The Eagles are not only alive, but they are thriving.
Philadelphia’s playoff outlook was catapulted from hopeful to favored after a shutdown 17-9 victory over its NFC East-rival Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.
With the victory, the Eagles (8-7) move into first place in the division, relegating the Cowboys (7-8) to second place with one final game to play.
The Eagles must beat the New York Giants in Week 17 to secure their fourth NFC East title this decade. Should they lose and the Cowboys win next week, Dallas makes the playoffs while the Eagles go home.
Carson Wentz spun together one of his finest day’s work of the 2019 season, completing 31-of-40 passes for 319 yards and a touchdown.
And he managed to do so without key offensive contributors in Jordan Howard, Nelson Agholor, Lane Johnson, and Alshon Jeffery, among others.
Wentz’s passing score was one of only two touchdowns scored in the Week 16 meeting — the other belonging to Eagles running back Miles Sanders.
If the rookie running back was greedy, he would have easily had a second touchdown in the game’s final seconds when he broke through the line and was clear for what would have been a 58-yard score. Instead — with 52 seconds left while up eight — he opted to take the veteran’s route and give himself up at the 20-yard-line to help run the clock out.
He finished with 79 yards on 20 carries with an additional 77 yards through the air.
While Wentz was able to come up big in the biggest situation of the season, the Eagles’ defense was immovable as they kept the high-powered Cowboys offense without a touchdown. This a week after they torched the Los Angeles Rams for 44 points.
An inconsistent, albeit improving, Eagles secondary held Dak Prescott to 265 yards on 25-of-44 passing. Meanwhile, All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott was limited to just 47 rushing yards on 13 tries.
Quite a change of pace from the last time these teams met when the Cowboys ripped through the Eagles defense in a 37-10 win in Week 7.
The Eagles reeled off 10 unanswered points in the first quarter to open up an early two-possession advantage. Jake Elliott’s 36-yard field goal was followed up five minutes later by Wentz’s touchdown pass to backup tight end Dallas Goedert from six yards out.
Goedert led all Eagles receivers with nine receptions for 91 yards.
Dallas would snag a pair of field goals in the second quarter, including a 32 yarder from Kai Forbath with six seconds left in the half to go to the break down four.
But Sanders’ one-yard rush in the final seconds of the third quarter built an Eagles lead too insurmountable for Dallas to overcome.