|by Ryan Messick
It’s never fun when your archrival ends your season. Just ask the Eagles. Last year, the Cowboys crushed the Eagles in back-to-back weeks, 24-0 and 34-14 in Week 17 and during the wild card round of the playoffs.
This year, the Eagles can’t quite return the favor, even though it’s only Week 14. At 4-8, the Cowboys are already mathematically eliminated. Even if they win out and the Giants and Packers lose out, leaving all three 8-8, the Cowboys would lose the tiebreaker to the Packers based on their earlier game this season. The Eagles don’t really care though, as head coach Andy Reid says they aren’t focused on last year’s outcome.
“Well, listen, I’m not sure that’s how it goes in the NFL,” Reid said. “I think what you do is – they got after us last year – you learn from your mistakes and then you move on. “
The Eagles seem to have done that, rebuilding in the offseason and now being mentioned as one of the favorites in the NFC. Many feel that the blowouts to Dallas were the impetus for change.
“I wouldn’t say that,” Reid said. “I would be slamming the guys that were here and I wouldn’t do that. I will tell you, though, we were blessed to have that many [draft] picks.”
“We had this good nucleus of picks that, if we did it right, we felt like we could bring in some young guys to add to the roster. I thought we needed that,” Reid said.
Philadelphia certainly did it right, turning into one of the most exciting and explosive teams in the league. Dallas, meanwhile, went wrong. After a 1-7 start, the Cowboys fired head coach Wade Phillips, and have gone 3-1 since under Jason Garrett.
“Listen, I’m a big Wade Phillips fan and I think Jason Garrett is a very good football coach, too,” Reid said. “I think they went from one good coach to another good coach. I think they’re running the football a little bit more, they don’t have quite as many turnovers on offense and they’ve increased their turnovers on defense. That turnover margin becomes a big stat for them.”
It’s a big stat for the Eagles as well, who lead the league at plus-15. If they can get a few more on Sunday, their chances are good at dealing the Cowboys loss number nine and ensuring a losing season in Dallas.