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Eagles Understand Importance Of First-Round Bye

There weren't any bigger Chicago Bears fans last night than the Eagles.

Jay Cutler's game-winning touchdown pass to Devin Aromashodu in overtime gave the Minnesota Vikings their second straight loss and afforded the Eagles a monumental opportunity this Sunday in Dallas.

There are still plenty of playoff possibilities, but one thing is now certain - a win over the Cowboys will give the Eagles a first-round bye.

"I think it would be very important," said rookie wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who watched the Vikings game Monday night. "I think we have a couple of things on our mind here, the NFC East, the No. 2 seed and getting homefield, getting into the playoffs. I think it's very important. It would give us an extra week to prepare and kind of rest our bodies too."

Health is one of the key advantages of the bye. Maclin himself is coming off a foot injury that caused him to miss the San Francisco 49ers game and a week off could rejuvenate the Eagles' roster.

"We haven't had a bye in a while and just the rest would be great," said linebacker Akeem Jordan, who has also battled injury this season. Instead of worrying about a Vikings' outcome that he couldn't control, Jordan opted to enjoy his off night by going to the movies with his daughter.

"I think getting that bye would definitely help a lot, especially trying to get our guys back healthy and rested," said rookie linebacker Moise Fokou. "Any little thing we can have to help us get healed up would help."

Another, more simple, advantage of the bye is that it guarantees passage into the next round.

"To be able to come away with a bye in that first round," said wide receiver Kevin Curtis, "it guarantees you into the next round."

Standing in the Eagles' way for the No. 2 seed in the NFC is their division rivals.

"We know the Cowboys, we play them twice a year," said tight end Brent Celek. "It's going to be a little different playing in that big stadium down there but we're going to have fun with and ultimately we're going down there to win."

"They're our division rivals so there's always going to be some animosity there," said Jordan. "It's going to be a tough game and I would expect nothing less."

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 4:10 p.m., December 29

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