In a prime-time match-up this Sunday night, the Eagles will take on one of their division foes, the Dallas Cowboys. It will be the first of two match-ups that will take place in the next four weeks, and both games will be particularly important for the Eagles. Sitting at 8-4, they are in the drivers seat to head to the playoffs as the NFC East Champions. However, they will need to play very strong over the next four weeks.
This week against the Cowboys, I believe they will get off on the right foot. Here are five reasons why.
1. It’s time for revenge
The Cowboys absolutely embarrassed the Eagles last season. More than once. In the first match-up in the new Cowboys stadium, the Cowboys stole the NFC East title from the Eagles. The following week, the Eagles traveled back and had their season ended.
On top of that, the Cowboys beat the Eagles earlier in the season when they came to Philadelphia. Three wins by the Cowboys in one year! That’s awful, and it makes me and every other Eagles fan I know quite angry.
The players can’t be happy with the way their season ended either. There have been some changes in the roster, but a lot of guys are still on this team who were there last year, and they haven’t forgotten. For those new to the team, I’m sure they had an idea about what happened last year. However, I’m also sure that they’ve been reminded this week by those who were on the team.
The Eagles have a chance for revenge on Sunday. It’s time to get some.
2. We’ve upgraded our quarterback, they’ve downgraded
If you didn’t think Donovan McNabb’s career was fizzing out last year, I think you’re seeing it now. He still does have talent, but he’s no longer the McNabb we saw in the mid-2000’s.
Last year, McNabb was opposed by Tony Romo in all three match-ups. As already discussed, Romo had the upper hand. However, Romo was knocked out earlier this season and won’t play this week.
On Sunday, we will see two starting quarterbacks that didn’t start in any of the games last season. For the Eagles, you have MVP candidate Michael Vick. Opposing him will be Jon Kitna. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out who the better quarterback is here.
Honestly, Kitna has surprised me. However, he’s not on the same level as Romo. For the Eagles, we’re seeing an obvious upgrade in quarterback talent from last season, and I’m sure Vick will prove it again.
3. Asante Samuel is back
After being a late scratch before the game with the Texans, it looks like Asante Samuel will return to the line-up for the Eagles. His return couldn’t have come soon enough.
While Samuel has been out, the Eagles secondary has really struggled. Joselio Hanson has been starting in his place and Trevard Lindley moved into the nickel corner position. For some reason, Hanson continues to struggle on outside coverage. He’s been alright in the nickel spot, but just can’t seem to get the job done on the outside.
The Cowboys offense ranks fifth in passing, so Samuel’s return comes at a perfect time. Also, the Cowboys will be without rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant. Miles Austin and Roy Williams will be the primary receivers for the Cowboys, and having Samuel back is a big step in the right direction to shut them down.
Although Samuel didn’t play great against the Cowboys last season, you clearly want to have him in your line-up.
4. Eagles dominate December
Since 2000, the Eagles are now 32-11 (.744) in the month of December. I don’t know what it is about this month, but the Eagles seem to always kick it in gear as they look to make a push towards the playoffs.
They’re already 1-0 so far this December after beating a pretty talented Texans team and will look to keep the ball rolling.
If you look at the percentages, the Eagles are consistently winning three out of four games in December, and that’s exactly what you need out of your team if you want to be a playoff contender. At this point of the year, every game for the Eagles is very important.
They can’t afford to slip up, and if the past is any indication, they won’t.
5. Andy Reid has had extended time to game plan
If you’re an Eagles fan, you know all about Andy Reid’s record after the bye week. He’s 11-0 after the bye week in his career as the Eagles head coach. When he gets extra time to game plan, he seems to be unstoppable.
The Eagles aren’t coming off the bye week, but they were given a few extra days to prepare after their Thursday night win against the Texans. A few days can go a long way when coming up with a game plan.
If you look back to the Eagles loss against the Bears, the Bears were coming off a Thursday night match-up the week before. They put together a great game plan and look what happened.
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