With the NFL/TV suits moving the start of Sunday's Cowboys/Eagles game to 3:15 p.m. CT, the Eagles will know by the time they start whether they have a chance to actually make the playoffs.
The Bucs play the Raiders at noon in Tampa. If the Bucs win, as is expected, the Eagles are eliminated from postseason contention.
The question is if the Eagles are eliminated before the game will they actually care to put up a fight against the Cowboys? Will Eagles coach Andy Reid pull the quick trigger on Donovan McNabb so he can see Kevin Kolb?
The safe answer is to assume the Eagles will care, and McNabb will play.
The last the Cowboys were in a similar position to this was the regular-season finale of the 2005 season. Entering the day, the Cowboys needed this, that or something else to happen to have a shot. None of it did, and by the time the Cowboys took the field to play a mediocre Rams team they were mentally not into the game and lost 20-10.
If the Bucs win and the Eagles are out by kickoff, the Cowboys have to give the Eagles a reason to quit. That usually is a 10-point deficit at the half.
- Mac Engel