Daily Archives: October 29th, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: The Great Robbini’s BOLD predictions for Week #8

The GREAT Robbini - The Boys Are Back prediction guru!

The GREAT Robbini - The Boys Are Back prediction guru!

Here are the BOLD predictions from Robert A Knight … Our very own self-proclaimed prediction guru. His newish crystal ball (was on the discount rack at Goodwill) overheated about 6:00 pm last Sunday (from all of the red marks on the game summary)! After storing it in the freezer for 72 hours … The GREAT Robbini has gradually thawed it back to room temperature. He’s been steadily rubbing and chanting, to bring out Dallas Cowboy vibe we all count on from week-to-week. Last week, three of The GREAT Robbini predictions came true. Unfortunately, seven didn’t! After reviewing the postgame stats, a little bit of leniency was granted … bringing last weeks predictions to the 50% ish level.  Rest assured, The GREAT Robbini is never discouraged! He’s back this week … fired up … and Jerry Jones’n for some NFC EAST rival football!

Since The Boys Are Back in Philly, we can expect a rowdy Halloween Eve crowd and a determined wannabe Dream Team fighting for a divisional win! It’ll be America’s Team vs All-Hype Team. Last Sunday the Dallas Cowboys took out their vengeance on the lowly St. Louis Rams … Philly rested up on their bye week.  Time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions … I’m sure you’ll agree … most of these are very BOLD. OK, here we go …

“We might not win all-hype team. That title goes to someone else. We’re gonna beat their ass when we play them.” Mark these words, of the always on fire, Dallas DC Rob Ryan.

The Cowboys fly to PHI on a mission and will display Ryan’s patented 24/7 defense. For those unfamiliar, that’s where the other guys feel what we just did for a WEEK. This is an eye opener kinda game and after this match the Cowboys just might be up for that title Ryan dismissed after all.

The GREAT Robbini

  • Dallas Cowboys have at least 2 takeaways
  • Michael Vick sacked at least 3 times
  • Sean Lee leads in tackles
  • DeMarcus Ware 2 sacks
  • PHI punts 6 or more times
  • Tony Romo at least 2 TD’s
  • TD Diamond Dez Bryant
  • TD Jason Witten
  • Jason Witten has 5 + catches
  • Miles Austin doubles his stats from a week ago (had 2 receptions for 16 yards)
  • Dallas Cowboys gain 85 yards + rushing
  • Dallas Cowboys control clock
  • Game ends in regulation
  • Boys bring in replacement, because of a starter’s injury occurring in this game.
  • Eagles bring in replacement, because of a starter’s injury occurring in this game.
  • NBC crew mispronounces at least 1 Dallas Cowboys’ name

 Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for week #8.

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The Boys Are Back POSTGAME SUMMARY: Check back here after the game for the summary.

RIVAL NEWSPAPER: Birds’ top-ranked rushing game vs ‘Boys top-ranked rushing defense

head2head - Dallas Cowboys run defense vs Philadelphia Eagles run game - The Boys Are Back

head2head - Dallas Cowboys run defense vs Philadelphia Eagles run game - The Boys Are Back

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The pass-happy Eagles find themselves in an unusual position: They lead the  NFL in rushing.

Behind LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick, the Eagles have rushed for 170 yards  per game and 5.7 per carry, both highs during the Andy Reid era.

Their quality on the ground, though, will be tested Sunday against the  Cowboys’ defense, which ranks first in the league in yards per game (allowing  just 69.7 yards per contest) and second in yards per carry (3.3).

“They’re big, strong, physical guys up front. I include the two outside  linebackers in that. And then the two inside linebackers, when they’re in their  base personnel, run around and make plays,” coach Andy Reid said Friday.  “They’re excellent football players. And when their safeties get involved in the  box, their safeties are good tacklers and physical.”

But the Eagles have an excellent player themselves in McCoy, whose 569 yards  rushing rank seventh in the league.

The bigger test might be Reid’s willingness to stick with the run, especially  if McCoy does not get on track early. Against the 49ers, Reid came in with a  pass-heavy game plan and McCoy got only nine carries, even though the Eagles led  most of the game.

“We’re going to run the football. That’s what we do,” Reid said. “We’re not  going to stop running the ball.”

That hasn’t always been the case, but this year the Eagles’ 180 rushing  attempts are more than the team has had through six games in any other year in  the Reid era.

Last season, sticking with the run worked against the Cowboys. In the first  meeting between the teams, in Dallas, McCoy had six runs for just 15 yards in  the first half. He got 10 carries in the second half, though, and turned them  into 134 yards.

