There's an unwritten rule in NFL coaching circles--- you have 24 hours to celebrate a big win, then on to preparation for your next opponent...
But the Chicago Bears' big Monday Night win over the Dallas Cowboys may have extended the "24-hour rule" for the Eagles and their fans by at least another day. For now at least, the Eagles are in sole possession of 1st place in the NFC East, and that means the Birds have an open avenue to control their own destiny over the next three games in the regular season.
It's turned into a "Why Not?" year for Chip Kelly and the Eagles.
The Cowboys' loss to Chicago Bears on Monday night dropped their record to 7-6, putting the 8-5 Eagles one game ahead in the NFC East.
The loss also means that if the playoffs began today, the Cowboys would not be in the playoffs -- while the Eagles would be the 3rd seed and hosting a playoff game.
Both teams still have two games to go before they meet in the final week of the season, a game that could decide the division.
That is, if the Cowboys can make it there.
Stay on the good foot, Eagles...
By no means do I mean to imply that next Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings will be easy. It will be a gut-check occasion for the Eagles.
The Vikings put up a hella fight in a last-second loss to the Ravens this past Sunday. Matt Cassel looked good at QB, despite horrible snow-and-sleet conditions similar to those endured by the Eagles and the Lions at the Linc.
Adrian Peterson may have been knocked out of this upcoming game by a high ankle sprain, but his back-up guy Toby Gerhart had a huge game against the Ravens... and some guy named Cordarrelle Patterson nearly stole the show.
But next week now also becomes a must win for the Cowboys, who cannot afford to fall two games behind the Eagles with two games to go. If that were to happen, the Eagles could clinch the NFC East with a win over the Chicago Bears at the Linc in two weeks.
The Cowboys have a matchup with the Green Bay Packers -- who could be welcoming back Aaron Rodgers at QB. If Rodgers plays, the game suddenly becomes a very difficult one for the Cowboys. If he doesn't, it is another game the Cowboys will probably be favored heavily in and expected to win.
Forget what the expectations were before the season -- the Eagles are holding dibs on the division crown with three weeks to go.
Maybe we should be more concerned about the surging Bears than the stumbling Cowboys?
Josh McCown threw for a career-high four touchdowns, and the Bears scored on their first eight possessions to grab a share of the NFC North lead with a 45-28 victory over the 'Boys on a frigid Monday night in Chicago.
The Bears (7-6) retired Hall of Famer Mike Ditka's number at halftime and pulled even with Detroit in the division race on a night when the game-time temperature was in single digits and the wind chill factor was below zero.
The loss left Dallas (7-6) a game behind Philadelphia in the NFC East and owner Jerry Jones calling for more aggressive play-calling on defense.
The bone-chilling conditions didn't stop McCown from throwing for 348 yards or keep the Bears from running away with a lopsided victory.
"All we could do is try to beat the Dallas Cowboys," coach Marc Trestman said. "We kept it as simple as that. We didn't get into all the hypotheticals and all the things that go into winning or losing a game."
Alshon Jeffery's leaping catch between two defenders in the corner of the end zone in the closing seconds of the second quarter gave the Bears a 24-14 lead, and they continued to pour it on in the second half after a gut-wrenching overtime loss at Minnesota last week.
McCown, making his fourth straight start with Jay Cutler sidelined by a high left ankle sprain, completed 27 of 36 passes.
Brandon Marshall caught six passes for 100 yards, and Jeffery added 84 yards receiving after breaking his own team record the previous week with 249.
Matt Forte chipped in with 102 yards rushing and 73 receiving, and the Bears racked up 490 yards in all.
"Basically, we will have to make some adjustments in what we are doing defensively," Jerry Jones said. "What that usually means is taking more risks on defense. But if you're going to have the kind of match like we had tonight or certainly in New Orleans you have to take some risks. We have to double up and I'm sure that will be part of the plan on defense--- more risks."
I for one don't count the Cowboys out of the division race. They got great games from DeMarco Murray (146 yards rushing) and TE Jason Witten. Tony Romo threw for three touchdowns but completed only 11 of 20 passes for 104 yards..
But the reality remains for the Eagles--- gotta, gotta, gotta take care of business in Minneapolis...
Gotta be the hardest working team in NFL show business right now...
Stay on the good foot...
You want to keep climbing those charts? Gotta go on the road and sell some records in Minne-soo000-ta...