The Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) are the best team in the NFL at the moment and while they’re riding high, they must be careful. The Eagles are coming off a bye week and their next opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, is coming off two crushing defeats in one week. With news that star running back Ezekiel Elliott will serve a six-game suspension, the Cowboys are trying to save their season with a back by committee approach. But wait, there’s more.
The Cowboys played their first suspension game without Zeke and lost to the Atlanta Falcons 27-7 which dropped them to 5-4. What the Eagles must stay clear of is “media hype.” If the Eagles are to prove to everyone that they are as good as their 8-1 record, they must beat the Cowboys.
It’s clear that the Eagles are the best team in the NFC East this season, but the Cowboys would love nothing more than to add another loss to the Eagles’ record. Where the Eagles are in 2017 is where the Cowboys were in 2016. While the Cowboys were riding high last year, the Eagles were the team struggling to keep their head above water.
What the Eagles are dealing with is enough to crumble any young team. The Eagles, with their hot start, must ignore the hype surrounding them. Are they the favorites to win the Super Bowl? Will Carson Wentz win MVP? What does the addition of Jay Ajayi mean for the offense and can their top rushing defense continue to shut opposing runners down?
“You learn right away about this rivalry."
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) November 16, 2017
For the Eagles, it’s all about focus. The old cliché in sports is one game at a time and Doug Pederson must drill that into his player’s heads. As good as Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, and the offense has been, they must draw on the fact that they have a target on their backs.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) November 10, 2017
The Cowboys are fighting a handful of teams for a wild card spot plus the fact they are trying to prove that they can win without Elliott. The Eagles are trying to fight off the Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams, and New Orleans Saints for home field advantage. However, for fans of the rivalry, it’s bragging rights on the line.
It doesn’t matter if a team is 8-1 or 1-8. In the East, what matters is that week’s game and nothing else. If the Cowboys were to miss the playoffs but manage to beat an Eagles team who wins the division, then all is right in Texas until next season. That’s what rivalries are all about.
[Featured Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]