So, it’s Week 8. But it’s not just Week 8, it’s COWBOYS week.
Every April, when the NFL schedule is released, I always look for three things:
- When is the first home game?
- How many night games do we have?
- When do we get the Cowboys at home?
It’s always nice to beat the Cowboys, no matter the situation. My first distinct Eagles memory is from the 1980-81 Super Bowl season. I was only in 3rd grade, so I was just getting into watching football. I didn’t really follow the Eagles during the regular season (I was aware that they were good, but I don’t remember actually watching any games), but once the playoffs started the anticipation was off the charts.
1980-81 was a magical year in Philly sports; the Phillies won their first Word Series, the Sixers and Flyers both made the finals (but they lost) and the Eagles went to the Super Bowl.
The Eagles won their first playoff game against Minnesota, and it was time for Dallas in the NFC Championship. I can still remember the hype and lead up to the game. I remember that it was a cold Sunday morning (12 degrees at kickoff, according to pro-football-reference.com), my family went to church that morning and made it home just in time for kickoff. And then this happened…
1st quarter, Wilbert Montgomery goes 42 yards for a TD, Eagles jump to a 7-0 lead. The Vet explodes. Years later, Merrill Reese said about that play “I knew, and I think everyone in the Delaware Valley knew right at that moment that the Eagles were going to the Super Bowl“. I can truly say that touchdown run is my first Eagles memory.
I know hating the Cowboys is a cliche, everyone hates the Cowboys (outside of Dallas residents, and their bandwagon fans in other cities). I mean, they really aren’t even our biggest rival. I’ll give that honor to the Giants, mainly because we hate them and their fans hate us right back. Dallas fans are too aloof or bandwagony to care about us lowly Philadelphians.
When you write about hating the Cowboys, it’s a rule that you have to list out the reasons for the hatred, as if it needed any justification. Anyway, here are many fine reasons to hate the Cowboys through the years:
- Branding themselves America’s Team (without asking the rest of America)
- Smug Tom Landry and his stupid hat
- The pretty boy QB’s: Roger Staubach, Danny White, Troy Aikman and Tony Romo
- The flashy WR’s: Mike Irvin, Deion Sanders and Dez Bryant
- The slimy front office: Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer and Jerry Jones
- Jason Garrett’s serial killer stare
- The Super Bowls, the billion dollar stadium, the fair weather fans, etc., etc
Oh, and who can forget Bounty Bowl in 1989. Wow, watch this NFL Today clip, seems like everyone hated Buddy back in the day…
Here’s a good article from Vincent Heck (@heckphilly) at Yahoo about the history of this rivalry… The History of Dallas Cowboy Week for Philadelphia Fans
The only saving grace for Dallas this year is stud LB, and Penn State alum, Sean Lee. I can’t hate on my man Sean. But the rest of them? Dead to me.
This year it’s a Sunday night matchup, national TV, under the lights, Eagles coming off of the bye week. Both teams are fighting to stay relevant in the NFC East race and keep pace with the Giants. Almost all games from here out are ‘must win’ for the Birds, so on top of it being vs. Dallas, at home, on a Sunday night, it’s also a game we need to win if we want to sniff the playoffs.
Oh boy, let’s get it on.
Week 7 Revisited
Another 2-0 week. 8-2 in the last 10 plays, and four straight Monday Night winners. Nice. I have to admit, it’s been a great
run but I’m holding my breath with every pick because I know it can’t last forever. But if we use concrete stats, take advantage of matchups and not make dumb plays we will hopefully stay in the black this season (for amusement purposes only, but you already knew that). Let’s look back at last weekend…
Steelers -4 over Cardinals
We had the Steelers in this one and it was pretty easy win from start to finish. Pittsburgh jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the 2nd and the cover was really never in trouble. Arizona had problems moving the ball. There was a 73 yard TD pass from Kolb to LaRod Stephens-Howling, but that was about it. Ben connected with Mike Wallace for a 95 yard TD and the Steelers D held Larry Fitzgerald to 78 yards receiving. Going forward I would go against the Cardinals against good defenses, I don’t think they have the offense to score against good D’s. Steelers got out of Phoenix with a 32-20 win. Winner
Ravens/Jaguars UNDER 39
This game went almost exactly as I anticipated. I said, “I think both defenses will play well enough to keep this under the number”, and they sure did. This game was a combination of great defense and terrible offense, perfect recipe for an Under.
