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After loss to Dallas Cowboys, Eagles need help to make playoffs
By SP_COP on December 15, 2014 | From www.nj.com
After loss to Dallas Cowboys, Eagles need help to make playoffs Forget Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense, the Eagles now have to rely on the "Princeton offense."

In order to make the playoffs, the Eagles must use the back door. Sunday night's 38-27 loss to the Dallas Cowboys dropped the Eagles to 9-5 on the season, a game behind the Cowboys in the NFC East and, for the time being, out of the playoffs.

For the Eagles to win the NFC East, which they controlled most of the season, they need to win their final two games against the Washington Redskins and Giants and hope the Cowboys lose to the Indianapolis Colts (at home next week) or the Redskins (on the road, Dec. 28). If the Eagles and Cowboys finish in a tie, the Eagles hold the tiebreaker by virtue of a better division record.

As far as the wild-card goes, the Eagles trail the Seattle Seahaks and Green Bay Packers by a game and lose the tiebreaker to both. To catch one, the Eagles would have to win both remaining games, and the Seahawks and Packers would have to lose both of theirs. Seattle plays the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams, and the Packers play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions.

The Eagles are also a game behind the Lions (10-4), who lead the NFC North, and Philly would lose the tiebreaker to the Lions as well.

When the Eagles were 7-2 and cruising toward what some felt could be the top seed in the NFC, this didn't even look like a possibility. Now, it's a harsh reality.

The silver lining: If the Eagles miss the playoffs, their draft pick will be higher and put them that much closer to getting Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Heisman Trophy winner.

Here are some other observations from the Eagles second consecutive home loss.

Coming into the weekend, the Eagles had turned the ball over 30 times, more than any team in the league, and they still managed to win nine of their first 13 games. Sooner or later, it was going to bite them. Sunday night was sooner. Four turnovers, two fumbles and and two interceptions killed the Eagles' chances.

Special teams carried the Eagles all season. It's been far and away the team's best and most consistent unit. But in a game that could cost the Eagles a playoff spot, special teams had its worst play of the season when Josh Huff didn't field the opening kickoff and the Cowboys recovered at the 18?

Eagles cornerbacks, Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams recorded hat tricks Sunday night. Fletcher allowed three touchdown passes, all to Dez Bryant. Williams was called for three penalties, two defensive holdings and one pass interference call. The bigger problem still comes from the coaching staff that allowed Fletcher to cover Bryant one on one.

The Eagles defense overall was abysmal. After the team fought back to take a 24-21 lead with 5:42 left in the third quarter, Billy Davis' unit allowed the Cowboys to go right back down field to take a 28-24 lead and then allowed 10 more points in the fourth quarter....
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