By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report
Even bigger than their traditional, oft-times hate-filled rivalry or the fact they will play each other before a national television audience, the
Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys will engage each other Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field in a game that neither team can afford to lose.
Some observers, most notably the NFL Network, is picking the Cowboys to go on a roll and win the division. That same thing could happen for the Eagles team looking to recover from a disastrous start to the season.
For the 2-4 Eagles this is a must-win contest, bordering on an elimination game, even in a mediocre NFC East. A loss to the Cowboys and the Birds chances for the postseason will be down to slim and none with the latter being the more likely scenario.
“We have little room for error now and we understand that,” said Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said after last Friday’s practice. “The best part of it all is that we go out there and take care of business week in and week out, we’re right where we want to be. That’s the good part about it, so we’ll take it game-by-game. We understand what we have to do here and our first opponent is the Cowboys.”
But considering all of their struggles in their first six games, the Eagles, who are 12-0 after a bye week under head coach Andy Reid, are feeling like Sunday night’s game is an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and a chance to get themselves back in the race for the division title.
“We’re looking at it like we’re zero and zero and this is our first game and we’re excited about it’s Sunday night,” said Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. “We’re picking up the season from here. The guys are ready to go, we had a great week of practice, it’s game on.”
Added Eagles running back LeSean McCoy: “Ever since that win down in Washington, everything is new for us. Let’s go out here and win these next couple of games.”
In addition to all the reasons this game is important to the Birds is that they are trying to end a five-game home losing streak. When asked about it, Vick said he’s not even thinking about it.
“I’m not talking about losing right now, I understand it’s a losing streak right now,” Vick said. “We’ll end it with a win.”
The enormity of Sunday’s night game is definitely not lost on a 3-3 Cowboys squad trying to jump start their season as well. Tight end Jason Witten told the Fort Worth-Star Telegram earlier this week he expects the intensity from both teams to be amped up a lot higher than normal.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Witten said. “And it’s important for us to get on a roll, build on a win with a big division game. If you are staying around .500 you are an average team. We need to step up from that. That’s our mentality.”
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo believes his team getting better with each game and that anytime they come to Philadelphia it’s a big game.
“Obviously, it’s going to be tough to win,” Romo said. “It’s a division game and all division games matter. Every week in the NFL, always feel like it’s the biggest week of all time.”