If Vikings can do it, why not Cowboys?

The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the NFL's hottest teams, having won six of their last seven games.

On the other hand, the Dallas Cowboys have dropped two of their last three games and had to rally from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to extend the Washington Redskins' NFC-long losing streak to seven games. Oh, and their franchise quarterback (Tony Romo) and best defensive player (Sean Lee) are likely not playing Sunday night.

No wonder the Eagles are heavy favorites. How the heck could anybody give the Cowboys a chance to end their trend of losing win-or-go-home, de facto NFC East title games in Week 17?

Well, you don't have to scan the Eagles' schedule for very long to figure out that NFL matchups don't always play out the way they look on paper.

Just look at the Eagles' lone loss since the start of November. The Eagles got blown out on their last road trip by a Minnesota Vikings team that now has a 4-10-1 record.

Adrian Peterson didn't play in that game. Somebody named Matt Asiata ran for three touchdowns. Backup quarterback Matt Cassel accounted for 401 yards and three scores. Greg Jennings caught 11 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. Minnesota scored 48 points.

Perhaps the Eagles got caught looking ahead that afternoon. That clearly won't be the case Sunday night with so much at stake against a rival.

But if Cassel, Jennings and Asiata can put up such big numbers against the Philadelphia defense, the Cowboys at least have some hope with Kyle Orton, DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant.