Showdown with Dallas holds keys to the NFC East for the Eagles

The Eagles return to action in a showdown with bitter rivals the Dallas Cowboys in a game that will quite literally leave fans waiting all day for Sunday Night. But this isn’t just a rivalry game..this isn’t just a must win. This game could well be the nail in the coffin of the 2015 season..or the rebirth of a playoff charge.

It’s quite literally do or die for several reasons. The first being that Chip Kelly already has one loss against Dallas this season in the embarrassing defeat the Eagles suffered in week two. It’s hard enough losing to the Cowboys once..but to be swept by them? That hasn’t happened since 2012 and has never happened in the Chip Kelly era. Fans were seething after the first loss and the pressure is well and truly on.

Coming off of a bye week with a healthy linebacker core and a week away from the spotlight to focus on the flaws as they face a team who have now lost four in a row and are without some key pieces…there is no excuse. In week two the team were without Dez Bryant and Romo went down but an inefficient Offense meant that the Defense were on the field for an extended period of time and at during that period were simply not playing at the level they are now, resulting in a disappointing loss.

The Eagles looked much better against the Panthers than they did against the Cowboys, there is no doubt about it. Sure drops are plaguing the Offense and Murray is still struggling but defensively the team are beginning to shine with both Jenkins and Thurmond ranked inside the top 5 safeties in the league. The Eagles are finally beginning to sustain drives and somehow even had more possession than the undefeated Panthers (31 minutes).

The Offense might not be the most polished or most intimidating, but it’s beginning to take shape. It’s arguable that Bradford from a personal stand point had his best game as an Eagle against the Panthers and as statistics dictate otherwise..the former Heisman winner certainly needs this game to re-ignite his season. Bradford has suffered early on but seven games into the season we need to see an improvement. A failure to perform in a game that could hold the keys to the division will almost certainly see the fans want to see the return of the Sanchize.

The leadership qualities have began to shine in recent weeks and he looks far more comfortable in the pocket, but the truth is people are still using the ACL as an excuse. Bradford isn’t using it as an excuse and neither is Chip. We will be eight games into the season after this Sunday. Chip would not have traded away someone like Foles for a Quarterback who would go on to spend half of the season performing at less than 100%..the excuses have to stop, the bad decisions have to stop and a failure to win here is not only going to raise further doubts and speculation about his future but arguably put the nail in the coffin for his own season.

That goes for the entire team though..especially guys like DeMarco Murray and Jordan Matthews who are struggling in the easiest of situations. Time is running out. The NFC East is a mess and if the Eagles can’t pick up a win against a weakened and ice cold Cowboys team then they honestly don’t deserve to be atop the division. Poor performances this late into a season are on thing but falling to an opponent who are without key pieces and on a four game losing streak who also happens to be your bitter rival? Unacceptable. This game will either spark the Eagles to come out swinging, bury the Cowboys with a dominant win and then use that confidence to go on and dominate the division…or it will see their playoff hopes end very abruptly.

Not only do the team have to face the Redskins and a hot streaking Eli again, but three very tough Defenses. The Bills, the Dolphins and the Patriots. If the Eagles are showed up against the Cowboys then what is a Rex Ryan Defense going to do to them?! But if the Eagles make a statement against Dallas..that this is a fresh start and a team who have worked hard to fix their problems, we all know they have the talent to go toe to toe with the very best.

The truth is that you can’t expect to win a division if you are swept by an opponent. The Eagles have already lost once to the Redskins in what was a frustrating game to say the least, been shown up at the Linc by the Cowboys but defeated the Giants. With 3 games against NFC East opponents remaining, the Eagles have to get a win it’s simple. A loss might not spell doom and gloom due to how messy the division is but for fans it would spark the end and the heightened rage at Chip Kelly’s running of the team.

This is more than just a game..for me personally if the Eagles only won two games all year but those two were against Dallas, a small part of me would be satisfied..not massively, but it’s a silver lining. If this team are swept by the Cowboys any loyalty to Chip Kelly that is remaining after a tough season would seemingly disintegrate . Sam Bradford needs a win. Chip Kelly needs a win. The fans need a win. It’s time for the Eagles to fly.