On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) will host the division rival Dallas Cowboys (3-3). Kick-off is scheduled for 1:00pm and the game will be televised on FOX.
The Eagles and Cowboys both stand atop the NFC East, a division that has experienced a major decline since last year. With 3-3 records, the Eagles and Cowboys have lacked consistency on both sides of the ball, but have shown glimpses of brilliance as well.
Bragging rights are up for grabs in this one, as the Eagles aim to improve their division record to 3-0. However, bragging rights may come secondary to players and fans in this matchup, given the probability of a division record being the determining factor late in the season of who plays in January and who does not.
Nick Foles is coming off of a magnificent performance that earned him NFC Player of the Week honors. Foles channeled his inner Michael Vick, opening up Sunday’s scoring at Raymond James Stadium with a 4-yard touchdown run. Foles then showed off his arm strength, which during his college days consistently had the ‘Zona Zoo on their feet and rowdy. He connected with Riley Cooper for a 47-yard touchdown and Desean Jackson twice, once for a 12-yard touchdown and again for a 36-yard score.
Foles performance was, without a doubt, a confidence booster for the Eagles’ coaching staff. However, as much as Chip Kelly wants to claim that having two starting quarterbacks on his roster is convenient, in all reality it makes for one very tough decision come Sunday.
It is likely that we will see Foles on the field, because Vick still is not 100% healthy and a hamstring injury is not one to be taken lightly. Nonetheless, it is difficult to replace a quarterback who ranks 13th among quarterbacks in passer rating, like Michael Vick does. However, another player of the week type of performance turned in by Foles will surely have Philly fans in a world of debate. Chip Kelly will eventually be forced to put those arguments to rest with a final verdict that may not please everybody in the city of brotherly love.
Foles lost to the Cowboys at home in their last meeting after giving up a 17-10 lead in the third quarter. Tony Romo threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns.
Romo is having one of his best seasons yet. His 14 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions ratio is among the best in the league. A lot of the Cowboys’ success offensively depends on Romo’s ability to take care of the ball. Romo has proven thus far in the season to have a better approach to the game, one that does not involve mental errors resulting in a loss of possession.
The Eagles’ secondary is vulnerable against physical specimens like Dez Bryant. Look for Bryant to have a field day, both in the deep and mid range passing game.
Trustworthy veteran Jason Witten can also be counted on to be in the mix, especially down in the red zone where the Knoxville native thrives just as much as any tight end in the league.
Witten’s availability as a pass catcher in the red zone is crucial to the Cowboys’ offensive success, However, Witten may need to stay in to block more than usual this Sunday. DeMarco Murray sprained his MCL against Washington last week. So, a running back by committee type of backfield is going to be implemented with rookie Joseph Randle and undrafted third year standout Phillip Tanner splitting the carries.
The two inexperienced halfbacks are going to be attempting to get past a run stopping group of linebackers led by DeMeco Ryans, who looked like superman against the Bucs with 12 tackles.
Whichever quarterback is presented to the Cowboys’ defense on Sunday should not matter to the Cowboys. The Dallas defense looked impressive against the mobile RGIII on Sunday night, not allowing him to get loose and hurt them on the ground. However, while the Cowboys are above average in the NFL against the run, ranking 14th in yards allowed per game, they will be facing the league’s best rusher at the moment, LeSean McCoy.
McCoy spoke highly about a certain teammate following the Eagles’ victory over the Bucs on Sunday. That teammate was Riley Cooper.
Cooper endured a world of hate directed towards him in the offseason after some racial slurs spoken by Cooper were caught on tape. Cooper has since made a countless number of both public and private apologies to his teammates, the Eagles organization, and anyone who may have been offended by his remarks.
Riley Cooper had arguably the greatest game of his career against the Bucs; catching 4 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. What is worth watching is how Cooper follows up his week 6 performance.
The Bucs were caught off guard by Cooper’s speed and ability to get past the second and third line of the defenders. Cooper’s talent will not surprise the Cowboys this week. If Cooper can repeat anything close to what he did in week 6, the Eagles will be one step closer to forgetting about the loss of Jeremy Maclin, and will have one more dependable playmaker to add to an offense that is already full of them.
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