The last time the Sixers played Boston, the Celtics were winless after two games and simply looking for a spark to jump-start the season.

Who knew that beating the Sixers would be a lightning bolt from Zeus that super-charged a green Lamborghini? Starting with that game in Philadelphia, the C's won 16 straight.

When the Sixers play in Boston at 7:30 tonight (TV: NBCSP and NBATV; radio: 97.5 The Fanatic), the Celtics (18-4) will bring in the league's best record. They are, however, just 2-2 in their last four games, and a loss to the Sixers would give them their first two-game losing streak since the beginning of the season.

Just in case you are wondering, that was written with tongue in cheek. The Celtics are legitimate as a top contender for the NBA title.

General manager Danny Ainge took a chance in dismantling an Eastern Conference finalist by trading for point guard Kyrie Irving, and so far, it has produced tremendous results. Irving has played like an MVP candidate by pulling together a squad that lost a key performer (Gordon Hayward) minutes into the season.

In one of those invented geek statistics, Irving ranks eighth in NBA real plus-minus, which measures a player's on-court impact on his team's performance.

Not to take away from Irving's brilliance, but Robert Covington ranks fourth overall, far ahead of Sixers teammates Joel Embiid (16th) and Ben Simmons (22nd).

Dallas defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (90) sacks Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) in the third quarter Oct. 29. The teams will meet again tonight.
TNS
Dallas defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (90) sacks Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) in the third quarter Oct. 29. The teams will meet again tonight.

Hate Washington less when it plays Dallas

Typically, it comes down to what will most benefit the Eagles when thinking about whom to hate the least when NFC East rivals Dallas, New York and Washington play each other.

For me, it's easy. I grew up a fan of the old Baltimore Colts, and my second favorite team was always the one playing Washington.

Relying on my two-plus decades observing Philadelphia fans, I'd say the majority feels the same about Dallas, which makes the rooting interest easy when the Cowboys play Washington at 8:20 tonight on NBC.

If Dallas loses, the Eagles will clinch the NFC East without having to do anything on the field.

That the Birds could seal a division title and a playoff berth with five games remaining would say something tremendous about the program that second-year coach Doug Pederson is building.

With the Eagles in mind, I say, ugh, "Go Washington!"

Eagles special teams captain Chris Maragos celebrates a tackle against the Cardinals on Oct. 8.
CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer
Eagles special teams captain Chris Maragos celebrates a tackle against the Cardinals on Oct. 8.

What I’m reading

The Eagles have done a good job recovering from injuries to key players, but staff writer Paul Domowitch says losing special teams captain Chris Maragos has been difficult to overcome.

Staff writer Les Bowen says that Seattle coach Pete Carroll wasn't just speaking "coach speak" when he praised the Eagles and Carson Wentz.

Columnist Bob Ford writes that the Flyers' displaying patience as coach Dave Hakstol watches his team's season spin down the drain goes against tradition.

Staff writer Jeff McLane breaks down the film of how Carson Wentz has been so successful in the red zone.

Most Eagles fans obviously would disagree, but it's still the right of Seattle Times columnist Matt Calkins to explain why Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson should be MVP of the NFL.

Former agent Joel Corry lists his most underpaid NFL players in 2017 based on contributions vs. paycheck. Among those on the list are New England quarterback Tom Brady and three Eagles, including defensive end Brandon Graham.

Herm Edwards, here coaching the Chiefs in 2008.
David Zalubowski / AP
Herm Edwards, here coaching the Chiefs in 2008.

The riff

Herm Edwards will stay in Eagles lore as the player who scored the touchdown in "The Miracle in the Meadowlands," and his stints as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets speak to his credentials as a coach.

Still, Arizona State is out of touch with reality if it believes a 63-year-old who has been a studio analyst for ESPN since 2009 can turn around its program. Reports are that Edwards' hiring is all but a done deal.

Just as most college coaches can't make the successful jump to the NFL, pro coaches with limited collegiate experience have not wowed when going to college. The rules of the games are different, especially the recruiting aspect that is critical to NCAA success. Edwards has not coached or recruited in college since 1989 at San Jose State.

The kids Edwards will try to recruit to Arizona State know him only as a talking head on ESPN, not as a former NFL player or coach.

Going "very old school" doesn't work in today's college sports.

Today’s schedule

TV/Radio

NFL
Redskins at Cowboys, 8:20 p.m. (NBC10, NFL Network)

NBA
76ers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSP, NBA TV; WPEN-FM 97.5)
Bucks at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)

Men's College Basketball
Seton Hall vs. Texas Tech, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
Notre Dame at Michigan State, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Temple vs. South Carolina, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Missouri at Central Florida, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

Golf on Golf Channel
Hero World Challenge, 12:30 p.m.
European PGA: Mauritius Open, 1:30 a.m., 5:30 a.m. Friday

Boxing
Rey Perez vs. Lamont Roach, super-featherweights, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)

Soccer
MLS playoffs: Houston Dynamo at Seattle Sounders FC, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Auto Racing
NASCAR Monster Energy Cup awards, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)

Women's College Basketball
Wake Forest at Penn State, 7 p.m. (WNTP-AM 990, WNPV-AM 1440)
Ohio State at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

Local Events

Harness Racing
Harrah's Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack, 12:40 p.m., Chester