The Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys looked like juggernauts in the NFC at different points in the 2023 season. They jostled for position atop the NFC East all season long and were considered by many to be Super Bowl contenders.
But, in the second half of the season, the Eagles fell apart as they were unable to replicate their success from last season. The defensive production slipped and the offense went into a tailspin as nothing worked beyond their tush push.
That late-season swoon enabled the Cowboys to swoop in and take the NFC East crown, earning the No. 2 seed in the conference in the process. That gave them a home game during Super Wild Card Weekend against the No. 7 seed Green Bay Packers, while the Eagles went on the road to face the NFC South champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Both teams were favorites in their game, with Dallas being 7.5 points and Philadelphia being 2.5 or 3 depending on the book. Oddsmakers were confident that they would advance, but their opponents had different ideas.
The Eagles and Cowboys were both embarrassed in their games, suffering two of the largest defeats. Philadelphia lost 32-9 while Dallas was dismantled 48-32. Only the Cleveland Browns, who lost 45-14, suffered a more lopsided defeat.
In the process, the NFC East rivals will not join the history books for something they do not want to be attached to. According to Rich Eisen, this is only the fifth time in NFL history a division sent multiple teams to the playoffs to not have either team hold a lead and be one-and-done.
The last time it happened? It was 2021 when it was the Eagles and Cowboys who did it in losses to the Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers, respectively. Just like this season, Philadelphia was on the road and Dallas was at home for those losses.
That is certainly not the kind of history these teams wanted to repeat. But, throughout the season, signs were there that they were not capable of showing up when they needed to the most.
That has resulted in ugly finishes to the 2023 season for the Eagles and Cowboys, who are both starting their offseasons earlier than they had anticipated.