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Bears, Cowboys give control of NFC East to Eagles

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The Philadelphia Eagles did the Chicago Bears a favor by beating the Detroit Lions on Dec. 8. On Dec. 9, the Eagles hoped the Bears would return the gift by beating the Dallas Cowboys, which would even up the NFC North and give the Birds control of the NFC East. Thanks to Josh McCown and his receivers, plus a lack of Dallas defense, Chicago gave Philadelphia exactly what it wanted in a 45-28 victory.

The Cowboys didn't force a single Bears punt in their latest defensive collapse. Despite Chicago still playing without Jay Cutler, and despite being knocked off last week by the Minnesota Vikings -- Philadelphia's next opponent -- McCown still had it easy with four different players catching touchdown passes.

A highlight reel catch in the back of the end zone by Alshon Jeffery closed the half and gave the Bears a 24-14 lead. With former Super Bowl winning coach Mike Ditka honored at halftime, Soldier Field was rocking, and the freezing temperatures didn't help Dallas either. Tony Romo was held to 104 passing yards -- numbers even worse than Nick Foles had in a blizzard on Dec. 8.

Yet while Foles had LeSean McCoy getting hot for him at the end against the Lions, Romo had no such support. Even if he did, the Cowboys' defense would have just thrown away any momentum. It makes it all the more remarkable that the Eagles scored only three points on the Cowboys on Oct. 20 -- which is the only reason why Philadelphia hasn't won the NFC East already.

As it stands, the Eagles have sole possession of the NFC East lead for the first time at 8-5, while the Cowboys are at 7-6. With Dallas next facing a Green Bay Packers team back in contention in the NFC North, and the Eagles visiting the 3-9-1 Vikings, Dec. 15 might be an even bigger day for Philadelphia.

The assumption was that the Eagles-Cowboys finale on Dec. 29 would be a divisional championship game. Yet now, Philadelphia can start dreaming about wrapping up the NFC East before that day. Ironically, the Bears themselves could derail that dream on Dec. 22 in Philadelphia, after already doing a good enough job derailing Dallas.

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