It's October, but the Eagles know what's at stake in Dallas

Ed Benkin
October 18, 2019 - 8:00 am
Dec 9, 2018: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz looks to pass in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Doug Pederson said earlier this week there is plenty of football left in the season. It doesn't diminish the importance of Sunday's game in Dallas.

The Eagles and Cowboys will be playing for sole possession of first place in the NFC East. It may mean little by the time the regular season ends, but both teams are dealing with a critical part of their season. The Eagles are coming off a loss in Minneapolis, and some are now questioning if the team is truly a Super Bowl contender. After starting the season at 3-0, Dallas has lost three in a row, with the latest defeat coming at the hands of the previously winless Jets. The winner of this game still has a lot of work to do to reach the post-season, but the loser could be in serious trouble nearing the halfway mark of the 2019 campaign. 

Defensive lineman Fletcher Cox realizes the situation on both sides.

"Getting a win is really big," said Cox. "For us, we just need to go down there and focus. We're playing a team that we're used to seeing every year. It's going to be a physical game. They're coming off a loss. We're coming off a loss. To me, it's going to come down to who wants it more."

If players on either side need extra motivation for this game, they likely need their pulse checked. Eagles-Cowboys is always a special game, and there is even more excitement when first place is on the line. The players on both sides understand the rivalry well, but defensive end Brandon Graham knows the Eagles have to put last week's loss in Minnesota behind them before they take the field in Dallas.  

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"It's the Cowboys," Graham said. "We just have a bad taste in our mouths since the last game. This would give us a good taste. We've just got to go out there and compete and may the best team win."

Carson Wentz is in his fourth season with the Eagles and the quarterback quickly was educated on the importance of the rivalry. Wentz said fans talk to him during the off-season and tell him if they can only win two games, let both be against the Cowboys. After a win in Green Bay, the Eagles fans who made the trip to Wisconsin chanted "Dallas Sucks" behind Wentz during a post-game interview.  

"It's always exciting," said Wentz. "We know each other so well. We know the rivalry is there. We know the fan bases are really that much more revved up and into it, and we know where we are in the division.  We know it's Sunday Night Football.  We know all of those things."

The two teams will meet again in Philadelphia in December, and the rematch could have an even greater meaning when it comes to who wins the division. Many Eagles are still talking about the importance of getting a win no matter who the opponent is, but tight end Zach Ertz wasn't about to try and fool anyone this week. 

"It's going to be a really good environment down in Dallas like it always is," Ertz said. "It's always fun playing there. It is the classic rivalry in our division in my opinion. They don't like us. We don't like them. It's just as simple as that."