The bye week not only gives a football team a much needed break from the physical rigors of a 16-game regular season, but the chance to mentally get away from the game as well. And while we don’t really know how most NFL players are spending their free time (nor should we), one can probably guess that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz spent last weekend out on the prairie of North Dakota (or in the NJ Pinelands perhaps) hunting for whatever he considers to be “wild game”.
And while he is probably quite capable of capturing whatever he sets out to hunt, the hunt to capture a Super Bowl trophy for the city of Philadelphia has eluded all those who have tried thus far.
But with seven games left in the regular season, the Eagles will now dive headfirst into what are uncharted waters for this young team, as for the first time since 2004, they have the best record in the NFL this late in the season and are on track to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Of course, there are games that must be played and actually won to get this team to where they want to go. And with four of their next five games on the road, the Eagles will surely get a chance to show that they are for real. If not, the Saints, Rams, and Vikings are all knocking on their doorstep, with all three teams owning a record of 7-2 and only one game behind the Birds.
But first things first – the Eagles need to win the NFC East before bigger and better things can be achieved. And for that, they need to start by beating a Dallas Cowboys team that is on life support when it comes to staying alive for a division title.
Things were so much easier for the ‘Boys last season. Even after losing their starting quarterback, Tony Romo, for much of the season, they managed to go 13-3 as rookie Dak Prescott took the league by storm and led Dallas to the #1 seed in the NFC.
All that went for naught, however, when Aaron Rodgers dashed the Cowboys hopes by throwing a sideline pass to tight end Jared Cook with seconds remaining in a tie game, which then enabled kicker Mason Crosby to kick a game -winning 52-yard field goal and break the Cowboys fans hearts again.
The above should be a warning for the Eagles and their fans that even if they manage to attain the best record in the league and all the playoff advantages that come with it, NOTHING is guaranteed. This is precisely why the thought of facing the Saints and Drew Brees in the playoffs, even at home at the Linc, scares the hell out of me.
As for the Cowboys, this season has not been as promising as the last. They sit at 5-3 and a loss would, for all intents and purposes, mean that Dallas would have to hope for a wildcard spot in order to be invited to the playoff dance.
A win for the Eagles Sunday night and they would have a four game lead in the division with only six games to play, which would practically guarantee them the division title, barring a collapse.
This blogger suspects, as many do, that the Birds might be a little rusty in the first half tomorrow, which would keep the Cowboys in the game and give them hope of pulling out a win.
But after halftime, the team would get into gear and roll off another victory, 27-23, with visions of some turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes on their minds. And the Enchanted Season continues….
Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week:
Titans at Steelers 8:30 PM NBC/NFL Ntwrk (Thurs)
Rams at Vikings 1:00 PM FOX
EAGLES at Cowboys 8:30 PM NBC
Falcons at Seahawks 8:30 PM ESPN (Mon)