Eagles looking forward to NFC East showdown
PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia Eagles can finally look toward their NFC East showdown with the Dallas Cowboys, and they don't have much time to do it.
After disposing of the Tennessee Titans 43-24 on Sunday, the Eagles immediately turned their focus to the rival Cowboys, whom they will visit Thanksgiving Day.
''We had to stay focused on Tennessee all week,'' linebacker Trent Cole said. ''That was the next game. And we were coming off a bad game (a 53-20 loss to Green Bay). So there was no reason to think about Dallas.
''But now we can. Now, it's all about Dallas. If you can't get excited for this game, you shouldn't be playing football.''
The Eagles and Cowboys go into Thursday's game with 8-3 records. The Eagles have a slight advantage in that Dallas already has one loss in the division, to Washington, while the Eagles are 2-0.
A closer look shows just how similar the teams are. The Eagles' eight wins have come against teams with a combined record of 28-59-1. Dallas' eight wins have come against teams with a combined record of 29-58 heading into New Orleans' matchup with Baltimore on Monday night.
Two of the teams' losses have come to both Arizona and San Francisco, although the Eagles lost both games on the road and Dallas lost them both at home.
Coincidentally, the Eagles are 6-0 at home and the Cowboys are 5-0 on the road.
''It's going to be a great game,'' defensive end Fletcher Cox said. ''I'm really excited, man. I'm looking forward to it. We're ready to roll. We're ready for Thursday.''
Eagles coach Chip Kelly and his staff got to work on the Cowboys while Dallas was still playing Sunday night against the New York Giants, returning to their offices right after the win over Tennessee.
The Eagles had a light practice Monday, will go full out Tuesday and have another light practice Wednesday before flying to Texas.
''We've looked at them a lot,'' Kelly said about the Cowboys. ''We've got a pretty good understanding of what they are right now. They play extremely hard on the defensive side of the ball; and then, obviously, offensively they are running the ball at a very, very high rate.''
Dallas has the NFL's leading rusher in DeMarco Murray, who has rushed for 100 yards in 10 of the Cowboys' 11 games this season.
''I think our run defense has been good. I think it's been a strength,'' Kelly said, even though the Eagles are ranked 17th in that category. ''And that's obviously one of their strengths, so it should be a good matchup.''
With first place in the NFC East on the line and a rematch scheduled in 17 days the game could live up to hype.
''It's huge,'' cornerback Cary Williams said. ''It's a big deal. We want to win our division. They are a great opponent. They have a great team and are playing at a high level right now.
''We just have to go through the mental dress rehearsal throughout the week, and then hopefully Thursday we can come out with a win. But we understand how important this game is.''
NOTES: Inside linebacker Emmanuel Acho left Sunday's game early with a groin injury and did not return. He did not practice Monday, but Kelly would not rule him out for Thursday's game yet. ''Don't write Acho off as dead yet,'' the coach said. If Acho can't play, Casey Matthews, who has split time with Acho, would have to play full time. Acho told reporters he's hoping for a ''Thanksgiving miracle''. . Kelly said he hasn't played a game on Thanksgiving since he was in high school, ''and that was a while ago.''. . Quarterback Nick Foles, out with a broken collarbone, will have a checkup to see how the break is healing either this week or next week, according to Kelly.
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