The Eagles are in quite an interesting position, as it stands on Friday.
Right now, they don't know whether or not they're playing to extend their season or simply shorten that of the Dallas Cowboys, this week's guest at Lincoln Financial Field. A 10-3 loss at Washington last Sunday put a severe damper on the Eagles' playoff chances, a spot for which they controlled their own destiny for all of three hours. That spot, now, is occupied by the 9-6 Cowboys, who now control their own destiny.
But should the Eagles win on Sunday, the Cowboys would be out, regardless of what else happens around the NFC.
At face value, that might be better than nothing.
"Again, it's a great NFC East rivalry. It doesn't matter the situation," head coach Andy Reid said. "It is the Dallas Cowboys. You talked to the players yesterday and I think you got a feel for that. They'll be ready to go, no matter what the situation is, to play their best football game."
Come 4:15 PM, the Oakland-Tampa Bay contest at Raymond James Stadium should be over. And as the Eagles need the Buccaneers to lose to even have a shot at the postseason, it's likely they'll know the size of the pot for their own game. Should Tampa lose, they also need a division rival, New York, to stomp out Minnesota, or Houston to beat Chicago.
But, though it happens after the fact, the primary goal is a win – without it, nothing helps at all.
But, assuming the worst for Philadelphia, there are plenty reasons for pride. One, it's Dallas, a vilified rival in control of its own postseason destiny. Two, there's a certain receiver in Cowboy blue that seems on the verge of eruption.
And the offensive line, thirdly, would love to keep Dallas linebacker DeMarcus Ware from capturing the single-season sack record. Ware currently has 20, 2.5 shy of Michael Strahan's 2001 mark. Ware recorded a sack of Donovan McNabb in the teams' first meeting this season in Week 2.
"I'm sure they've heard about the sack record," Reid said of his linemen. "I don't think you have to talk about it as much as it is you are aware of it."
INJURY UPDATE: Worst-case scenario, the Eagles could potentially miss three starters. Tight end L.J. Smith (shoulder) is doubtful, free safety Brian Dawkins (illness) missed practice Friday and is questionable, as is linebacker Stewart Bradley (ribs, groin). Additionally, wide receiver Hank Baskett (knee) will be a game-time decision, and defensive end Victor Abiamiri (Lis Franc sprain) is out. Wide receiver Kevin Curtis, who missed last week's game with a calf injury, has been upgraded to probable.