I didn’t expect the Jaguars to be able to score, and while they did manage four field goals, they never really threatened to break open the game. MJD fumbled four times (thank you) including once on the one yard line.
Flacco and the Ravens offense was pretty bad. That’s really all I can say about them. 146 total yards? Midway through the 3rd quarter Flacco didn’t even have 10 yard passing. Yeah, it was that bad.
The Jags managed an ugly, sloppy, boring 12-7 win. I’m trying my best to wipe it from my memory. Winner.
Week 8 Preview:
Hometown Preview: Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys
Opening Line: Eagles -3 / 51
Current Line: Eagles -3 / 51
Game Trends (via Covers.com): Dallas: Over is 12-3 in last 15 vs. NFC; Eagles: Over is 13-6 in last 19 games overall.
The stat that will be beaten into your head by Sunday: Andy Reid is 12-0 following a regular season bye week.
The more important stat that you will not hear much about: Andy Reid is 8-2 ATS in his last 10 games after a regular season bye week.
This line is pretty much in line with what everyone expected. Eagles -3 pretty much tells you that this game is a toss up and the Eagles are getting the usual 3 point slant for home field advantage. Dallas has won 4 of the last 5 games in the series, and has covered all 5. Andy is 12-0 after bye weeks. So something has to give this week.
Dallas is coming off of a 34-7 beatdown of the Rams, the Eagles beat the same Rams 31-13, so not much to gained by looking at that common opponent. Both teams played a tough game vs. San Francisco (Dallas 27-24 W, Eagles 24-23 L). So maybe these teams really are as even as Vegas thinks.
The Over/Under of 51 is interesting. The popular argument is that both teams have bad defenses, but I don’t agree. Dallas defensive front is solid, only allowing 69 yards per game rushing. Sure they can get beat with big pass plays but I don’t know if I’d want to bank on that to get me to the Over. The Eagles have given up alot of points, and the defense has been the Achilles heel this season. But I think they clamped down against Washington and might have turned a corner. 51 seems like alot.
At first glance I would lean to the Eagles to get the win, and the UNDER as the total play but we’ll break it down further on Friday and make our pick.
Big Line Move of the Week: Washington Redskins @ Buffalo Bills (in Toronto)
Opening Line: Bills -4 / 46
Current Line: Bills -6 / 45.5
Game Trends (via Covers.com): No real trends to highlight.
When I first saw this line at Buffalo -4 I immediately liked the Bills. This line jumped because the sharps don’t think the
Redskins have enough firepower to stay in the game. I watched the Eagles rip apart the Redskins two weeks ago, and now that same team has to travel to Toronto and beat the Bills. John Beck is the QB (maybe an improvement over Rex), but Tim Hightower is OUT, Chris Cooley is OUT, Santana Moss is OUT. Who is left to score for them? Fred Davis?
Buffalo is coming off a bye week, so they should be healthy. And Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson and Steve Johnson seem like they could put 40 up on the Skins. Am I missing something? Buffalo defense isn’t great but unless the Skins bring back John Riggins I don’t know how they’ll move the ball.
Washington is coming off of a loss to Carolina, and have fallen from the top of the NFC East and now most people are writing them off as a non-factor. We may be digging into this game deeper on Friday, it’s on the short list for the Friday picks.
Tweet of the Week
The Iron Sheik has a great Twitter account. A definite ‘must follow’. Lots of non-sensical rambling, bad English and profanity. It’s like if Ozzie Guillen Tweeted after taking meth. One thing I always notice about the Shiek, he loves to chime in on the topics of the day. So I can just imagine him sitting down in his recliner flipping on NFL Network on Tuesday and watching the Terrell Owens workout…
I think Andy Reid was thinking the same thing when he watched T.O. do sit-ups in his driveway a few years ago.
The Sheik also chimes in on foreign affairs…
So there you go.
Coming up on Friday: the Week 8 Picks.
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