Verizon

News

Print
RSS

No Clinch, But Tonight Is Still Big

Posted Dec 22, 2013

The NFC East title comes down to next Sunday in Arlington, TX when the Eagles play at the Cowboys, thanks to Dallas' 24-23 win at Washington. The intrigue is remarkable ...

Washington blew its chance to win the game at FedEx Field, first by allowing a nine-point lead to dissipate and then having quarterback Tony Romo convert a fourth-and-goal completion to running back DeMarco Murray at the Washington 10-yard line.

It was a wild game in Landover, Maryland. Dallas showed some mettle in the fourth quarter, twice converting fourth downs on its final offensive drive. Romo overcame a lower leg injury to score the winning points as he rolled right and led his 20th comeback victory in the fourth quarter of a game.

And so, no matter what happens tonight against Chicago, the Eagles know that their NFC East title hopes will be determined on Sunday at Dallas. That game is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff, but it can be flexed by the networks as late as tomorrow.

Head coach Chip Kelly has said all week that he would play to win against Chicago, and there is no immediate indication that his plans have changed. As the Redskins game ended, there was plenty of time to reconsider, however.

The Eagles want to win the game tonight, which would matter only in terms of playoff seeding. They want to play well and win after last Sunday's poor performance in Minnesota. They want to beat a playoff-caliber team. The Bears are certainly that kind of team.

Next week? It can wait, but it must be said that Dallas plays for the third straight season with a win-or-go-home game. They lost those games in 2011 and 2012.

A bunch of questions must be asked for tonight, though. Does Kelly alter his plan and give some key players rest? Do the players, who are no doubt aware of the outcome of the Dallas game, lose a mental edge because of the lack of incentive to clinch a playoff spot tonight? Remember, had Washington beaten Dallas, an Eagles win tonight would clinch the NFC East.

That's not going to be the case, however, thanks to Romo driving his offense 87 yards in the final three minutes of a game that Dallas looked prepared to lose midway through the fourth quarter. But the Dallas defense stiffened with some pressure on Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins and got off the field on three late possessions.

We've got a wild, fun, crazy couple of games to play for an Eagles team that needs to learn how to win late in December and close out playoff spots. While Dallas is the focus for many, Kelly wants his team to focus on tonight and making all of the preparation for beating the Bears come through.

Clinching the NFC East will have to wait until the Eagles play at Dallas next Sunday. Tonight is about playing great football, beating a quality opponent and emerging prepared to play for the NFC East title at Dallas next Sunday.

Recent Articles

Philadelphia Eagles Insider bringing you breaking news, plus all the latest buzz and speculation surrounding the team.

Connect With Dave: