Eagles vs Dallas is biggest game of Wentz's career

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Make no mistake about it and don’t even try to dispute it — this upcoming Eagles’ game next Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys is without question the biggest game of Carson Wentz’s career thus far. There might not even be a close second. 

Lose to the Cowboys for the 5th game in a row and the Eagles’ season is over. 

Win and the Eagles’ playoff chances are not only alive, but Wentz is likely heading to the postseason for the first time in his career. 

The stage, the stakes and the setting is the perfect combination of obvious, exciting and horrifying at the same time. 

It is obvious this is the biggest game of Wentz’s career for multiple reasons. The simple reason is what is at stake. It is essentially a playoff game. It is also a game against Dak Prescott, a quarterback that has not only beat him in almost every game that has mattered in their careers, but also the quarterback that Wentz will be compared to as long as they are in the same division. How this game goes next Sunday will play a big role in deciding how Wentz is discussed all offseason. 

Those reasons are also what makes it exciting. Wentz has not played in a meaningful game this late in the season at any point in his career. In 2016 the team didn’t really compete for a playoff spot. In 2017, he season ended in Week 14 against the Los Angeles Rams and he never really played and finished a game that had big-time playoff implications. In 2018, he didn’t play after Week 14 either, and as a result was not on the field as the Eagles made a playoff push. 

The Eagles drafted Wentz for games like this one, and Wentz will likely tell you he plays the game for stages like this one as well. Win or lose, Wentz will be better for experiencing what he will go through next Sunday, and that should be exciting for fans, the team and Wentz.

It should also, however, be a bit horrifying. 

The reality is that the few big games Wentz has played in haven’t gone so well. He lost a similar, but not quite as important, game at Dallas last season in Week 13. He was terrible for most of the game. This season, early on with a chance to take a lead in the NFC East, Wentz got throughly outplayed by Prescott in a blowout loss. He was terrible for the whole game in that one. Simply put, Wentz’s track record when it comes to needing to beat the Cowboys is not great. 

The good news is that Wentz seems more prepared than ever to finally come away with a big win over the Cowboys. 

His play over the last two weeks, and really the last two months, has not been great. In back-to-back weeks, however, Wentz has put the team on his back when they needed to be carried to a win. He lead the team on a game-tying and game-winning drive against the Giants. On Sunday he went 7-for-7 on the game-winning drive and lofted a perfect pass to Greg Ward for the game-sealing touchdown. What was impressive about his latest game-winning drive was how easy he made it look (something coaches wishes he could do all game). 

The Eagles will need to play better to even give Wentz a chance for a fourth-quarter drive to win the game. If the game is close, however, for the first time in perhaps his entire career Wentz has shown he should be trusted to get the job done. 

Will there be bigger games for Wentz in his career? The team is sure hoping so, and if he wins next week, there definitely will be. Although next week won’t define Wentz’s career, it will go a long way in defining it up to this point. 

Lose, and the questions will remain about his ability to not only win big games, but to be a quarterback the Eagles can win with consistently. Lose big, and those wins over the terrible Giants and Redskins won’t look as great. 

Win? If he can do that, Wentz will not only have the signature victory of his career, but a division title — and a trip to the playoffs to go with it. 

You can follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!