When do the NFL schedules come out? I don’t even know, but I remember the collective groan from Eagles fans when they saw this finish. Dallas, NY, Minnesota, Dallas. Dallas had shown an unsettling mastery over the Birds in 2009. Minnesota had given the Super Bowl champion Saints all they wanted in the NFC championship game. And, going to the Meadowlands? Well no one is ever really comfortable going to the Meadowlands. I could tell fans didn’t really want to say it, but I think a lot were thinking the Eagles could lose out from here. And, probably even the biggest optimists were hoping for split. Obviously, things have changed. The Cowboys and Vikings are a combined 9-15. Their seasons are over, but what kind of spoiler potential do they have?
I don’t know what the collective level of worry is among Eagles fans. But, I do know that playing Dallas still means something, and especially after last year it gives the fans a little feeling of trepidation. Even though the two teams couldn’t be more different from when they clashed at the end of the 2009 season, there is still a very bad image left in the minds of Eagles fans who can’t forget those back-to-back beat downs. If you took the star off the helmet, and told the fans they were going in to face the team who has given up the most points in the NFC, I’m sure the game would already be penciled into the win column.
A month ago Dallas couldn’t beat anyone, but now they’ve regrouped a little (at least offensively) and they’ve gone 3-1. It could easily be 4-0 and that includes playing some playoff caliber teams. Are the Cowboys all the way back? I think unfortunately for them, because of their slow start that this momentum will eventually wear out. Playing to spoil a season can only do so much. You can’t compare it to playing for your own playoff fate. Some time before the season ends I think you’ll see Dallas come out flat a few times.
On the Eagles side, their recent history with Dallas should only help them for this game. I’ve heard talk this week about how the Dallas game means more to the fans than the players (doesn’t almost every game?), but I’ve also heard there is a new sense of urgency in the Eagles locker room. What to believe? I’m not sure, but the Eagles shouldn’t be taking Dallas lightly. This is essentially the same team that got rolled out of the playoffs last year, so I think they will relish the chance to kick the Cowboys while they are already down. Especially in Dallas.
It’s a huge game for the Eagles, though next week in New York is probably even bigger, and I think it’s the kind of game a playoff bound team should win. They’ll need to outscore Dallas. Something that plays to their strengths. The Eagles are 3.5 point favorites, which I think reflects the rivalry factor and Dallas’ improved play. It’s not a real scary line for Eagles fans, th0ugh. And, with a 51 point over/under, make sure you start all your Eagles and Cowboys in fantasy.
Around the league, there aren’t many games that really jump off the schedule. The Patriots go to Chicago, but even at 9-3, the Bears aren’t a team that anyone is getting excited about. I think the NFL thought about flexing the San Diego/KC game into primetime, but decided against it. And, rightfully so. AFC West games can’t be marquee games. I expect the Chargers to blow KC’s doors off anyway. Looking at this line up, my real question is, what am I going to watch at 1 pm? Look at this murderer’s row of stink bombs on tap for Sunday:
- Denver @ Arizona. (Interim Coach betting opp.)
- Falcons @ Panthers. (How is this only a 7.5 point spread?)
- Cincy @ Pittsburgh. (Cincy wants in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes)
- Browns @ Bills. (Peyton Hills: 27 carries, 193 yards, 3 TDs)
- Seattle @ San Fran. (Fox should flex Hell’s Kitchen into this time slot)
Week 14 DA Rankings:
- Troy Smith
*Note: Remember if you are playing DA Fantasy and would like a chance at Kerry Collins (I think he’s starting and coming off 40 points), with either of your picks, let me know before game time tonight.
Lastly, Big Dub H, as is his tradition, has picked the Thursday Game:
Big Dub H: Record, 33-29-4
Every other week I seem to come up with a theory that leads me to a 3-2 or 2-3 week. If that’s true I will be pretty pleased because I’m banking on everyone else screwing up this week.
The theory: Take the team with more rest.
Tennessee +3 vs. Indy: I’m not making this pick based on hatred for Peyton. I’m basing this on the fact that Tennessee is catching a banged up Indy team on a short week.
- Indy (-3) @ Tennessee.
- Indy (-3) @ Scoreless Joe Jackson