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HibachiDG 12-25-2006 10:42 PM

I should not be surprised...but I am...
With the systematic dismantling of the Dallas Cowboys today, the Eagles have clinched a playoff berth and with a win next week over the Falcons would win the NFC East. After the McNabb injury and losses to the Titans and Colts, not much was expected out of this team. But, they've handled their business in the division, and on the road no less.

Sitting here thinking about this Philadelphia team right now, I'm surprised that they've made a commanding playoff run. By that, I just mean that they're not one of these 7-8 teams clinging to one remaining berth and not that they're commanding their way into a Super Bowl run or anything like that.

The team was dead in the water after the Titans loss for the obvious reason of losing Donovan McNabb. However, reality is that something was not clicking for this team throughout the season. Unable to close against the Giants and Buccaneers and how they stumbled and looked inept against the Jaguars. The Titans loss and McNabb loss was a crippling combination. After the Colts did away with the Eagles in dominating fashion, they looked completely sunk.

But, at some point along the line, something clicked on that defense and they've been able to make big plays when they have needed to and Jeff Garcia has played better than he should be playing. I shouldn't be surprised that they've defeated their three division opponents on the road, because Philadelphia has more talent than any of those three teams. Still, they could have rolled over and gone away and no one would have said anything. But, here they are.

As a fan of this team, I'll take it and hope to remember it for some time to come.

doublee 12-26-2006 02:02 AM

As the old cliche goes the game is won and lost in the trenches. The Eagles o-line has been firing on all cylinders the past two weeks and has just been burying opposing defensive lines.

Jim Johnson seems to have figured something out on defense as they dominated one of the highest scoring offenses in the league and Romo looked completely lost out there today. Garcia looked like the Pro Bowl QB out there.

I think a huge factor in the Eagles' defense stepping up a bit of late is the secondary is finally getting healthy. I seem to remember Joserio Hanson having to start a couple of games because Rod Hood and Sheldon Brown were dinged up. Also, Omar Gaither has played a lot better than Matt McCoy was at one of the OLB spots.

coachJ 12-26-2006 02:38 AM

Not to mention they just completely shut down the Cowboys running game. Horrible game by the Cowboys, and an excellent game played by the Eagles. One team showed up today and played like they wanted to win the division, and the other one showed up and played like they had a playoff spot wrapped up and could care less about the division or a home playoff game. This one was mostly about heart, and the Cowboys didnt play with one at all.

Tarkus 12-26-2006 02:53 AM

Garcia is playing his best ball in years, Westbrook is still on the field this late in the year, & the rest of the team is healthier & on a roll.

Biggest plus is that the D is finally starting to assert themselves like the Eagle D of old. You can't take that experience lightly. Great game plan by Johnson in taking away Romo's comfort zone. The Eagles are slowly but surely coming on as the team you'd rather not face in the playoffs. I know I don't want to see 'em...:P

Anthony 12-26-2006 04:48 AM

But remember one inconvenient truth: The Cowboys were already in the playoffs before the game even began, while the Eagles were still trying to get in (even though if they were to lose both this game and their game next week it would have taken something approaching a miracle for them to miss the playoffs).

The point is that the Eagles played with a sense of compelling urgency, whereas the Cowboys did not.

And Dallas needs to burn those blue jerseys - not only are they blue, but they are actually a throwback to the uniforms worn by the 1960 expansion team, which finished 0-11-1.

Tarkus 12-26-2006 04:55 AM

True, Anthony...

However, it's not as tho the Cowboys are in a position to coast due to a job well done. If I was a Dallas fan, I'd be alarmed to a degree that we just secured a position in the playoffs & had a severe drop off against a possible future opponent.

That's more a reality than an inconvenient truth to me...

Montrovant 12-26-2006 09:25 AM

The Cowboys may have already been in the playoffs, but not only did losing this game give the Eagles control over whether they win the division or not, but it took away any chance of the Cowboys getting a bye. They would have been tied with N.O. going into the last week, and with the Cowboys playing lowly Detroit and the Saints playing a Panthers team that still has some hope of getting in, getting the bye would in no way be unimaginable.

If this year is what parity is all about, I want to go back to the days of dynasties :P Maybe it's colored memory, but it seemed like fewer teams backed their way in or simply blew it and didn't make it in the past. Hell, I remember when the Niners missed out with a 10-6 record; maybe there was a bigger gap between the good and bad teams, but the good teams were GOOD. There's not many teams you can say that about now.

doublee 12-27-2006 01:41 AM

The Cowboys had just as much on the line in that game than the Eagles did. Not only did they lose control of the division but they lost out on locking up playing their playoff game at home now they are looking at having to go on the road and possibly to Philly at that.

The chances of the Cowboys getting a bye in the first round were slim and none seeing as not only did they have to beat the Eagles and Lions to close the season but they had to hope that the Saints would lose at home to an anemic Panthers team that would struggle to score on some college teams right now.

On top of that this is the Eagles, your hated division rival to begin with and you fail to get up for it. The Cowboys have had two big-time games in two of the last three weeks and looked an awful lot like pretenders to me. Their defense is overrated and the league seems to have figured Tony Romo out who has looked ordinary for the most part agains the Giants and bad against the Saints and Eagles.

Anthony 12-27-2006 03:46 AM

The Cowboys cannot play a wild-card game at Philadelphia no matter what happens, since they have clinched at least the fifth seed and the Eagles would be the third seed if they do win the division.

That means that Dallas is likely to play a first-round game at Seattle - and remember that no Super Bowl loser has won a playoff game the following season since 1997, and no NFC Super Bowl loser has done so since 1977!.

The Seahawks, however, will have one advantage in this postseason: Matt Hasselbeck has won two playoff games in his NFL career; assuming the Giants beat Washington Saturday night and something totally ridiculous doesn't happen on Sunday with the strength-of-victory thing, the other five NFC playoff quarterbacks combined will have won one, by one point (Jeff Garcia, 39-38 over the Giants in a wild-card game in 2002).

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