Admittedly I am a glass half empty type of guy so it comes as no surprise that I’m still worried about this Saturday night. I fear that we’ll see an overconfident Cowboys team squaring off against a pissed off and hungry Eagles bunch.
Last Sunday I became more and more troubled by the fact that the Eagles were not blitzing, (as if they were holding something back). Even after it had become evident that their “rush 4/zone coverage schemes” were getting torched they still failed to bring the pressure (and at this point the score was still just 7-0). In the 2nd half they brought more pressure but nothing too exotic. I couldn’t help but wonder if the Eagles could really be so brazen? Could they really be holding back, not giving their all, and sacrifice in the process a first round bye, believing that three road wins in route to Miami would be just as easy? Perhaps the more logical explanation is that they miss the likes of Jim Johnson and Brian Dawkins.
Did perhaps the Cowboys save anything? They knew heading into last Sunday that a win meant they faced the same team two weeks in a row. Is it possible that both Phillips and Garrett kept a few things hidden in the playbook, knowing they could unleash them the following week? I do believe that Cowboys will have to unveil something the Eagles haven’t seen at some point on Saturday night in order to win.
Look at some the ghosts the Cowboys will be battling this Saturday night; such as Andy Reid and McNabb have never lost a first round playoff game, or how about the Cowboys have never beaten anyone 3 times in one season in their 50 year history? There is of course the 13 years and counting drought of playoff victories, (even the Redskins have won a playoff game in the past decade). Meanwhile the Cowboys head into this weekend with some of their personnel dealing with their own personal demons; such as Romo who is constantly disparaged (unfairly) for never having won a playoff game and Wade (perhaps somewhat fairly) criticized for having an 0-4 record in the playoffs (0-5 record in “win or go home” situations if count last year’s 44-6 debacle).
The wild card round offers a huge weekend of rematches this year as every game features teams that have already seen each other in 2009; 3 of these matchups are back to back meetings which is unheard of. The last time a back to back occurrence happened was in 2001 when the Eagles and Bucs played in week 17 and the wild card round, while the Jets and Raiders also faced each over the course of those same two weeks. The results; the Eagles won both games while the Jets and Raiders split, with Oakland taking the playoff win.