This is a day that means something to the Eagles. Big things for the Eagles. It is time to watch the scoreboard and jockey for playoff positioning. There are several games, then, that matter to this football team. There are obvious ones, of course. We're rooting for Donovan McNabb and the Redskins to defeat the Giants. Let's hope the Colts beat up the Cowboys. But there are others that matter, too, so let's take a look ...
**REDSKINS AT GIANTS
Huge game on many fronts. A loss drops the injury-riddled Giants one game behind the Eagles in the NFC East playoff chase. New York is missing key members of its offensive line and both starting wide receivers. Washington is without cornerback Carlos Rogers and safety LaRon Landry. New York is the better team, but Washington will play a good game, and McNabb understands how to defeat New York.
I expect a low-scoring game, and I think the Redskins will be ready to play. McNabb won't turn the ball over unless the Giants simply can't be stopped up front. After watching the Giants struggle last week against the Jaguars, hey, Washington can win this game. A quick start wins this game for the Redskins.
**COWBOYS AT COLTS
Dallas should play a very fine game after playing on Thanksgiving and having the extra rest. I'm a big believer in that. The Colts are not playing a great team, but they still have Peyton Manning and he is going to pressure a defense that has not been able to stop anybody this season. But the Cowboys have that rest, and Manning isn't Manning this year, so it wouldn't be a shock if the Cowboys win this game.
Let's hope the Cowboys are exhausted and beaten up and limping when the Eagles come to town.
**SAINTS AT BENGALS
Maybe I'm crazy to think the Bengals, who played on Thanksgiving, will give the Saints an excellent game today. The Bengals can pound it with the running game and control the clock a little bit. The defense loves to blitz, so maybe the Bengals can get after Drew Brees and cause some problems.
It's a stretch, I know, but this is the time of the year when some crazy things happen. I'm calling for a Bengals shocker today in the cold of Cincinnati.
**FALCONS AT BUCS
Is Tampa Bay for real? They played tough in Baltimore last week, so they earn some Spud cred for that. But I still think Atlanta is on the way to becoming the NFC's No. 1 seed in the playoffs. The schedule in the final five games is not difficult. Matt Ryan is playing terrific football. The Falcons have a fantastic running game.
Tampa Bay is a team on the rise, though. Should be a very interesting game in Tampa later today.
**49ers AT PACKERS
Green Bay should roll all over San Francisco, but maybe the 49ers see that they are still alive in the awful NFC West and that they have the means to win this game. But, as much as I love Brian Westbrook, there is no way he can make up for the loss of Frank Gore, Mr. All-Everything for the 49ers offense.
Green Bay is going to overtake the Bears in the NFC North and be a very difficult team to beat in the playoffs. The Packers, despite their injuries, have had a terrific season.
BEARS AT LIONS
Another potential Upset Special. Detroit has a rested team and is actually playing decent football. Chicago is going to come crashing down to earth. I feel it. I really don't know if the Bears will make the playoffs. Is this a legitimate team? We shall see, because the Bears have a very tough schedule down the stretch.
Detroit is going give the Bears everything it has today. And I'm calling for Detroit to beat Chicago and stir things up in the NFC playoff picture even more.
The joy of watching football from the couch with the Eagles already in the winning column ... this is a bye weekend, indeed, one the Eagles hope to use to their advantage the rest of the season.