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NFC East: Assessing Sanchez As Thanksgiving Approaches

If Nick Foles comes back to the Eagles at some point this season, it's probably not going to be in time for the big Thanksgiving game against the Cowboys.  It's a small sample size, but to this point it doesn't look like that should bother them at all.

Mark Sanchez started his first game for Philly on Monday night, and he handled himself quite in relief of the injured Foles. He completed 54 percent for 332 yards and two touchdowns, and he didn't make any mistakes while the Eagles defense swarmed in a 45-21 crushing of Carolina.

There are other important facets of this we can get to later – like the part where the Eagles sacked Cam Newton an absurd nine times on the night, and are now ranked second in the league in sacks.

But for all the joking and talking we did about the backup quarterbacks in the NFC East this offseason, Sanchez deserves some special mention. Well caught a first-hand glimpse of the disastrous Brandon Weeden Era in Dallas, but Sanchez has been quite the opposite of that after his forgettable stint with the New York Jets.

Sanchez has now appeared in two games with the Eagles, and he has completed 35-of-59 total passes for 534 combined yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Cowboys fans will be quick to point out the quality of the competition he was playing – a 4-5 Houston team and a 3-6-1 Carolina team – but it doesn't appear the Eagles are going to experience the same drop off as the Cowboys with their backup at the helm.

[embeddedad0]This Sunday is a fascinating litmus test involving two big interests for Dallas. Philly, the division leader and the Cowboys' top competition for the NFC East crown, is traveling to Green Bay to face the Packers – who are presently one of the Cowboys' top competitors for a wildcard spot.

Regardless of what happens, the result is going to say a lot about the Eagles' ceiling under Sanchez – whether they go up to Lambeau Field and beat Aaron Rodgers or they crash and burn.

After that, Sanchez will lead the Eagles against a struggling Titans team at Lincoln Financial Field. However you want to play it, Philadelphia probably shouldn't be looking at any worse than an 8-3 record when they come to Dallas for the Thanksgiving showdown against the Cowboys.

How that game goes, and how the Eagles play against Dallas, is likely going to rest on Sanchez's shoulders.

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