The Game of the Century is set for Nov. 19, so there’s no purpose in telling fans to take them one at a time – because this is the next one.
Eagles-Cowboys I, in Dallas on Sunday primetime, won’t decide the Eagles season. After all, they currently have a 2.5-game lead.
But the stakes are huge. A Cowboys win lifts their self-confidence and keeps them hanging in the race. An Eagles win, on the other hand, essentially clinches the NFC East. And, maybe, it shuts Skip Bayless’s fat, slobbering mouth for at least a week.
Meanwhile, in a city where we witness the amazing talents of Embiid, Simmons and Provorov, I suspect all focus over the next two weeks will be spent peering into the distance as this shiny object of a game gets closer and closer.
Yes, Eagles fans are obsessed with the Cowboys. There’s no denying that. It’s the fiercest rivalry we’ve got, and Jerry Jones is the perfectly crafted enemy. Of course, this conflict is enhanced by the social outcasts and yappy kid brothers strutting around our own town wearing that blue pentagram. The fungus among us.
Anyway, there’s no tamping anticipation now. I expect WIP to stage a 72-hour pregame show. And I bet nobody in the country will yammer about falling NFL ratings after NBC airs this one.
Putting aside my own enmity, I think these are the two best teams in the NFC – although the Saints, Rams and Vikings may prove me wrong. The Seahawks offensive line appears to doom them this season. The Panthers are as mercurial as Cam Newton’s play.
Dallas’s defense is much improved over last season. They have excellent skill players and their O Line – while not as titanic as the hype proclaims – is still among the best.
Ahh, but the Eagles are now a team without a weakness. I’ll let others on these pages lay out the glorious detail of their 51-23 thrashing of Denver, but let me make two quick points:
1. It is impossible to overstate the second-year greatness of Carson Wentz, who is currently on pace to finish the season with 41 TD passes and 9 interceptions.
2. As someone with initial skepticism toward Doug Pederson, I am amazed and delighted every week at his game plans and play design. Studly guard Brandon Brooks termed Pederson “almost a genius” after Sunday’s blowout and, on this day, Brooks may have been understating it.
The Eagles now get to enjoy bye week basking in the afterglow. By now, you’ve likely heard this tidbit: The last four times this franchise started 8-1, it either played in the Super Bowl or won the pre-Super Bowl Era NFL title.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, head to Atlanta to face a 4-4 Falcons team that should be desperate to save its season. Except the Falcons have looked more disorganized than desperate all year. Blame that infamous Super Bowl Losers Letdown (see: Eagles, 2005).
The looming question for Nov. 19, of course, is whether Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension finally kicks in. My own thought is that he’s probably going to end up serving those six games. Perhaps it’s to Dallas’s advantage for him to sit now, hope the Cowboys can beat the Eagles at home, and get back for New Year’s Eve.
That’s the date of Eagles-Cowboys Game of the Century II, to be played at Lincoln Financial Field. I think WIP has a 96-hour pregame prepared for that one.