With a win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, the Eagles
would clinch their fifth NFC East title in the last six
The Eagles also would win the division if Dallas loses at
home to Detroit.
While the Eagles already have secured at least a wild-card
berth, the Falcons have slim playoff possibilities. They
need a win in this contest to go along with losses by
Carolina, Green Bay and the New York Giants.
The Eagles were not given much of a chance of reaching the
playoffs after McNabb suffered a torn ACL in his right knee on
Three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Jeff Garcia has stepped in for
McNabb and played at an extremely high level, going 4-1 as the
starter. He has completed 62.2 percent (115-of-185) of his
passes for 1,280 yards and 10 touchdowns with two interceptions.
"It's real exciting for this team to have come together like
they're coming together and just playing all out from top to
bottom," Garcia said. "There's not a single guy who's not
putting everything out there during the week of preparation and
then following through on game day."
The Eagles also have been sparked by speedy running back Brian
Westbrook, who has amassed 1,884 yards (1,214 rushing, 670
receiving) from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns.
Garcia threw for 238 yards and a touchdown and Westbrook rushed
for 122 yards as the Eagles seized control of the division with
a convincing 23-7 victory at Dallas last Monday.
Things have gone in a completely opposite direction for the
Falcons, who have lost six of their last eight games following a
This could mark the final game for Falcons coach Jim Mora Jr.,
who is in his third season. Falcons owner Arthur Blank said
earlier this year that a a losing record at the end of the
season would be "unacceptable."
Last week, the Falcons surrendered 183 rushing yards in a
10-3 loss to Carolina.
Michael Vick struggled against the Panthers, completing 9-of-20
passes for 109 yards and two interceptions. He did rush for 32
yards, becoming the first quarterback in league history to
surpass 1,000 yards.
Atlanta has played well away from home, posting a 4-3 record.
The teams met in a Monday game to open last season in Atlanta
with the Falcons emerging with a 14-10 victory. The contest
featured a pregame fight between Eagles linebacker Jeremiah
Trotter and Falcons cornerback Kevin Mathis.
The Eagles dominated the Cowboys on Monday night and can clinch the NFC East title with a win. The Falcons, meanwhile, continue to find ways to lose, which could mean trouble for head coach Jim Mora. Atlanta offensive coordinator Greg Knapp will rely heavily on the run game to take pressure off QB Michael Vick. Can the Falcons' offense overcome the elements of playing outside in a cold weather environment?
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson will look to find creative ways to slow down the Falcons' high-powered rushing attack,which has struggled throughout the season against the run. Eagles quarterback Jeff Garcia must continue to keep negative plays to a minimum, while relying on RB Brian Westbrook. The Falcons' defense will rely on its attacking, up-field schemes to try to neutralize the Eagles' running game, while trying to force Garcia into game-changing mistakes on the backend.