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Armageddon This Is Not

Jersey, so he knows the atmosphere. He's only four years removed from starting for Tampa Bay in a Super Bowl season, so he knows what big games are and what mileposts are. Singleton's opinion is that this is a big game "because it's next. It's a division game, and if we want to do what we hope to, we have to beat the teams in our division." But to Singleton, it's not necessarily a defining game. 

"Defining the team you are doesn't happen in one game," he says. "It happens in the off-season, in your workouts, in training camp. You have to prove yourself every week. Consistency defines what you are as a football team, and you can't establish that in one game." 

Linebacker Bradie James is rapidly becoming the conscience of the defense, if not its voice, and James knows this is a severe measuring stick. 

"We're going to earn our checks this week," he sighs. "Nobody does what Donovan McNabb does. With (Brian) Westbrook and L.J. Smith and Donte Stallworth, that's a four-headed monster." 

But James knows whatever the outcome this week, there's a lot more football to be played. 

"It will speak volumes about where we are, and it'll do that for them, too," he says. "But it's not going to be the ending result of the season. It's a big game in the NFC East on the road, and if we can win it that lets us know where we are early. But we break the season down into quarters, and this is just the end of the first quarter." 

There's even some difference of opinion about whether a game this early in the season can be a season-defining moment. 

"It depends how it plays out," Bledsoe believes. "If we win this game and go on to win the Super Bowl, you can probably say it was a defining moment of the season. If we win this game and lay an egg the rest of the way, obviously it wouldn't have meant as much. 

"If we don't play well and don't have a good year, people can look back and say it was the place our season started the downturn. Or we could lose and turn it back around and people will say it was the wake up call we needed. It all depends on what happens the rest of the way." 

It helps to know what you're going through, and for the Cowboys' veterans, the circus surrounding Owens likely won't get in the way. Bledsoe remembers being with the Patriots when their coach left and went to the division rival Jets, or does anyone care about Bill Parcells' life before Dallas? 

"When he came back, there was some craziness," Bledsoe recalls. "And when I went to New England the first time with Buffalo, that was a game that had a little something extra for me." 

Maybe Owens will experience that, although his quarterback doubts it, saying, "He seems to me be a guy who thrives on adversity, like he almost needs it more. But I'll tell you this: He's very professional about his football. He gives me great information and he's been great in the games and at practice." 

And whatever the atmosphere and hatred Eagles fans express for all things Cowboys and Owens, it may not be the most hostile environment some of them have seen. 

What would you rather do, Bradie James, the LSU alum, is asked, play in Philly or at the Swamp at the University of Florida? 

Suddenly Bradie James becomes W.C. Fields: 

"I'd rather be in Philadelphia."                               

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