Philadelphia Eagles News

Focus Now Is On Beating Dallas

How much does what happened on Thanksgiving Day in a 33-10 victory impact Sunday when Dallas comes to town, the NFC East lead at stake in Week 15?

It's all about Dallas now. The loss to Seattle has been absorbed, reviewed, graded. It wasn't pretty. It was disappointing.

And it's over.

Dallas dominated the Chicago Bears on Thursday and enjoyed the mini-bye weekend. The Cowboys are going to be reminded all week about the loss on Thanksgiving Day. Dallas is going to be a different team coming to Lincoln Financial Field for Sunday night's game.

We arrive now at the next "telling" moment in this 2014 NFL season. The Eagles were beaten by a Seattle team that raised its game in a playoff environment. How do the Eagles bounce back physically and emotionally? Not only from a tough, exhausting game against the Seahawks, but against a team that is going to be turbo-charged after the loss in Arlington, TX?

"The only thing you can do is win to get past this," running back LeSean McCoy said after the loss to Seattle. "That is the only feeling that makes everything away. We will get back to the drawing boards, we will get back to practice, we will train and prepare hard. It is a big, big game, a must-win type of game. And there is nothing better than having them here, in Philly. I guess we will see this Sunday."

The battle to win the NFC East comes down to three games against divisional opponents, starting on Sunday night. There is no way the Cowboys are the kind of team that played the Eagles a couple of weeks ago. That team was coming off a draining Sunday night on the road at the Giants, that arrived back in Dallas in the early hours of Monday's morning and that just didn't have the juice when Thursday rolled around.

Starting as the Eagles did, with consecutive touchdown drives playing at a rapid pace, took the starch out of Dallas. Just like that, the Cowboys had no life. Had no legs.

That's all going to be different on Sunday night.

How much will the game plans change? Maybe not a whole lot. This isn't the time of the year to experiment. You do what you do and you hope you execute better than the other team and that you take advantage of every opportunity to put points on the board.

And as head coach Chip Kelly pointed out on Monday as he reviewed the loss to Seattle, the Eagles have to win on third downs, which means they have to win on first and second downs. The offense was 1 for 11 on third-down conversions -- average to-go yardage on third down was 8.7 yards for the Eagles -- and the defense permitted 7 of 16 third-down conversions, including those of 13, 15 and 13 yards.

If you lose on third down, you have a lot of trouble winning games.

So anyway, we know what happened against Seattle. And we know the season comes down to the NFC East, as it should. It's a two-team race in the division and it really is fitting that Dallas plays at Lincoln Financial Field in prime time on Sunday night and the winner controls the East with two games to play.

The sting of Sunday's loss has faded. It was a tough loss. A physical game against a seasoned, in-place Super Bowl champion. The Eagles aren't there yet. They need to beat the best teams in the NFC to be the best.

Sunday night is what matters. Win this game and take a lead in the NFC East on the road at Washington and at New York and close the regular season strong. First up, Dallas. An angry team comes to town. Brace yourselves for a rugged football game on Sunday night.

It's Dallas week, people. It's Dallas on Sunday night in prime time with a division lead at stake. The Eagles clinched the NFC East title last season with a win at AT&T Stadium and beat the Cowboys two games ago. Rivals meet with everything in the division on the line.

Enjoy it. Savor it. And let's see how the Eagles bounce back from the loss on Sunday and position themselves in the Division.

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