Thanksgiving has always stood for family, food, and football, and yesterday was no different. But for the Philadelphia Eagles, this Thanksgiving also stood for new opportunity in the ongoing race for the NFC East Division Title. If you had already slipped into a food coma by 4:30PM, then you missed the Buffalo Bills winning a decisive game on the road against the Dallas Cowboys, 26-15. From a birds eye view, the Cowboys now sit a mere half-game (and hold the tie breaker) ahead of the Eagles in the division standings. Prior to this game, playoff hopeful Philadelphia had already marked the December 22nd matchup with Dallas as essentially a one game playoff for the division. Now, it seems virtually assured that that game’s winner will take home the NFC East crown. But more than just the simple math of wins and losses that was affected, this Thanksgiving also yielded some insights about the birds’ season so far.
It is important that the Cowboys lost, but who they lost to is equally interesting. The Buffalo Bills now stand at 9-3 on the year after playing a near-perfect football game and taking advantage of a fumble and an interception both from Dallas QB Dak Prescott. Buffalo looked every bit like a playoff team yesterday, and it was on the road against – albeit because of a weak division – a potential division winner in the NFC. If you recall, the Eagles went into Buffalo and defeated these same Bills 31-13 back in Week 8. While it was easy then to write the Bills off as a product of a weak division and easy schedule, now that win seems significantly more impressive as Buffalo makes their case as a legitimate playoff team. In addition, the Eagles are still the proud owners of a Thursday Night win at Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers and the NFC North leading Green Bay Packers. It’s easy to forget because of the team’s recent struggles, but the Packers were undefeated at the time. Their only losses since? An anomalistic loss on the road against the LA Chargers and a drubbing at the hands of the now 10-1 San Francisco 49ers. This does not absolve the Eagles of their significant struggles as of late, but it is becoming more and more apparent that this team’s ceiling may be substantially higher than what we are giving them credit for. With Dallas slipping and an easy schedule to come, the birds now look to have everything in front of them as they gear up for the final push for a division title and a playoff berth.