Cowboys vs. Eagles Preview

Posted: October 26, 2011 in Dallas Cowboys, NFL

By Chris Bates

    This week’s Cowboys vs. Eagles game will go a long way in deciding who will win the division title.  Dallas comes in at 3-3 just 1 game behind the Giants for 1st place in the NFC East and Philadelphia comes in at 2-4 in last place in the NFC East.  The Eagles had a bye last week and have had 2 weeks to prepare for the Cowboys.  Philadelphia has won 12 consecutive games after their bye week.  The Eagles have the 2nd longest losing streak in the NFL at home, losing 5 home games in a row dating back to last season.  The longest streak is 7 straight home losses by the Dolphins.

Keys to the Game

       The bye week could not have come at a better time for the Eagles.  It gave them a chance to rest up and get healthy.  This is especially true for quarterback Michael Vick who has been dealing with injuries all season.  For the Eagles, their keys include being able to establish the ground game early.  Dallas is #1 versus the run this season but they have not faced a running back to the caliber of LeSean McCoy yet. Philadelphia is the #1 rushing team in the NFL and Dallas is the #1 rushing defense in the NFL so something has to give. If the Eagles can establish the run game, that makes things easier for Mike Vick and his receiving corps.  Vick has not been the quarterback he was last year when he threw for 21 touchdowns and just 9 interceptions.  So far this season, he has 9 touchdowns and 8 interceptions but has yet to be fully healthy in a game.  DeSean Jackson is a player the Cowboys must watch out for, he hasn’t had a very good season(456 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns) but the Cowboys know what he is capable of.  On defense, the Eagles must contain DeMarco Murray who had a career game last week against the Rams.  Philadelphia ranks 23rd versus the run.  Putting Dallas in 3rd and long situations benefits the Eagles to do what they do best which is to blitz.   Quarterback Tony Romo has been know in the past to get rid of the football before he wants to resulting in interceptions after feeling the pressure.  The Eagles must find a way to pressure Romo.

        For the Cowboys, putting pressure on Vick is essential to stopping the Eagles.  If Vick is able to escape from would-be tackles and keep the play alive then it could be a long day for the Dallas secondary.  Cornerbacks and safeties can only hold their coverage for so long before it breaks down, this is what Vick gives you in terms of an additional weapon on offense.  Dallas must make open field tackles.  Philadelphia is one of the best teams in the NFL in making people miss.  The Cowboys must stay balanced on offense such as they did in the Rams game.  Establishing the run with DeMarco Murray will make the game a lot easier for Tony Romo.  The Cowboys have the weapons on offense to give the Eagles fits on defense.  Being able to pass and run block effectively is a big key to the game.  The Eagles linebackers are too slow to cover Jason Witten, he should be open all day in the middle of the field.  Jason Garrett called 10 more running plays than passing plays against the Rams (34 to 24).  In order to win this game, he must have a little more balance on offense.

Prediction

      Dallas has won their last 2 games in Philadelphia and has an opportunity to move into a tie for 1st place with the Giants if New York loses to the winless Dolphins.  This is a very crucial game for both teams, an Eagles loss makes it hard for them to make a playoff push, and a Cowboys win puts them in contention for the NFC East crown.  Andy Reid is brilliant coming off of bye weeks and the Eagles should be fully rested giving a matchup of 2 rivals that are both healthy for the most part.  I see this game as being an instant classic, scoring will go back and forth with big plays on both sides taking place.  In the end, I believe the Cowboys end the Eagles 12 consecutive wins off of byes streak and extend their home losing streak to 6 games.  If the Cowboys play their game and all 4 quarters they should come out on top.

Final Score: DAL 30 PHI 27.

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