Tight end Clay Harbor was a key part of the second-half blocking effort that  night. He noted that this is a different Dallas defense, but one that he  believes can be attacked on the ground.

“You’ve got to pick your spots, obviously,” he said. “Watching film, there  are some plays where they have been run on. There’s some plays out there for  us.”

Other teams, he said, have just failed to stick with the run.

“We have one of the best running backs in the league, and I don’t see why we  won’t try to fit him the ball,” said wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.

McCoy was coy about the game plan.

“Whatever’s rolling for us, we’ll probably stick with that,” he said.

Running, of course, doesn’t always work. McCoy ran 24 times against the  Giants, gaining 128 yards, and the Eagles still lost that game.

And the Eagles have talented wide receivers who also need to be part of the  game plan.

DeSean Jackson memorably burned the Cowboys for 210 receiving yards when the  teams met in Dallas last year. The Eagles starters rested in the second meeting,  the final game of the regular season.

McCoy has had success against Dallas. For his career, he has gained 231 yards  against the Cowboys on 35 carries, a gaudy 6.6 yards-per-carry average.

Will he get a substantial chance to pad those numbers Sunday?

“We’ll find out,” was all he would say.

Courtesy: Jonathan Tamari | Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer | The Boys Are Back blog

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HEAD2HEAD: A look at how the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles match up

Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles head2head - The Boys Are Back

Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles head2head - The Boys Are Back

The Cowboys face the Eagles on Sunday night in Philadelphia. Here is a look at how the two NFC East rivals match up:

When the Cowboys run
As rookie DeMarco Murray ran his way into the record books, rushing for 253 yards against St. Louis last Sunday, he helped revive the Cowboys’ sagging ground game. Murray’s breathtaking performance wowed observers, but made them also wonder if he was capable of repeating it. This week, he will get the chance for an encore against a Philadelphia defense that has surrendered an average of 123.8 rushing yards per game and has allowed 100 or more yards on the ground to three running backs this season. The Eagles’ record in those games? 0-3.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Cowboys pass

Last week, Tony Romo threw only 24 times, accumulating the fewest passing attempts in a game he started and finished since October 2008. But Romo remains the driving force of an offense that ranks fourth in passing yards, averaging 295.8 per game. Expect him to challenge Philadelphia’s star-studded secondary that has underwhelmed so far but has yet to allow a quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards in a game.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Eagles run
While Philadelphia has proven to be a flawed team, its rushing offense has been incredibly proficient. Led by tailback LeSean McCoy, the Eagles produce 170 yards per game on the ground, the highest average in the NFL. They also have a knack for the big play, collecting an NFL-best 40 runs of 10 yards or more. But this week they will face their biggest challenge yet. The Cowboys’ have yielded 69.7 rushing yards per game, the lowest average in the league. And they have done so while shutting down accomplished backs such as Frank Gore, Steven Jackson and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

Edge: Cowboys


When the Eagles pass

Michael Vick has taken a beating this season and his performance has suffered as a result. His passer rating has dipped to 84.4 and he has thrown eight interceptions, the fifth-highest total in the league. The Eagles’ woeful pass protection has been the offense’s greatest weakness. Yet Vick and Eagles’ offensive line won’t get a reprieve this week. The Cowboys, led by blitz-happy defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, have recorded 17 sacks, the eighth-highest total in the NFL.

Edge: Eagles

Special teams
The Eagles took a gamble when they replaced veteran kicker David Akers with rookie Alex Henery. So far it hasn’t paid dividends. Henery has made only 78.6 percent of his field-goal tries and has missed his lone attempt beyond 40 yards. Even worse, his touchback percentage of 37.5 is 24th-best in the NFL. Henery has disappointed along Chas Henry, whose net punting average is ninth-worst in the NFL. Meanwhile, DeSean Jackson, who is averaging 6.4 yards per punt return, has yet to be a threat this year. The Cowboys, on the other hand, continue to receive positive returns from punter Mat McBriar and kicker Dan Bailey, who has made 16 consecutive field goals. Meanwhile, receiver Dez Bryant, who is handling punts once again, has the potential to make an impact each time he touches the ball.

Edge: Cowboys

Intangibles
Since Jason Garrett rejoined the Cowboys as an assistant in 2007, Dallas has gone 3-1 at Lincoln Financial Field and has averaged 19.5 points per game. The Cowboys will try to improve that record against a Philadelphia team that has had two weeks to prepare for Dallas and is 12-0 after bye weeks since 1999. Both clubs know a lot is riding on this game.

