The Dallas Cowboys put an end to the Saints' perfect season and kept themselves in the mix for an NFC East title with a 24-17 win Saturday night.
Dallas got off to a great start and did just enough in the fourth quarter to hang on for the victory.
So what does this mean for the Eagles?
The Cowboys improve to 9-5 on the season. The Birds are at 9-4 heading into Sunday afternoon's game against the 49ers.
If the Eagles lose to San Francisco, we have ourselves a two-way tie atop the division. The Cowboys own the tiebreak (head-to-head record) for the time-being, having beat the Eagles earlier this season.
Should the Eagles handle the Niners, they would improve to 10-4 and maintain a one-game lead over the Cowboys with two remaining.
Dallas faces the Redskins in Week 16, and the Eagles welcome the Broncos to the Linc.
The Eagles and Cowboys face off in Dallas in Week 17.
The Giants are still in it at 7-6. If they win out, and all three teams finish at 10-6, here are the tiebreaks:
1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs).
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
According to the Eagles' Web site, the Birds can clinch a playoff berth with a win against San Francisco. The possibility would remain for a three-way divisional tie at 10-6 down the road, but apparently the Eagles would make out OK with tiebreakers. A win Sunday does not clinch the division though.
After Monday night, we'll do our weekly NFC East breakdown to make sense of it all.
Some other thoughts on tonight's game:
** The Cowboys' defensive line is tough. They got after Drew Brees all game, sacking him four times and forcing him into three turnovers. DeMarcus Ware played injured and had two sacks. Third-year player Anthony Spencer also had a pair of sacks.
** Dallas' defense didn't give up a touchdown through the first three quarters. The Saints' offense did not convert a third down until the fourth.
** I've watched two of the last three Cowboys games very closely, and I'm not sure we've ever seen Tony Romo play better. In this one, he completed 22 of 34 passes for 312 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. In his last four games, Romo has tossed eight touchdowns without a pick. He hasn't been intercepted in his last 148 attempts.
** The Cowboys' ground game is clicking also. 145 yards behind Marion Barber and Felix Jones.
** Telling sequence in the fourth quarter. With the Cowboys up, 24-10, Roy Williams had a big third-down drop. The Saints got the ball back and cut the Dallas lead to 24-17. When the Cowboys' offense returned to the field, they faced a third down, and Romo found Miles Austin for a huge 32-yard gain. Austin had seven catches for 139 yards. Williams? One catch for 14 yards.
** Big-time drive by Dallas at the start of the third quarter. Thirteen plays, 74 yards and seven minutes off the clock. Seven rushes. Six passing plays. And a 2-yard Barber touchdown run.
** The one downside for the Cowboys tonight: Nick Folk. If you're a Dallas fan, the thought of a crucial field-goal attempt in the final two weeks frightens you. And rightfully so. Folk missed a 24-yard attempt late in the fourth quarter that could have put the game away. He has now missed 10 field goals on the season.
** That's it for me tonight. Don't forget. Live chat from Eagles-49ers tomorrow. And we'll likely have a post or two up before then.