5:00 PM ET, December 25, 2006
Texas Stadium, Irving, TX
Philadelphia (8-6) at Dallas (9-5) Monday 5:00 pm EST
But the focus will likely shift to Terrell Owens facing his former team for the second time this season.
The first one was not a good experience for Owens, who was booed lustily by the Philadelphia fans and caught just three passes for 45 yards in the Cowboys' 38-24 loss to the Eagles on October 9. The temperamental wide receiver often threw his hands up in disgust and vented his frustration to teammates and coaches on the sidelines during the game.
Owens appeared frustrated with the Cowboys' offensive line and quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who was sacked seven times.
After the 2003 season, the outspoken Owens made it known that Garcia was one of the main reasons why he no longer wanted to be part of the 49ers.
"I'm willing to work out a contract if the Niners can get a quarterback to match my skills as a receiver," Owens said. "A receiver is only as good as his quarterback."
Not only did Owens pan Garcia's ability on the field, but he has questioned his manhood off it, implying in an interview to Playboy that his former quarterback is gay.
Now Garcia is the starting quarterback in Philadelphia after McNabb suffered a season-ending torn ACL in a November 19 loss to Tennessee.
Philadelphia's playoff hopes was thought to have ended when McNabb went down. Garcia, a Pro Bowl quarterback with the 49ers from 2001-03, took over and lost his first start for the Eagles at Indianapolis on November 26, but bounced back with six touchdown passes in consecutive wins over Carolina, Washington and the New York Giants.
The three-game winning streak has catapulted Philadelphia into the lead in the wild-card race, one game ahead of Atlanta and the Giants. And if the Eagles win at Dallas on Monday, they will take over first place in the NFC East on the strength of their head-to-head tiebreaker.
If the Eagles lose at Dallas, they can still seal a playoff berth with a win over Atlanta in the season finale.
The Cowboys have alreadly clinched their second playoff berth in Parcells' four years as coach. This one likely happened because Parcells made the switch from Bledsoe to Tony Romo in late October.
Dallas is 6-2 since Romo took over as the starter and Romo was even named to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday.
A little-used backup for three years before he finally got his chance this season, Romo ranks first in the NFC with a quarterback rating of 98.4, completing 66 percent of his passes for 2,440 yards and 16 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
The Eagles will face Romo for the first time on Monday after taking advantage of Bledsoe's lack of mobility in the first meeting.
Owens has 77 catches for 1,040 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first year with the Cowboys, but was not selected to the Pro Bowl.
Dallas had two players from their defense selected to the Pro Bowl - second-year hybrid end-outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and safety Roy Williams. Punter Mat McBriar of the Cowboys was also named to the Pro Bowl.
Running back Brian Westbrook may be Philadelphia's most valuable player, but lost out to Frank Gore, Tiki Barber and Steven Jackson for Pro Bowl berths. Westbrook has rushed for 1,092 yards and has 74 catches for 664 yards.
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Goodell: NFL ruling on Hardy in 'near future'
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Cowboys must contain Westbrook
The Eagles are on the rise behind the solid play of quarterback Jeff Garcia, and are looking to go to Dallas to recapture the division lead, after winning their last two games on the road against NFC East opponents.
The Cowboys have clinched a playoff spot, while they hold a one game lead in the division and must win out to put themselves in a better position for the playoffs. Tony Romo bounced back last week against the Falcons, but it has been the Cowboys' defense that has been playing poorly the past few weeks and needs to slow down the resurgent Eagles' offense .
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|Avg Points Allowed||20.7||20.7|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||PHI|
|Rush Yds Allowed||PHI|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Philadelphia leads 9-3|
|Oct 8, 2006||PHI 38, DAL 24|
|Nov 14, 2005||PHI 20, DAL 21|
|Oct 9, 2005||PHI 10, @DAL 33|
|Dec 19, 2004||PHI 12, DAL 7|
|Nov 15, 2004||PHI 49, @DAL 21|
|Dec 7, 2003||PHI 36, DAL 10|
|Oct 12, 2003||PHI 21, @DAL 23|
|Dec 21, 2002||PHI 27, @DAL 3|
|Sep 22, 2002||PHI 44, DAL 13|
|Nov 18, 2001||PHI 36, @DAL 3|
|Sep 30, 2001||PHI 40, DAL 18|