It was a week that the Eagles and their fans have tried hard to forget.
Two games in six days, both at the brand new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Tx., neither of which was competitive. While the 2009 Eagles had their promising season come to an abrupt halt in Dallas, the 2010 squad knows there is much more at stake Sunday night than simply revenge.
"That was a tough feeling last year going in there and losing two weeks back-to-back," quarterback Michael Vick said. ""We just have to come out and stay poised, stay patient, weather the storm because we know they're going to be fired up in the beginning, and just play smart. But it was an ill feeling leaving out of there last year, and there was nothing we could do about it because it ended our season.
"But we're not thinking about last year, we're focusing on this year 2010."
Running back LeSean McCoy rushed for 28 yards combined in both games at Dallas last season. He, too, knows that Sunday night is just another game the Eagles have to win.
"We're looking forward to playing them, but just like any other team," McCoy said Wednesday. "It's a new year. Right now, where we're at, we're playing well. It happens that they're on the schedule. We have to play them, so why not make the most of it?"
Four weeks ago, the Cowboys were 1-7 and looked like a team that had no interest in playing football. Fresh off a 45-7 blowout to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, head coach Wade Phillips was fired and replaced by offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Since that day, the Cowboys are 3-1 and look like a team reborn— and one that certainly has the Eagles attention.
"We all know that they've won three out of four (games) and they're playing with a lot of confidence," Vick said. "They're playing some good football and we don't expect anything less than a good showing."
Defensively, the Cowboys have forced more turnovers in their last four games under Garrett (11) than they had the previous eight games under Phillips (10). And while the Eagles are third in the league in fewest turnovers, and have the best turnover ratio ( 15), head coach Andy Reid knows his offense must make good decisions with the football and not provide a momentum-changing play for the Cowboys.
"I think (Dallas) has played some pretty good teams and they've gotten their hands on the ball, which is very important when you're playing defense," Reid said. "I think they've eliminated some turnovers on the offensive side. They've created more on the defensive side. I think that's the biggest difference, there."
With the Sunday night showdown in Arlington just four days away, it's interesting to note that December 12th will be the latest the Eagles have faced the rival Cowboys for the first time in a season since at least 1960. With that in mind, come Sunday it will have been 338 days since the Eagles' 2009 season ended in Cowboys Stadium. That's a long time to wait to get back on the field.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 2:42 p.m., December 8