As the Eagles return to practice Monday following a bye here's a clsoer look at their final nine games of the season:
Sunday, Nov. 7, vs. Indianapolis Colts, 4:15 p.m.
In case you haven’t heard, Andy Reid’s Eagles have never beaten the Colts. In fact, the three losses — 45-21 in 2006, 35-13 in 2002 and 44-17 in 1999 — weren’t even close. Peyton Manning always seemed to flummox former defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. Maybe this is Sean McDermott’s opportunity to step out of his mentor’s shadow. Manning could, after all, be without three key players — injured tight end Dallas Clark, receiver Austin Collie, and running back Joseph Addai.
Nov. 15 at Washington Redskins, 8:30 p.m.
Now that Donovan McNabb’s return to Philadelphia is out of the way, it’s time to get back to the business of playing an NFC East rival. The Redskins are in the division-winning picture as much as the Eagles despite McNabb’s inconsistent play. A victory here would make up for the sloppy loss in the first meeting. Of course, maybe McNabb will play well this time.
Nov. 21 vs. New York Giants, 8:20 p.m.
Circle the date on your calendar. The Giants appear to be the best of the NFC East crop, but they can’t make that claim at least until they’re through the division once. Despite his 11 interceptions, quarterback Eli Manning is being mentioned as a potential MVP candidate. Manning and the Giants, it should be noted, haven’t beaten the Eagles in their last four tries.
Nov. 28 at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
It’s hard to complain about a trip to the Windy City, but will the NFL ever force the Bears to play in Philly? These teams have met in each of the last three seasons, each time in Chicago. The Bears appear to have come back to earth, losing three of their last four after opening with three straight wins. And then there’s quarterback Jay Cutler. Has there ever been a more overrated player?
Dec. 2 vs. Houston Texans, 8:20 p.m.
The Eagles are 7-2 all-time in Thursday games and 0-2 against the expansion Texans. This Houston squad isn’t like the previous two that have faced the Eagles, though. West Chester East High’s Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson are as unheralded a quarterback-receiver duo as there is in the NFL. The Texans’ pass defense, however, is ripe for picking.
Dec. 12 at Dallas Cowboys, 8:20 p.m.
Romo or no Romo? That is the question. The Cowboys quarterback may not be back from a fractured collarbone in time to start this game. It may not even matter. Unless Dallas turns things around, the Eagles will be facing a losing team with either a new coach or one on its way out in Wade Phillips. Of course, there’s something about a team with nothing to lose, especially one that has beaten you three straight times.
Dec. 19 at New York Giants, 1 p.m.
Through the first seven weeks of the season, the Giants have knocked quarterbacks Cutler, Romo, the Bears’ Todd Collins, Detroit’s Shaun Hill and Carolina’s Matt Moore out of games. With the Eagles’ porous offensive line, it isn’t difficult to imagine the Giants adding either Michael Vick or Kevin Kolb to the notches on their belts.
Dec. 26 vs. Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m.
In likely the penultimate game of Brett Favre’s career (Please!), the Eagles will host a team that could already be out of the playoff picture. Of course, the same could be said about Andy Reid’s squad. If that’s the case, expect the Reid and Brad Childress pregame meet-and-greet to be more about fishing than football.
Jan. 2 vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m.
Before the season, this contest had the look of being a playoff decider. Not so much now after Dallas’ putrid start. Nevertheless, Eagles-Cowboys always has a special ring to it. Even if both teams are out of the playoff picture, the outcome — and how either Vick or Kolb performs — could decide the future at quarterback.