Owens Situation Changes NFC

The Philadelphia Eagles have been almost unstoppable the last four years -- at least until the NFC title game or later -- but with the self-imposed destruction, everything is up in the air for the NFC playoff hopefuls.

For many teams, the NFL season has reached its midway point. The Vikings are 3-5 and currently on the outside looking in, two games behind the front-running Bears. But, one thing that most people could agree on up until very recently was that the Eagles were head and shoulders the best team in the NFC.

All of that might be ready to get thrown out the window with the rift between Terrell Owens and his teammates, which allegedly included a fist fight with teammate Hugh Douglas. The Eagles have suspended T.O. indefinitely and, at 4-4, are in last place in the tough NFC East.

With the Eagles in danger of missing the playoffs completely, the Packers all but assured not to make it, the Falcons getting a strong test from both the Panthers and Bucs and the Vikings and Rams struggling to get back to the playoffs, the field has opened for teams like the Giants, Redskins, Bears, Cowboys and Seahawks to set themselves up and make a move for the Super Bowl.

Whether Owens and the Eagles will kiss and make up is unknown, but what has been determined is that the Vikings and teams like them don't have to fear Philly the way teams have in recent years. Like him or not, without Owens, the 2005 Eagles don't have the same swagger and, for those teams looking to get on a roll in the second half of the year, that could be huge.

* Michael Bennett had just 71 yards rushing heading into yesterday's game, where he rushed for 106 yards. It was his first 100-yard game since 2003.
* Bennett topped 100 yards for the ninth time in his career -- moving into third place all-time on the Vikings career list behind only Robert Smith and Chuck Foreman.
* Despite spending much of the fourth quarter in hurry-up mode as well as having a successful two-minute drill in the first half, the Lions managed just 289 yards of total offense.
* Prior to getting two turnovers in the second quarter, the Vikings had gone nine straight quarters without forcing a turnover.
* Mewelde Moore was the Vikings' only serious injury. He left the game with a right wrist injury after getting hit late out of bounds by safety Kenoy Kennedy, which Moore termed a "Bush League" hit.
* Keith Newman knocked Lions RB Kevin Jones out of the game with a much more conventional (and legal) hit. Jones was in to block as Newman came on a blitz and was hit so hard, he suffered a "nerve contusion" in his arm that left it alternately tingling and numb.
* Travis Taylor led the team in receiving yards with 27 yards. As far as the Vikings stat people could tell, it was the lowest total for a team leader in receiving in at least the last 15 years.
* The Vikings head to play the high-flying Giants this week. The last time the team played in the Meadowlands? The 41-0 NFC title game debacle in January 2001.

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