ON THE DOCKET

Eagles at Cowboys

Dec. 24, 4:15 p.m. (Channel 29)

The Eagles could be playing out the string, miles from home on Christmas Eve, or could still be breathing in the NFC East race and maybe even the wild-card race.

The odds are stacked against this being a meaningful game for the Eagles, but it's still the Eagles-Cowboys. No matter the records, it's a big game for Philly fans.

BIRD TRENDS

* First things first: Heard on the radio yesterday that the Eagles can be eliminated from playoff contention before they take the field at 4:15 Sunday against the Jets. Not true. Yes, if the Cowboys and Giants both win, the Eagles can't win the NFC East, by far their most realistic playoff scenario. But with Detroit also not playing until 4:15, the Birds can't technically be eliminated from the wild card. If Dallas, the Giants and Detroit all win, the Eagles would be eliminated, even if they beat the Jets. I think. And don't ask what happens in games ending in ties. I'm referring those queries to Donovan McNabb.

* Defensive end Darryl Tapp (ribs) didn't practice all week and is doubtful. Look for Brandon Graham or Juqua Parker there. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said his hamstring is much better than it was for the Miami game, in which he looked, well, hamstrung. "It's a complete difference," Maclin said. "I thought I felt pretty good last week, but now you can actually see it on film and stuff like that. I practiced full-go today, so I'm ready to go."

* Michael Vick did not want to discuss the reasons for the Eagles' 1-5 home record this season. "It's all about what we do in the future," he said. Vick couldn't say that he will be less hindered by his sore ribs than he was at Miami, though he of course hopes that will be the case.

* Trent Cole was asked what he knows about Jets tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, his matchup this weekend: "They paid him," Cole said. Ferguson signed a reported 6-year, $60 million contract in 2010.

* This means absolutely nothing, but it's a funny coincidence - the Eagles' two secondary coaches, Johnny Lynn and Mike Zordich, both played in the Jets' defensive backfield.

* Jets have the second-best third-down defense in the NFL, allowing a 30.4 percent conversion rate.

* Yes, the Eagles are 8-0 all-time vs. the Jets, but the most recent meeting came on Oct. 14, 2007.

- Les Bowen