (86) at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
Skipper Luke Hodge returned from injury to kick five goals.
Geelong overcame injuries to Steve Johnson (concussion) and Joel Corey (hamstring) to down Adelaide 15.12 (102) to 11.9 (75) at Simonds Stadium on Saturday.
It lifted them above the Bombers to sixth spot and sets up a mouth-watering clash with the Hawks at the MCG on Friday night.
North Melbourne outclassed Melbourne 19.13 (127) to 11.7 (73) at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Collingwood boosted their percentage and Travis Cloke (six goals) found some form with a predictable 26.18 (174) to 7.12 (54) thrashing of Greater Western Sydney at Showground Stadium on Saturday.
Sydney moved a game clear in top spot with a comfortable 19.12 (126) to 8.6 (54) win over Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night, but lost young star forward Sam Reid (knee) for two or three games.
Carlton, 11th, kept themselves in the finals hunt with a desperately tight 14.11 (95) to 13.13 (91) win over Richmond at the MCG on Saturday night.