PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Eagles just can’t let their fans’ hopes of a playoff berth die. With a 14-point second-half comeback and overtime touchdown against the New York Giants, the team jumped back into a tie for first place in the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys at 6-7 on the season.
The win makes next week’s visit from the Cowboys essentially a playoff game for the NFC East division crown. Granted, assuming the Birds can make their way past the Washington Redskins this week. The Redskins, at 3-10, aren’t the most formidable of opponents on paper. Or, as CBS Dallas sports anchor Keith Russell puts it, “they’re really bad, they’re really bad.”
But, the Eagles, due to injuries, don’t appear to be that much better. As Russell points out, “they only have one wide receiver or at least they finished the game with the Giants on Monday night with only one healthy wide receiver. And he’s a former college quarterback (Greg Ward).”
The wide receiver situation hasn’t improved since the end of Monday night’s game as the team was forced to place Alshon Jeffery on injured reserve earlier today with a foot injury, ending his season. That leaves just four wide receivers on the roster in Nelson Agholor, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, newly signed from the practice squad Robert Davis, and the aforementioned Ward. However, Agholor missed Monday’s game with a knee injury and has been a limited participant in practice this week. Adding to the pile of bad news, right tackle Lane Johnson is dealing with a high ankle sprain.
In spite of all of that, Russell still believes that the Birds will get the win this Sunday. He also goes one step further, saying the Cowboys will lose their matchup with the Rams.
“They will take a one-game lead over the Cowboys. Dec. 22, Dallas at Philly, that will be huge,” said Russell.
It’s easy to understand why he feels the Eagles will pull out a victory on Sunday. Washington’s defense ranks in the bottom third of the league in most categories. They are starting a rookie quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, who has yet to throw for more than 171 yards in a game. The ‘Skins have built their offense around the running game, which has been the strength of the Eagles defense this year.
Jim Schwartz’s unit will have to be more conscious of where rookie receiver Terry McLaurin is on the field this weekend. In the team’s first matchup this season, McLaurin burned the Eagles’ secondary for 125 yards and a touchdown on five receptions.
While Russell believes in the Eagles this weekend, he is picking the hated Cowboys to win next week’s matchup.
“Even though the Cowboys will be a game behind the Eagles in the NFC East, all they will have to do is go to Philly on Dec. 22, beat the Eagles,” said Russell. “They will have swept Philly and they’ll be back in first place in the NFC East.”
Whether he’s right about either prediction remains to be seen. In order to get to next week, the Eagles must take care of business this week at Fedex Field. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. ET