Eagles lose control of playoff destiny
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Two straight losses at home forces the Philadelphia Eagles to win and hope for help.
The defending NFC East champions no longer control their playoff destiny following Sunday night’s 38-27 loss to the Dallas Cowboys (10-4).
The Eagles (9-5) still have a chance to win the division, but need the Cowboys to lose at least one game.
“You’re just wasting energy if you’re thinking about anything else except for Washington,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said, referring to Saturday’s game at the Redskins (3-11).
“I think that’s our job as coaches, to make sure that they really, truly understand that. But I don’t worry about this group from that standpoint.”
If the Eagles beat the Redskins and the Cowboys lose at home to Indianapolis (10-4), Philadelphia regains control of first place.
The Eagles then would clinch the East with a win at the New York Giants (5-9) in the last game. If Dallas lost to the Colts and Redskins, the Eagles would only have to win one more game.
The team’s wild-card chances are much slimmer. The Eagles have to win both games and would need Seattle, Green Bay or Detroit to lose two games.
“If we don’t beat Washington, then there are no scenarios that really can be played out in anybody’s head,” Kelly said. “And I don’t know if playing a scenario out in your head makes you feel better or whatever; I don’t know how that helps you. It’s about one thing we can do and that’s go out and play against Washington on Saturday.”
The Eagles dominated the Cowboys on the road on Thanksgiving, winning 33-10 and putting themselves in position to possibly earn a first-round bye. But they haven’t been the same team since that win.
The Seahawks shut down Mark Sanchez and the rest of the offense in a 24-14 win last week that snapped Philadelphia’s 10-game home winning streak in the regular season.
Then the Cowboys came out fired up in their rematch and jumped out to a 21-0 lead. The Eagles rallied to take a 24-21 lead in the third quarter only to watch it disappear quickly.
Sanchez threw two interceptions, tight end Brent Celek lost a fumble at a crucial time and cornerback Bradley Fletcher struggled against Dez Bryant, who had three touchdowns.
Despite Sanchez’s struggles, he’ll be under center at Washington. Nick Foles still hasn’t been cleared to return after breaking his collarbone on Nov. 2.
“Like most people, I saw good and bad,” Kelly said of Sanchez’s performance. “The throw to (Jeremy Maclin) for the long run was a real big-time throw. There were a couple throws on the sideline that I thought he made, but then there were some other throws that he missed.”
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