The Cowboys beat the Saints at home, 13-10.

Of course they did.

Of COURSE New Orleans would put up an absolute clunker outside of that dome.

Listen, credit where it’s due – that Cowboys defense was rolling last night. They get up on the line of scrimmage and disrupt receivers (imagine that). The linebackers “fly around” and make plays. I have to admit that it’s a breath of fresh air to watch good defensive football in a world where we’re seeing 54-51 games and elite passing attacks.

Dallas has won four in a row to improve to 7-5.

As it stands, the NFC East looks like this:

  1. Cowboys: 7-5
  2. Redskins: 6-5
  3. Eagles: 5-6
  4. Giants: 3-8

New York is cooked and Washington appears to be cooked. I don’t know if Colt McCoy carries them into the playoffs, though stranger things have happened.

Is there a path forward for the Eagles?

Yes, there is, but I don’t see them walking it.

They need to beat Washington on Monday night to improve to 6-6, then beat Dallas in Dallas next weekend to put both teams at 7-6.

That’s unlikely to happen, but if the Eagles can win two in a row, here’s how each team finishes the season:

  • Eagles: at Rams, vs. Texans, at Redskins
  • Cowboys: at Colts, vs. Buccaneers, at Giants
  • Redskins: vs. Giants, at Jaguars, at Titans, vs. Eagles

The Birds are going to lose to Rams and fall to 7-7. Pencil that one in. The Colts are on a five game winning streak and haven’t lost at home since week four, so I could see the Cowboys having some trouble in Indy. Let’s say they also lose and both teams are 7-7.

The Cowboys then beat the Bucs at home and the Giants on the road to finish 9-7. The Eagles will probably find a way to lose to the Texans, who have won eight games in a row. That would make the final game of the season ultimately meaningless.

I just don’t see a way forward. Here’s how I imagine it finishing:

  1. Cowboys: 10-6 (beat Eagles, Bucs, Giants, lose to Colts)
  2. Redskins: 8-8 (beat Giants, Jaguars, lose to Titans, Eagles twice)
  3. Eagles: 7-9 (beat Redskins twice, lose to Rams, Texans, Cowboys)

I dunno. I could see the Eagles splitting with the Redskins and finishing 6-10. Houston at home seems like a toss-up.

If the Cowboys and Eagles do finish tied, there’s a chance the Birds could win the tiebreaker. They would have to beat Dallas in Dallas to make the head-to-head record a wash while also sweeping Washington to finish 5-1 in the division. Dallas would be 4-2 in the NFC East.

It would look something like this:

  1. Eagles: 9-7 (beat Cowboys, Redskins twice, Texans, lose to Rams)
  2. Cowboys: 9-7 (beat Giants, Bucs, lose to Colts, Eagles)

That’s the best-case scenario, but I don’t see the Eagles going 4-1 down the stretch. Do you?

As far as the wild card, there’s too much junk in there right now to figure out what’s going to happen, but you’ve got the Panthers and Seahawks sitting at 6-5 and I imagine one of those squads replaces Washington in the conversation.

There’s a lot of dreck in here:

And here:

Still, the Vikings have to play at Seattle and at New England in consecutive weeks. The Panthers have to play the Saints twice. The Birds lose tiebreakers to both Minnesota and Carolina, but they’ve got tough schedules coming up.

There’s a little bit of life on the Birds’ front, but it starts with beating Washington and Dallas in consecutive weeks. If they slip up in either game, they’re done.

Stephen A gets the last word: