Can we get better games on Thanksgiving? The Lions attach an anchor to holiday spirit every year, and much of the time the Cowboys aren’t that much better. Where did they come up with the Raiders? I’m not sure the schedule makers pay any mind to who they drop into these Thanksgiving slots, but they should. Any time there is only one TV option, the game should at least hold some intrigue. Maybe the Lions are a lost cause, but give the Cowboys a division rival, something. The still relatively new night game on Thanksgiving looked like the best match-up on paper, but then the Giants took the field. Ugliness prevailed. About the only thing the Thursday games produced besides blowouts and boredom was some clarity in the NFC playoff race.
If you want to think the Cowboys are a good team, because of their 8-3 record, go ahead and do so. I’m going to stick to my guns, and say they stink. A win over Oakland doesn’t really blow my hair back. The Cowboys close with a brutal stretch of schedule, and even though they probably only need 2 wins to get in, they could be tough to come by. They go @ NY, San Diego, @ New Orleans, @ Washington, and Philly. There’s not a lay-up on the schedule, and the key game is likely next week against the Giants. If the Giants can salvage their season with a win, it could send Dallas into a tailspin. Even if they do beat Dallas, it will be tough for New York to get to 10 wins. They still have the Vikings and a full trip through the division on their plate.
Green Bay won handily yesterday, and has been looking more consistent in recent weeks. They’re sitting at 7-4, and what benefits them the most is a week seventeen showdown with Arizona. A winnable game no matter what, there is a decent chance a 9-6 Packers team could face a Cardinals team that is resting players. If the Cards are locked into the 3 seed, regardless of the outcome, it could be just what the Packers need to get to ten wins. Otherwise, they may have to take care of Baltimore next week at home.
So, what does this all mean for the Eagles? Well, it means the next two weeks are basically the season. Sitting at 6-4, they have to find a way to get to 10-6. Finishing 9-7 could be good enough, but it’s not a risk they want to take. It all starts Sunday at home against Washington. They must win. There’s no excuse for losing to this Redskins team, who will likely play hard, but can’t match up talent wise with Philly. Their anemic offense will provide little challenge for even a banged up Eagles D, and the Birds should be able to wear them down. A win against Washington sets up a Wild-Card throwdown with Atlanta the following week. At 5-5, Atlanta is on the outside looking in right now, but has 2 games with Tampa, the Jets and Bills remaining. Weakness of schedule is squarely in their court. If they beat the Eagles, they could easily streak to 10-6.
I’m sticking with 10-6. I think Green Bay gets there, and I think the Eagles still have a chance to get their as well. The Giants probably would need to sneak in at 9-7, and Atlanta has eliminated all room for error.