I'm not saying that it's going to be easy to beat the Cowboys. Not by a long shot. They seem to have mastered their December woes, pulling off decisive wins over the Saints and Redskins in the last two weeks. Tony Romo is settling down behind the biggest offensive line in football. Their offense is clicking well behind Romo-favorite targets Jason Witten and Miles Austin. On the other side of the ball, Jay Ratliff is a big threat up the middle, and we just lost our center for the season. That neck injury doesn't seem to be bothering DeMarcus Ware too much, either.
On the other hand, we're playing pretty well too, with a 6 game winning streak. And most of them have been close games (OK, we *made* some of them close games when they didn't have to be). Which, you'll notice, we've learned how to win, even though we have a bumper crop of rookies and sophomores on our team. That's good practice for the playoffs, since you don't get a whole lot of blow outs once the crap teams are out of the picture.
If our O-line can protect McNabb - or he can scramble - well enough to allow some big pass plays to develop (because there are just too many options to cover if Big5 can avoid pressure for a few seconds)...
If we can open up some holes and get some good running out of Weaver, Westbrook, and McCoy...
If our D can force a few turnovers...
If special teams has at least an average day...
If we can go hard for all 4 quarters....
It's ours. The win, the #2 seed, the bye, the home game. It's ours.
And even if it's not, it's not disaster, as it's damn hard to beat a team THREE times in one season.
My prediction? An Eagles win, and potentially a heart attack for me while watching.
Need more convincing? Here's what Tommy has to say:
Make things simple if you want. We've won more games on the year. We've got a longer winning streak. We're the number three scoring team in the league. We have an elite offensive and STs weapon in DeSean Jackson. We have a QB who tends to win in December and January. We have a good FG kicker. We have a coach who knows how to win.
We're the better team right now.
Colts/Bills - Well, I *would* pick the Colts, but those punkasses are all resting, so I'm picking the Bills. So there.
Saints/Panthers - Looking at the way these two teams have played in the last two weeks, I'm doing something crazy and picking the Panthers. I know, I know - a month ago, unthinkable. Now? The Vikings and Giants are not exactly slouch teams, and the wins were decisive. Apparently, Julius Peppers has been eating his Wheaties, and the Panthers should have been starting Matt Moore all season.
Jaguars/Browns - Speaking of crazy picks and playing better and all that stuff, I'm going with the Browns. Yeah, the Jags are still technically in the playoff picture, but they'd need an even bigger miracle than we got at the end of last season to make it in. And the Browns have won three in a row. OK, two of those wins were over the Chiefs and Raiders, but they also beat the Steelers. I think they can close with a win and just maybe save Eric Mangini's job in the process, if Holmgren Claus is feeling generous.
Patriots/Texans - The Team of Destiny is also still technically in the playoff running and could spoil the Pats chances at the #3 seed with a win. Of course, the Pats may actually prefer the #4 seed so they can avoid the Chargers for as long as possible. To me, that adds up to a Texans win.
Giants/Vikings - The wheels are coming off BOTH these teams buses. Still, the Vikings know that their only hope of jumping back into the #2 seed and getting the bye week is to win - and hope. And they're playing at home, which means no cold breezes for the old man. I think that adds up to a Vikings win.
49ers/Rams - If they're smart, the Rams will drop this game on purpose to secure the #1 pick in the 2010 draft. 49ers.
Falcons/Bucs - Falcons. Or Bucs. Who cares? Oh all right - Falcons it is.
Steelers/Dolphins - This is going to be an ugly game. Both teams desperately need the win and a LOT of help to sneak into the playoffs. Fact 1: the Steelers are the defending champs. Fact 2: Polamalu's supposed to be back. Result? Steelers win. But it will be a close game.
Bears/Lions - Jay Cutler actually played pretty decently on Monday night. It doesn't matter at this point (well, at least not for the Bears), but he was not bad. Can he keep it up for two games? Nah. But it won't matter - he could hand the ball to the Lions every other play and the Bears should still be able to pull off the win.
Broncos/Chiefs - Even though the Broncos are currently sitting in the #5 spot, they don't own it. Again, they need a win and help to hang on to a wildcard spot. All they can *do* to help themselves is win, which they should do handily.
Ravens/Raiders - The Ravens should also win. And I need a super computer to help me figure out what the AFC playoff picture would look like if my week 17 predictions all turn out to be true.
Titans/Seahawks - Titans. Not that it matters.
Redskins/Chargers - Chargers. Also not that it matters.
Packers/Cardinals - This is another BIG game that could go either way with both teams with a lot on the line. I think the Packers win (I'd be sure of it if they were playing in Green Bay), and I think the two teams will face each other again next week with, I suspect, a different outcome.
Bengals/Jets - The Bengals will know before the game starts whether or not they have a chance to jump into the #3 seed. But Marvin Lewis and Ocho Cinco have promised that, no matter what, they're not resting. I think it would be totally unfair if the Jets leaped into the playoffs because their last two opponents didn't bother to bring their A games. But that may be exactly what happens. Why is this game the 8 pm game and not our game again? Yes, I know the Jets control their destiny for the final wildcard spot, but that's only because the Colts punked out last week. I hope the Bengals whup them but good.