If they do their part by beating the New York Giants today, the Dallas Cowboys will be anxiously awaiting the result of tonight’s Washington-Philadelphia game to see if they’ve won the NFC East and can start making playoff plans. But unfortunately, all signs for Sunday Night Football point to an easy win for the Football Team and a big disappointment for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys can only make the 2020 playoffs by winning the NFC East. They need a victory over the Giants and for Philly to beat Washington to make that happen.
Dallas’ win over the Eagles last week eliminated them from any chance of making the playoffs. Consequently, the team we’re now counting on to defeat the Football Team has no incentive to do so and they’re acting accordingly.
Eagles’ injury report for Sunday night’s game vs WFT. pic.twitter.com/JZjtcl7Ltd
Fletcher Cox, DeSean Jackson, Miles Sanders, and others will be among the inactives for Philadelphia tonight as they’ve begun closing the book on 2020. Already the worst team in the NFC East with these players in the lineup, it’s hard to see the Eagles putting up much resistance without them.
To make matters worse for the Cowboys’ playoff hopes, Alex Smith is confirmed to return at quarterback for Washington. They’d gone 4-2 and won four in a row when Smith took over as starting QB in the middle of the season.
Washington is planning to start QB Alex Smith on Sunday night vs the #Eagles, sources say. He came out of the practice week with his calf feeling fine and should be good to go for the win-and-in game. The team will still check him Sunday morning to be sure.
Philadelphia has nothing to play for and Washington will have every reason to give it their all. Even if the Cowboys do lose to New York today, the Football Team still has to win their game or else the Giants would take the NFC East. So they’re preparing for this as a must-win game regardless of the circumstances.
Getting Smith back, who’s clearly a stabilizing presence and leader for the Washington offense, will help them to not only play hard but also efficiently. And if all they’re getting tonight is an unmotivated group of second stringers from the Eagles, that isn’t going to be much of a contest.
The Cowboys can only hope that those Philadelphia backups and their coaches have concern for their jobs beyond this season. Unless a mandate has come from the Eagles’ front office to tank the game for draft positioning, perhaps they won’t be comfortable laying down and handing the division to Washington.
Unfortunately for Dallas, it may not matter how hard the Eagles play.
We saw how their defense crumbled last week without Fletcher Cox in the lineup. If they’re now missing Jackson, Sanders, and Goedert on offense then that doesn’t leave Jalen Hurts much to work with.
Sure, crazier things have happened in the NFL. And of course, none of this matters if the Cowboys don’t first handle their own business against a Giants team that is also fighting for their playoff lives.
But no matter what happens between Dallas and New York today, the road seems smoothly paved for the Washington Football Team to win the NFC East. All we’ll be able to do is wait and hope.