EDITORS NOTE: This post relates the 2012 matchup between the Cowboys and Eagles. The new NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES article will be posted on 12-29-2013, approximately two hours before kickoff. Click HERE to view it. Enjoy the game!
The Cowboys and Eagles have a lot in common. Their offenses can move the ball but struggle to score points. They both have committed turnovers at a high rate. And each team has been woeful in the red zone. Oh, there is one more thing: They are both 3-5 and find themselves in the same precarious position halfway through the season. The team that loses Sunday’s showdown at Lincoln Financial Field will have its playoff hopes virtually extinguished. Here is a look at how the Cowboys and Eagles match up:
When the Cowboys run
Only once this season has a Cowboys player rushed for 100 or more yards in a game. That occurred in the opener, when DeMarco Murray gained 131 yards in a surprising victory over the Giants. Following that impressive debut, Murray’s productivity began to decline before he suffered a sprained left foot that caused him to miss the last three games. With Murray not available to play again this Sunday, the Cowboys’ ground attack remains suspect. Philadelphia is allowing an average of 4.23 yards per carry. But can Dallas take advantage of the Eagles’ vulnerable run defense?
When the Cowboys pass
Last Sunday, Tony Romo enjoyed perhaps his best performance since the season opener. Against the Falcons, he threw for 321 yards, posted a quarterback rating of 109.3 and seemed to operate at his best when he was making the calls in a hurry-up, no-huddle mode. This week Romo should be able to attack a Philadelphia defense that has struggled to generate pressure and has been exposed in the secondary. This season the Eagles have collected only 11 sacks and allowed 229.4 yards per game through the air – the 15th-lowest average in the NFL.
When the Eagles run
Last season, Philadelphia scored the second-most rushing touchdowns in the NFL. This season, only three teams have produced fewer than the Eagles. An offensive line in tatters has contributed to the downturn in the ground attack’s output. Still, LeSean McCoy has accumulated 623 rushing yards, the tenth-highest total in the league entering Week 10. And the Cowboys’ run defense sans linebacker Sean Lee has looked susceptible. Dallas surrendered 123 yards on the ground to the Falcons last week.
When the Eagles pass
Michael Vick’s season has been a forgettable one thus far. He has thrown nine interceptions, has a quarterback rating of 77.7, and has been sacked 27 times. Philadelphia is still averaging 243.3 yards through the air per game but only Jacksonville has scored fewer points than the Eagles have this season. The Cowboys’ pass defense, which stymied Giants quarterback Eli Manning but struggled to limit the Falcons’ Matt Ryan, has conceded 205.5 yards per game – the fifth-lowest average in the NFL.
This season, Philadelphia has allowed four kickoff returns of 40 or more yards. The Cowboys have produced only one of that distance or greater. Recently, however, Lance Dunbar has given Dallas a jolt on kickoffs. Dwayne Harris has done the same on punts. Against the Falcons, each player had a return that exceeded 35 yards. That’s been a positive development for the Cowboys. On the other side, Philadelphia kicker Alex Henery has made all but one of his 15 field-goal attempts this season.
Last season, when both teams finished with identical records, the Eagles dominated the Cowboys, outscoring Dallas 54-14 in two games. This year, both teams find themselves in a similar position again. They’re 3-5 and desperately trying to save themselves from quick extinction. This has all the makings of a taut, tense affair. And those games usually favor the home team.
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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles postgame coverage
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