For the Eagles, Monday's game is the final battle in a three-week long string of road games within their division. Wins in Washington and New York have the Eagles ready for the playoffs. "It's a great position to be in, to have this opportunity to really be challenging for something special at the end of the season having not experienced that in the last three years - almost to a point where you are starting to get yourself prepared for the off-season, knowing when that off-season is going to begin," said Jeff Garcia earlier this week.
Even when the Eagles had a healthy Donovan McNabb, this stretch of games was seen as their potential undoing. Instead, they've taken advantage of it and made believers out of themselves and others. For Garcia, he believes in this team and thinks good things are ahead of them. Garcia's poise has been a big part of the Eagles' success, but ironically, his momentary lapse of reason against the Giants has been a rallying point for both the offense and defense. In a fit of rage, Garcia drew a personal foul penalty and on the next play, threw his first interception of the season. The Eagles defense then stepped up and when the Birds got the ball back, a composed Garcia led his team into the end zone. "I think it showed the character of this team, not only on the offensive side, but on the defensive side too because they had to come up with the big stand in the last two minutes and they sealed the deal with the big interception. So, I'm not going to say that I wish that would have never happened because I like the way the outcome took place in the game. But, I know that I am better than and I know that I don't need to make those decisions as far as throwing the football, the interception that took place," said Garcia. "But, it did challenge this team. I think it challenged this team in a positive way and we responded without flinching. I think that was a major key that we learned, not just learned about ourselves, but we maybe found out more information about ourselves that is only going to make us better in the end."
When the Eagles faced Owens for the first time this season, Garcia was just a spectator. This time, he's part of the game. For his part though, Garcia isn't talking about Owens, preferring instead to focus on a bigger picture. When asked about playing against the former Eagle, Garcia didn't even address that part of the game. "It's the next big game for us. It's a game that we are excited about playing. It's an awesome opportunity as to what we basically forced ourselves back into with persevering and doing the thing that we needed to do over the last 3-4 weeks in order to become a better football team. Now we have an excellent opportunity on our hands with the game Monday night in Dallas. And that is really how I look at it. I don't look at it for anything else." It's an interesting take from Garcia, who played with Owens in San Francisco and was the target of some pretty intense bashing from Owens.
In all the talk leading up to the game, perhaps Brian Dawkins put it best. "Really, there is no way else you can put it, [with] how much the Eagles fans already don't like the Cowboys, as it is. With everything on the line at this point, everything that maybe going on outside of that has nothing to compare to what is at stake, as far as the NFC East. That's something both teams really want and that's why, I think, you're going to see a dog fight out there."