For the third straight year, the Dallas Cowboys are playing for the NFC East division title on the final Sunday of the regular season. Also for the third straight year, the game will be carried on NBC as part of its Sunday Night Football coverage.
This year, the Cowboys will be facing off with the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East crown. Adam Schefter of ESPN initially reported the news Sunday night, citing an NFL official as the source:
Cowboys-Eagles will be flexed to prime time next Sunday night, per NFL official.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 23, 2013
SNF on NBC later confirmed the news:
This marks the third time in as many years that Dallas' final game has been moved to the final prime-time spot of the season. The Cowboys enter the final game at 8-7, the same record as both 2011 and 2012.
In 2011, the New York Giants trounced the Cowboys, went onto the playoffs and ultimately won the Super Bowl. The next year, the Washington Redskins defeated Dallas and advanced to the playoffs, where they lost in the wild-card round to the Seattle Seahawks.
Who will win the final game of the NFL regular season?
Dallas' opponents in both games posted double-digit victories over the Cowboys, who averaged just 16 points on offense while allowing an average of 29.5 points defensively.
As for the big question in the season finale, let's take a look at Tony Romo's stats. In 2012 against Washington, Romo went 20-of-37 for 218 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. In 2011 against the Giants, he finished much better, going 29-of-37 for 289 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Romo, who has been known for his suspect play at the end of games, will have an opportunity to silence the naysayers for the time being. Kevin Negandhi of ESPN weighs in:
Eagles-Cowboys flexed next Sunday night. We all know what that means- Romo will have America on the edge of their seat on the final drive.— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) December 23, 2013
The Eagles demolished the Bears in a 54-11 shellacking on Sunday Night. CSN Philly provides Chip Kelly's take:
"We're from Philadelphia and we fight. That's it. If there's a game on, we're playing. End of story." - Chip Kelly: http://t.co/QUfmTvueO0— Comcast SportsNet (@CSNPhilly) December 23, 2013
Jeff McClane of Philly.com passed along more from Kelly, whose mind was on the Cowboys immediately following the victory:
Asked Chip Kelly if he was thinking about the Cowboys as he walked off the field. "Yep," was all he said.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) December 23, 2013
With both the Eagles and Cowboys controlling their own playoff destiny, the final showdown will almost certainly be a memorable one. Giving the billing of yet another prime-time slot for this one, either team could come away with the most crucial victory of the season.