Clearly, the Cowboys have a focus on winning the NFC East title this weekend. That is a definite possibility, but it's one that might not be on the table when they kick off at 3:15 p.m. (CST) against the Eagles this Saturday.
If the Giants knock off the Jets earlier in the day, then it makes the outcome of the Cowboys-Eagles game meaningless for both teams. By the Giants winning to get to 8-7, it would officially eliminate the Eagles from the playoffs and it would mean the Cowboys MUST beat the Giants on Jan. 1 in the Meadowlands to win the NFC East.
Soooooo, that being said, why wouldn't you rest your starters against the Eagles . . . in that scenario of course?
Sure, you always want to have momentum, but at what cost? Think about it from the other perspective. If, the Giants were to lose to the Jets, then obviously the Cowboys would try to beat the Eagles and clinch the division right then on Christmas Eve. And if that happens, what do you think the Cowboys do the next week in New York?
I would bet Jason Garrett plays it smart and rests a lot of players, especially the ones who are banged up. The guys we see resting in the middle of the week – DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff sometimes and Kyle Kosier, those guys probably wouldn't play. Who knows if Tony Romo would get the full game either.
So if that is the thinking for the Jan. 1 game, assuming the Cowboys had it wrapped up, then why would it be any different for the Eagles game, if they know nothing good can come from it.
So the Cowboys beat the Eagles 23-17 with a last-second touchdown pass. Or let's say the Cowboys win 31-3 and Tony Romo throws three more touchdowns. None of it matters for the next game.
Why would you want some rookie defender for the Eagles to get a free shot at your quarterback or star receivers when the game doesn't matter? Even if you win that game, you might have to rely on Stephen McGee to go win the division the next week.
It's just something to think about. And it's something that won't even happen until right before kickoff.
I know it's a little backwards in the approach – resting guys in Week 16 to play full throttle in Week 17. But that's what might be in front of them – if the Giants beat the Jets.