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It’s a tough day for Cowboys fans to look at the Philadelphia Eagles

It’s going to be a long offseason.

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The last two teams to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs are the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

It was the latter that dethroned the reigning NFC Champions on Saturday with a grind-it-out style 15-10 win at Lincoln Financial Field. The top seeded Eagles did what they had to do, and they got the win they wanted. That is respectable.

Among Cowboys fans respect towards our hated division rival is a rarity, occurring as often as a solar eclipse (probably less often to be honest). As much as it hurts to admit, they’ve had more success since the Cowboys last hoisted the Lombardi (although they never have).

Philadelphia is making its sixth appearance in the season’s penultimate game since the Cowboys last did. The Cowboys last six NFC Championship Game appearances were (moving backwards in time) 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1982, and 1981. Quite the difference.

What is particularly impressive about the latest ticket to the title game Philly punched is how they did, mainly that they did so without MVP-caliber quarterback Carson Wentz.

The former second-overall pick was lost for the season during Philadelphia’s Week 14 contest in Los Angeles against the Rams. Veteran Nick Foles, coincidentally the last Eagles playoff quarterback, has taken over for him and only lost once in the process (to the Cowboys in Week 17).

Eagles coach Doug Pederson is making do this season without serious contributors to the Eagles cause: Wentz, Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, Jordan Hicks, Caleb Sturgis, and others. All of these losses, and the Eagles are one game away from Super Bowl LII, a home game at that.

Not only are the Eagles on the precipice of something special, to get there they had to slay a mighty dragon. On Saturday the Eagles took down the reigning conference champion Atlanta Falcons, and they were underdogs in doing so.

It’s only Doug Pederson’s second season in Philadelphia, and he has one playoff win plus a conference title game appearance on his resume. In seven full seasons Jason Garrett only has the former as the Cowboys head honcho.

At some point in the aftermath of the Eagles win a question dawned on me... why were the Eagles able to beat the Falcons in 2017 and the Cowboys were unable to beat the Packers in 2016?

The answer is potentially as simple as last season’s Packers being better than this season’s Falcons (shout out to Aaron Rodgers), but considering Philadelphia did it without Carson Wentz and the Cowboys failed to do it with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott... it’s a bit of indictment against Jason Garrett more than anyone.

Whether or not the Eagles manage to win next Sunday, or two weeks after for that matter, entering the 2018 season it’s obvious that they are a better team and have a better coach than the Cowboys. They have become the standard within the division.

Cowboys fans raised to hate the Eagles will bemoan of the lack of Lombardis occupying the City of Brotherly Love, but as true as that is (it is true FWIW), so is it that Dallas is trailing them in the here and now.

Who among the large contingency of Cowboys fans believes that Jason Garrett could do what Doug Pederson did on Saturday? When down his best players (Zeke, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith, or way back to the Tony Romo days) Jason Garrett has shown an inability to be the reason his team wins. Doug Pederson proved the opposite against Atlanta with a game plan that made do with what he had to get the win.

The next week of festivities in Philadelphia paraded all across NFL Network, ESPN, and the like will be a long and hard look in the mirror for the Cowboys. While Philly very well could lose, they’ve entered territory the Cowboys have failed to in a long time.

Only two NFC teams boast droughts as long as the Cowboys from the title game, Detroit and Washington. Last time Dallas was in the game Marvin Harrison was still in college. John Elway hadn’t won a Super Bowl of any kind. BTB didn’t exist.

The Eagles have never won the Super Bowl. That being said, they’ve been more successful franchise than the Cowboys over the last 20 years. Think about that and let it fully sink in.

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