By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS)—The last time the Eagles won 10 games was in 2010, which also marks the last time they won the NFC East title.
The chances that the Eagles break the three-year drought of double-figure victories in a season and a division crown just became better with the news Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo could be out for the season with a back injury.
On paper, it gives the Eagles a major advantage over the Cowboys in their winner-take-all NFC East showdown this Sunday night in Dallas. Though on Oct. 20, Dallas, without All-Pro defensive end DeMarcus Ware and top rusher DeMarco Murray, beat the Eagles 17-3.
According to various reports, Romo is done and will require surgery, after an MRI on Monday revealed a herniated disk in his back. If Romo is not able to go, he will be replaced by Kyle Orton, whose last NFL start was Jan. 1, 2012, with Kansas City, guiding the Chiefs to a robust 7-3 victory over Denver.
Over the last two years, Orton has thrown just 15 passes backing up Romo. This season, Orton is 3-for-5 for 40 yards. As a starter, Orton has started 69 games during his nine-year NFL career. He has a career 35-34 record. Orton is 1-1 as a starter against the Eagles, with 6 TDs and 3 interceptions. Orton lost his job in Denver to Tim Tebow in 2011.
Orton’s last start against the Eagles was with the Broncos on December 27, 2009, a 30-27 Philadelphia victory at Lincoln Financial Field.
This season, Romo has completed 342 for 535 passes for 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for 3,828 yards.
While addressing the media on Monday afternoon, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett did not want to rule out Romo just yet. Romo suffered the injury in the Cowboys’ 24-23 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
With 11:50 left to play in the game, Romo appeared to have injured his back after an eight-yard completion to Miles Austin when he escaped Redskins linebacker Rob Jackson’s reach. From there, Romo was visibly in pain, wincing and hobbling throughout the last quarter of the game.
When pressed about Romo’s status, Garrett was further noncommittal if Romo will even be able to practice this week.
“We evaluate Tony’s injury like we evaluate everyone else’s injury and we do the analysis, and in [Romo’s] case, it was an MRI and we come up with a course of action going forward,” Garrett said. “The course of action with Tony is like everyone else, to get rehab. That’s what he’s doing right now and he’ll continue to do that. We’ll evaluate him on a day-by-day basis and make the best decisions for our team.”
Since Orton and Romo are the Cowboys’ only quarterbacks on their roster, the Cowboys will be forced to sign another quarterback.
“We have Kyle Orton here for a reason, a veteran quarterback who started over 80 games in the National Football League and he understands what his rile is each and every week,” Garrett said. “Kyle has a comfort level with what we’re doing, and if he plays in this ball game, we’ll be ready to go.”