PHILADELPHIA -- If it’s better to be lucky than good, the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles could win the NFC East title by being a little of both.
They opened the season against Washington, with Robert Griffin III looking very much like a young quarterback who hadn’t taken a preseason snap.
When the Eagles were worried about how to cover Calvin Johnson, eight inches of snow covered the Detroit receiver for them.
And now Tony Romo will be out for the biggest game of the season, the virtual playoff game between the Eagles and Dallas, according to ESPN reports.
It’s enough to make you wonder if Chip Kelly’s super-secret sports science program includes hexes and voodoo dolls.
While there will be plenty of jokes about the Cowboys being better off without Romo and his 1-6 record in win-or-go-home games, his absence clearly takes some of the luster off of this much anticipated battle for the NFC East title.
Kelly, speaking before the news broke, had little regard for those criticisms of Romo. He cited the game-winning touchdown Romo threw Sunday to beat Washington and force the showdown with the Eagles.
“Fourth [down], game on the line, scrambles, keeps the ball alive, hits the mark to [DeMarco] Murray and they win the game,” Kelly said. “I'm always on what you did last, and what he did last was pretty special -- the way he avoided the rush, kept drives alive, and I think he's as talented a quarterback as there is in this league.
“Any time with that position, sometimes I think you get probably too much credit and too much blame. But he's one of the really, really, really good quarterbacks we've seen, and I said that the first time we played him. If you're a fan of just quarterback play, he's pretty special.”
As the Eagles learned the hard way, a little luck is no guarantee. They went to Minnesota two Sundays ago knowing that Peterson and Gerhart were unlikely to play. And they still were stomped 48-30 by Matt Cassel and the Vikings. A virtually unknown running back named Matt Asiata ran for three touchdowns in that game.
Cowboys backup quarterback Kyle Orton has more of a pedigree than Asiata or -- sticking with his position -- Glennon, Wallace or Scott Tolzien, who played most of the Packers game. Orton has faced the Eagles twice. He beat them in 2008 while with the Bears, and lost to them the following year as a Bronco.
Though the Eagles have had their share of luck this season, they aren’t going to feel too sorry for the Cowboys. Remember, Michael Vick was their starting quarterback when the season began. After he was hurt, Nick Foles took over and played too well to be sent back down the depth chart.
Throughout that process, Kelly repeatedly said that you had to have two good quarterbacks in the NFL. The Packers found out what happens when you don’t. If Orton isn’t able to compete, that’s on the Cowboys for not having another quarterback in development.
The year Orton and the Bears beat them, the Eagles went to the NFC Championship Game against Arizona. If Orton can beat them this time, they’re going home.