If you’re a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles and Thanksgiving, and also possess a strong dislike for the Dallas Cowboys, then Thursday November 27, 2014 was a day you won’t forget anytime soon. I admit when I’m wrong and in the case of the Eagles vs the Cowboys on Thanksgiving I was dead wrong. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited/happy to be wrong. Going into the first place showdown for the NFC East I didn’t have a good feeling about this game for the Eagles. I kept having flashbacks to the Packers game and who could blame me. The Eagles were rocked in Green Bay just a few weeks back and I was convinced this team couldn’t stand a chance against an elite team.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying Dallas is elite but as I started listening to the analysts and reading up on the match it made complete sense why I picked Dallas to win. Just take a look at the key positions going into the game on offense. In my opinion Dallas has the better QB, better running back, better number 1 wide receiver, and better offensive line. I’m not saying those positions are overwhelmingly better than the Eagles but they are better. So at the end of the day it was logical for me not to feel good about this game and predict a Dallas win. I wasn’t alone as many local sports analysts and national analysts also picked Dallas to win. I thought the Eagles would play them tough but lose a close one.

Then the game started, and Chip Kelly and company had me out of my seat, driving my relatives crazy as I yelled at the top of my lungs for the next 3 hours in the living room with my brother in laws. Just when you think you have this Eagles team figured out they do something completely crazy like drop a blowout on the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving before a national audience. The Eagles came into the game undefeated on Thanksgiving going 5-0 in their history. By the time they were finished with the Cowboys they moved to 6-0 in Thanksgiving games.

Mark Sanchez, who became a national embarrassment 2 years ago when his infamous butt fumble occurred on Thanksgiving night during a Jets/Patriots game, finally redeemed himself. Sanchez came right out of the gate and drove the Eagles down field for an 80 yard opening drive touchdown that was capped off by a 2 yard QB sneak by Sanchez. That same drive also saw LeSean McCoy rip off a 36 yard run which really established the run game for the Eagles. Sanchez and the offense basically abused the Cowboys defense all afternoon marching to three touchdown drives of at least 80 yards which wore down the Dallas front seven. Sanchez finished 20-29 throwing for 217 yards and a touchdown run as well as throwing for 1 TD to Jordan Matthews. The big stat from Sanchez though was 0 interceptions. I was worried about Sanchez and saw him struggle the past 2 games against the Titans and Green Bay but he was sharp against Dallas.

Part of the offensive heroes included LeSean McCoy who I touched on already. McCoy ran for 159 yards which included a 38 yard touchdown run in the third quarter that boosted the Eagles lead to 20. McCoy has been under fire lately for his subpar performance this year but he now has over 100 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns over the past 2 games. McCoy might just be turning the corner at just the right time for the Eagles. Darren Sproles had 1 carry for 13 yards as well as 3 receptions for 19 yards. Although his touches were limited when Sproles did touch the ball it was in key third down situations when the Eagles needed to get a first down. I still think Sproles should be getting about 8-10 carries a game with some additional passes but the fact is when he’s used he finds a way to come up big for this offense.

On the receiving front Jeremy Maclin finished with 8 receptions for 108 yards including a 58 yarder which included most of those yards after the catch. Maclin passed 1000 yards receiving for the first time in his career also. Maclin, who’s playing on a 1 year contract sure is in line for a huge contract extension after his performance this season. Jordan Matthews also had a huge game catching 4 passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. Matthews once again is proving he belongs in the NFL and that his chemistry with Mark Sanchez is legit.

My only gripe on the day with the offense was the red zone struggles. The Eagles won 33-10 but it could have been a lot more. Cody Parkey kicked 4 field goals as a result of the Eagles offense stalling inside the redzone. The Eagles got away with their red zone deficiencies in this game but if they want to succeed in the playoffs they can’t leave points on the field like that.

But this game was won by the defense. The Eagles front 7 was dominant. They clamped down on the NFL’s leading rusher in Demarco Murray. The secondary forced two turnovers and didn’t allow a passing play of more than 38 yards. They sacked Tony Romo 4 times. Romo, who clearly was afraid of contact during the game as he’s been battling a bad back all season, was visibly falling to the ground as the Eagles applied the pressure. The Eagles held Romo to his lowest passer rating of the season at 53.7. Romo also had his streak of 38 straight games with a touchdown pass end.

Demarco Murray came into the game with 1,354 yards rushing and 100 yard rushing games in all but one game this season. The Eagles held him to a season low 73 yards rushing on 20 carries. The other huge concern was Bradley Fletcher going against Dez Bryant. We all saw Fletcher get cooked by Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay and most, including myself, figured it’d be more of the same in Dallas. Bryant had a 38 yard reception and that was it. He was held to 73 yards receiving on 4 receptions. It was clear this defense had a game plan and they stuck with it. In a key moment of the game LeSean McCoy fumbled deep in Philly territory which set up a first and ten for Dallas at the Eagle 11 yard line. In what could have been a momentum changing point in the game the Eagles defense stopped Dallas and forced a 3 and out field goal. Fletcher Cox, who’s been playing out of his mind over the past four weeks came up huge on that defensive stop. He came up with a huge two yard drop of Demarco Murray which set up the Dallas field goal instead of allowing them to get a first down or a touchdown.

If you grew up in the 90s like I did you were programmed to hate the Dallas Cowboys and all Cowboy fans. It was tough for us Eagle fans back then as Dallas won Super Bowl after Superbowl in the early 90s. I could have easily been lured by the evil star as day after day kids in my classroom wore the Cowboy starter jackets and t-shirts. But at the end of the day, I’m from Philadelphia, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand when you’re a sports fan you cheer for the team closest to where you grew up. For me that team was the Philadelphia Eagles not the Dallas Cowboys who play hundreds of miles away. I enjoy the fact I can get in the car and drive to the Eagles stadium and be there within 45 minutes and don’t need to book a flight and get a hotel to watch my team play. For those Dallas fans out there who reside in the Philly region I feel for them because this is an element of being a fan they’ll always miss out on and are too corrupt to realize it.

Next up the Eagles will head back to the Linc where they’ll face off against the defending Superbowl champs the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks also played on Thanksgiving and beat the 49ers 19-3. Seattle will enter the game at 8-4 and looking to continue their playoff push. It could be a preview of a possible playoff matchup between the two teams also. I said last week the Eagles would need to win at least 2 of the next 3 in order to cement a playoff spot and so far they have one of those victories. But they need to keep it going because now it’s not just about a playoff spot but it’s about positioning yourself for home field advantage throughout the postseason. The Eagles are now in a position where they can possibly win 12-13 games which should at minimum clinch a first round bye and a home playoff game in the division round and pending the outcome of Seattle, Arizona, and Green Bay it could even give us home field throughout the playoffs. Either way folks, enjoy the victory over Dallas. It was a Thanksgiving for all to enjoy, thank you Eagles for making it an even better holiday than usual.