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Eagles' Upset Gives Cowboys Division Title, No. 1 Seed In NFC Playoffs

The road to Houston officially goes through Dallas.

That's the simplest way to phrase Thursday night's divisional upset, which saw the Philadelphia Eagles down the New York Giants, 24-19.

Now, that might not sound like major news to the Dallas Cowboys on the surface – but it actually meant everything.

The result means that, without having to play a snap of their Monday night game against Detroit, the Cowboys have won the NFC East. The good news doesn't stop there, though.

With 12 wins on the season, the Cowboys are now assured of the best record in the conference and the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.

That might not be something Cowboys coach Jason Garrett wants his team to focus on, as he deflected questions on the matter repeatedly on Thursday afternoon. Regardless, it has to be comforting to know his team is assured of a weekend off and a guaranteed home game in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The game itself was just the latest twist in what has been a thrilling season in the NFC East.

With a 10-4 record and two wins over the Cowboys, the Giants entered the night with an outside chance at winning the division. Thanks to sterling play from both Dallas and New York this season, it was assured that the NFC East champion would be the top overall seed in the playoffs.

The Giants needed to win their remaining two games and hope for Dallas losses in the final two weeks, and they could have claimed top honors for themselves. A New York win against the Eagles would have meant the Cowboys had to beat Detroit to clinch the division.

Instead, the Eagles got off to a fast start. Darren Sproles put Philadelphia up, 7-0, with a 25-yard touchdown run on the first possession of the game. Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins followed that up by returning an Eli Manning interception for a touchdown on the ensuing possession.

The Philadelphia offense didn't generate much after that – but it didn't need to. The Giants' offense, an Achilles heel all season, couldn't get much going against a stout Philly front. New York settled for four field goals on the night, and Manning threw three total interceptions – the last of which ended the game.

It was Philadelphia's first division win of the season, and it couldn't have come at a better time. The Cowboys are NFC East champions for the second time in the last three years, and the road to Super Bowl LI goes through AT&T Stadium.

There might be two weeks of work left to do, but Ezekiel Elliott put it succinctly in the moments following the game:

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