Philadelphia Eagles must win this Animosity Bowl against Dallas Cowboys

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 05: Quarterback Carson Wentz
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 05: Quarterback Carson Wentz /

After enjoying the bye week, the Philadelphia Eagles prepare for a tough matchup on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.

Rarely have Philadelphia Eagles fans passed a more jubilant “Dallas Week” than the current one wrapping up. For those who may have arrived in Philly after living their entire lives on Mars, Dallas Week occurs twice or three times a year around here. It is the run-up time to a game against the hated Dallas Cowboys following the game before it. So, technically, we are right now finishing up Dallas Two Weeks, but it is what it is.

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Dallas Week is generally given over on local sports talk radio to aggressive attempts to be funny about the hated “Cowgirls” or “Cowpies,” their past and present players (“criminals”), and their despicable owner (whose name will not be included here). Yesterday WIP mid-day hosts Jon Ritchie and Joe DeCamara amused themselves for quite a while with amazing caller declarations like “I just love to hate the Cowboys.” The particular caller who made that assertion was treated as though he had just delivered to the world Macbeth’s last soliloquy or at least the American Bill of Rights.

It’s a fun week that becomes cloying in the way a third piece of birthday cake does. You can only relish Tim Hauck breaking Michael Irvin’s neck a finite number of times. You can only debate so many times whether the fans on hand that day in Philadelphia were disgraceful or simply jeering Deion Sanders’ attempt to invoke some god’s protection of his fallen comrade.

Here’s the thing about this Dallas Week, however, that I don’t think anyone has said just like this: Eagles will have no excuse if they lose to the Cowboys on Sunday.

Why This Is a No Debate Matter

First, the current Eagles are led by the odds-on favorite to win the league MVP trophy, Carson Wentz. While his counterpart in Dallas, Dak Prescott, clearly had a stronger rookie campaign last year, Wentz is working on a second-year quarterback gold standard that likely will remain just that – the best second year ever. There could be quite a debate about this if the Eagles survive into the deep playoff season. Who was the best sophomore quarterback ever: Dan Marino, Kurt Warner or Wentz?

Second through fifth: Ronald Darby is coming back, Zach Ertz’ hamstring is likely healed, Jay Ajayi is now on the team, and the Eagles front four is the best in the league

However, the most important advantages the Eagles will have are all related to Dallas problems at this juncture in the season.

Item six, as everyone knows, running back Ezekiel Elliott will not play Sunday night. He’s suspended. Finally. The merits of the suspension are irrelevant. He won’t play.

Seventh, fearsome Cowpokes offensive tackle Tyron Smith is also expected to miss the game. Some reports have said flatly he’s out; some have said he could try to go. From a Philadelphia perspective, maybe we should want Smith to try to play. He might aggravate his groin badly enough to keep him out of the second Dallas game, which will be in Philadelphia.

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Finally, more fearsome linebacker and leader Sean Lee is also injured.

That’s eight significant items favoring the Eagles, even if Smith and Lee attempt to play (Lee is extremely unlikely).

Favoring Dallas are the skills behind their wide receivers relative to the skills behind the defensive backs of Philadelphia, but that capability gap is no longer what it once was. Also, the game is in Dallas, and will be played late. Few teams playing other teams with winning records have such advantages as this week’s Eagles will in Dallas. No excuses, guys, no excuses.