The Minnesota Vikings apparently thought Christmas was on Monday, because they gave the Eagles the best gift possible - an opportunity to be the NFC's No. 2 seed in the playoffs. The Eagles needed the Vikings' help, and got it when Minnesota lost at Chicago in overtime.

So while the conference's top dogs, New Orleans and Minnesota, are careening toward the postseason, the Eagles have a chance to enter the playoffs as the NFC's hottest team, on a seven-game winning streak. Just beat Dallas, at Dallas. No big deal, right?

With that in mind, my chat on philly.com this week was jumping. Here are just a few of the questions I couldn't get to during the hour-long session.

Who wins this matchup this week, DeMarcus Ware or Jason Peters?

- Theo

 

This will be a big one to watch, for sure. Historically, Peters has fared pretty well, and better than most, against Ware, going back to his days in Buffalo. While Ware is tied for seventh in the NFL with 11 sacks this season, he didn't get one in the first meeting with the Eagles.

An even bigger matchup for the Eagles will be Nick Cole against Jay Ratliff, easily the best nose tackle in the league. Ratliff has six sacks this season, including two last week against Washington. He's 6-foot-4 and 304 pounds, and he'll be a handful for Cole, who has started 15 games this season, although none at center.

Even with Jamaal Jackson out, I feel like the Eagles should be able to put up 27-plus points. What do you think?

- Patrick

The Eagles are averaging 28.6 points per game this season, third best in the NFL, behind New Orleans (33.3) and San Diego (28.7). The 27-point plateau is a pretty good gauge of success for the Eagles. In their 11 wins, only once have they not hit it - they scored 24 in the win over Chicago on Nov. 22 - and they haven't lost a game in which they've scored 27.

But, the Cowboys are third on defense, allowing only 16.7 points per game, behind the Jets (15.7) and Ravens (16.5). They held the Eagles to 16 earlier this season, and DeSean Jackson to just two catches for 29 yards.

I have a feeling the Eagles' coaches are going to find a way to get Jackson a few more touches than that, and that should help their point production.

Do you realize that if we lose to the Cowboys, we will have lost to every playoff-bound team we played this year? Not sure what that will mean in the playoffs, but I don't like it.

- Chris

 

What that means is that the Eagles lost to New Orleans without their starting quarterback, to San Diego (the hottest team the second half of the season), and to their biggest rival twice.

The playoffs are about momentum. The Eagles have a bunch at the moment. New Orleans and Minnesota, not so much. If you want, play the what-if game - the Bears beat the Vikings, the Eagles beat the Bears, therefore the Eagles would beat the Vikings. But you'll drive yourself crazy.

There was an interesting stat posted recently that said Andy Reid's record against the Cowboys in the first game is about .500 or so, but 8-2 in the second game of the season. That looks good for this Sunday.

- KL

 

Actually, Reid is 6-4 in the first game against the Cowboys. One of those two second-game losses came during his rookie season in 1999. The other was in 2005, the year T.O. blew up the team. So yes, that's something to hang on to for Sunday.

I'm not one to care what a coach is like in a news conference after a game. That being said, is it me or has Andy been a lot more relaxed and informative after the last couple of games?

- Bill

 

A six-game winning streak tends to do that, even to the big guy.

Contact columnist Ashley Fox at 215-854-5064 or afox@phillynews.com.