Edge: Eagles

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ROSTER MOVE: Tashard Choice says good-bye to Dallas Cowboy fans

Dallas Cowboy Tashard Choice celebrates a TD

Dallas Cowboy running back Tashard Choice (23) celebrates a TD - The Boys Are Back

The Cowboys have parted ways with Tashard Choice, releasing the veteran running back Saturday morning. Dallas needed the roster spot to activate linebacker Bruce Carter from the non-football injury list. Carter, a second-round draft pick who had been rehabbing a knee injury, will make his NFL debut Sunday against the Eagles.

Choice became the odd-man out despite the Cowboys having only two healthy running backs. Felix Jones will miss his second consecutive game with a high left ankle sprain, leaving rookies DeMarco Murray and Phillip Tanner to carry the load against the Eagles.

Choice subluxed his shoulder on a third-quarter fumble against the Rams last week. It was his second fumble in two weeks and likely sealed his fate with the team. He was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday with the shoulder injury before missing practice Friday with a hamstring injury.

The Cowboys will have to reach an injury settlement with Choice if he clears waivers.

Choice tweeted his good-bye: “I just want to say thanks to all the great dallas cowboy fans. My time in Dallas has come to an end and the best is yet come. God bless.”

Choice, who made four starts in four seasons, rushed for 1,139 yards and scored eight touchdowns on 250 carries. His name had been mentioned in trade rumors, and he was in the final year of his contract anyway, so this figured to be his last season in Dallas.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Kosier could slide to Center for a bigger line

Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Hudson Houck - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Hudson Houck - The Boys Are Back blog

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For years, offensive line coaches have said the goal is to get the five best lineman on the field at once, regardless of their most comfortable position.

Cowboys O-line coach Hudson Houck said that back in training camp and as the halfway point of the season approaches, that mindset likely hasn’t changed.

That’s why the return of veteran guard Derrick Dockery, who practiced this week for the first time since suffering a knee/leg injury in Week 2, could lead to a few changes on the line, possibly as early as next week.

With Dockery returning to the lineup, coupled by the play of Montrae Holland, the Cowboys might look to move veteran guard Kyle Kosier inside to center, a position he only practiced the last two seasons but has never played during his 10-year career.

“If they need me to, I will,” said Kosier, who was rather blunt when asked about the challenges of playing center. “Well, you have to snap the ball. It’s not easy to make the calls in loud stadiums, have your head down with a silent count, and snap the ball, too. I respect those guys for doing that.”

That switch would ultimately move Phil Costa out of the starting lineup. Kosier had much respect for the play Costa has done this year in the middle.

“I think Phil has done a great job,” Kosier said. “A young player being put in that position. It’s not easy.”

The Cowboys worked Kosier at center the last two years as a game-day backup and while Andre Gurode never came out of the game, Kosier said there were some close calls.

“He almost did a couple of times,” he said. “I made sure he stayed in.”

This week, it’s likely that Costa will start as Dockery just returned to practice and is expected to back up Holland (left) and Kosier (right) at guard. But when everyone is back to 100 percent, a move could be on the horizon.

DALLAS DEFENSE: Shows depth by rotating corners; keeps them fresh

Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Terence Newman 41

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman

For a team that just had to have Nnamdi Asomugha back in August, the Dallas Cowboys seem to be doing just fine with their cornerback position.

So much so that they spent several plays Sunday against the St. Louis Rams rotating the third and fourth corners into the game on the base defense. There were a handful of plays that saw Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins on the sideline while backups Orlando Scandrick and Alan Ball played on the outside.

It’s just an example of the depth the Dallas Cowboys have displayed at cornerback this year.

“We’ve got depth at a lot of positions like that,” Newman said. “I think this whole team is deep. But (at corner), we’ve got some good talent. Alan Ball has played great for us this year when we’ve had some injuries.”

Newman is right in that Ball has been forced into action, and that started back in training camp when Newman went down with a groin injury and Jenkins suffered a stinger. Then in the regular season opener, Scandrick suffered a high-ankle sprain and missed a month.

Ball played well enough to get a shot on defense, even after the starters have returned.

And while the competition will get much tougher than the Rams, the Dallas Cowboys have already played well in the secondary against the likes of Tom Brady and the Patriots, and for the most part against Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions, although Johnson got the better of the secondary on two costly jump balls.

“I think we’ve played well the last few weeks and really coming together under Rob’s defense,” Newman said of defensive coordinator. “It’s a fun defense to play. And when you have a lot of players like we do to sub in and out, it’s going to keep you fresh for the game and the season.”

As for the Asomugha guy, we’ll get to see him and his Philadelphia Eagles teammates this Sunday night.

The Boys Are Back blog | Dallas Cowboys website

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