The Eagles travel to Dallas for the first of two meetings with the Cowboys this Sunday night in what can only be described as a must-win game for the Birds on a number of levels.
The playoff picture in the NFC is taking shape and right now you have seven teams (eight if you count Tampa Bay at 7-5) fighting for six spots so somebody is destined to be the odd man out even if they finish with a winning record.
Atlanta is at the top of the heap at 10-2 and appears to be a lock to get in. Chicago and New Orleans are next at 9-3 and also in solid position to each grab a spot. The NFC West is a complete mess as St. Louis or Seattle will get an automatic playoff berth by winning the division even if it has a losing record, so that is the fourth spot.
That leaves Green Bay, New York, and Philadelphia at 8-4 to battle it out for two of the last three spots. The Eagles have already beaten the Giants once, but have also lost to the Packers. They play the G-Men again next week in a game that will most likely decide which team wins the NFC East.
A win this week is important because it would ensure that the Eagles maintain their current edge over New York heading into next week's game, going on the assumption that the Giants beat the Vikings on Sunday as well. It would also leave the Eagles still in the hunt for a wildcard spot should they lose to New York.
A win is also vital in order to knock the huge monkey off their back that was put there in back-to-back humiliating losses to the 'Boys at the end of last season.
The first loss, a shocking 24-0 shutout, knocked the Birds from the second seed in the postseason all the way to sixth. The following week at the scene of the first crime, they were thumped by Dallas again to the tune of 34-14 in one of their most ugly postseason performances in team history.
Finally, a win this week would cement the fact that this year's team is for real and has a legitimate shot at making it all the way to the Super Bowl.
Forget the fact that the Cowboys come into this game with a record of 4-8. They are out to prove they are far better than their 1-7 start as well as playing for their collective jobs in the eyes of team owner Jerry Jones. Beating them in their own backyard suddenly becomes a tall task to say the least.
Below is a link to my complete preview of Sunday night's game as originally posted on Cappers Picks
NFL Week 14: Eagles vs. Cowboys