Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys - Wild Card Game Preview ✭
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Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys – Wild Card Game Preview

Dallas Cowboys

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys – Wild Card Game Preview

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Where: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX
When: January 9, 2010, 7:00 PM on NBC

This is it – the matchup of the weekend.  There is nothing left, you win or go home.  The Cowboys are all too familiar with going home, having not won a playoff matchup since the 1996 season.  Last week the Cowboys displayed dominance over this Philadelphia Eagles team in Dallas, getting their second straight shutout this season.

You can expect the Eagles to bring everything they have – as Tony Romo said, “Every blitz in the book.”  They are the masters of blitzing and their schemes are disguised brilliantly.  This game won’t be a shut out, it should be a blood bath.  We’re talking old school NFC East rivalries at their best, the winner is likely to have the Super Bowl in their grasp.

Fans or not, if this game isn’t in your plans for Saturday night, I doubt you really enjoy football.  Tough D, Play making offenses – Are you ready for some football?


How They Stack Up
11-5 Record 11-5
6-2 Home 6-2
5-3 Road 5-3
4-2 Division 4-2
429 Total Points 363
21.1 Avg Points Allowed 15.6
26.8 Avg Points Per Game 22.7
5726 Total Offense 6390
4098 Pass Yards 4287
1637 Rush Yards 2103
47 TD 43
44 Sacks 42
Lost 1 Streak Won 3
2nd, NFC East – #6 Seed NFC Position 1st, NFC East – #3 Seed NFC


Eagles
(11-5)
Key Matchups

Cowboys
(11-5)
Dallas Defensive Line (3-4)

DE

DT

DE

The Dallas Cowboys come into this matchup with a defensive line that has helped attain 38 sacks this season, while limiting teams to a rushing yards per game average of 94.1 – good for 5th in the league. This unit is highlighted by Pro Bowl Defensive Tackle Jay Ratliff who had 2 sacks against the Redskins last week.

Opposing the Cowboys in the trenches is a tough offensive line for the Philadelphia Eagles. This line has allowed 34 sacks this season and is responsible for the play of Donovan McNabb. If this line wasn’t good, DeSean Jackson wouldn’t be so dominant. The Eagles rank 21st in rushing offense, and have lost their starting center for the remainder of the season.

Advantage: Draw

Philadelphia Offensive Line

LT

LG

C

RG

RT


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Dallas Offensive Line

RT

RG

C

LG

LT

The Dallas Cowboys have one of the largest offensive lines in the league. They lead the way for the leagues 8th best rush offense. They have gotten better lately in protecting Tony Romo but still have obvious weaknesses and that mostly lies at Left Tackle where Flozell Adams isn’t always reliable.

Trent Cole is an animal and will be able to beat Adams from time to time, match that with the improved play of Defensive Tackles Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson and you have a formula for the leagues 8th best rush defense. The real story will lie with the pass rush, the Cowboys have allowed 32 sacks this season, and Tony doesn’t like feeling pressured.

Advantage: Draw

Philadelphia Defensive Line (4-3)

DE

DT

DT

DE


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Dallas Wide Receivers

WR

WR

WR

WR

WR

I’m really struggling with analyzing this matchup. On one hand Miles Austin, Kevin Ogletree, and Crayton have been spot on. Austin is someone you have to account for on every play and even when you do, you still might get burned. Whereas Ogletree and Crayton have offered great plays when they are called upon, they are not called upon as often as Austin. On the other hand, Roy Williams can’t hold onto the ball and Sam Hurd, while good, has been dropping some as well in his limited playing time. Roy says he’s going to get back to basics, but only time will tell if it helps.

Philly offers a decent, not stellar, pass defense that ranks in the middle of the league. There is only one man that really jumps out at me as a game changer and, unfortunately, he’s a big game changer. Asante Samuel is a tough DB to face, he’s a pick 6 threat all day long. This matchup will shape the game.

Advantage: Draw

Philadelphia Defensive Backs

DB

DB

FS

DB

DB


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Dallas Defensive Backs

DB

DB

FS

DB

DB

The Dallas Defense has been stepping up huge lately and may possibly be one of the best defenses in the NFL right now. We’ve seen that they’ve improved many of their flaws but the deep game remains to be seen. Jenkins and Hamlin have been locking down their side of the field, but my biggest concern is Terence Newman. Despite his All Pro repuation, he hasn’t been playing at the level he’s capable of. Not to say he’s not good, because he is, but he needs to lock down his side of the field this week to keep us in this.

Philly’s wide receivers are among the most dynamic in the league. From DeSean to Maclin to Avant you can believe that these receivers can break any game wide open. With their deep threat capability, Brent Celek is given a lot of chances to make short gains. This is a versatile passing game that is almost impossible to control. Our only hope is fundamental containment … maybe that will work.

Advantage: Philadelphia

Philadelphia Wide Receivers

WR

WR

WR

WR

WR


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Dallas Running Backs & Tight Ends

RB

RB

RB

FB

TE

TE

TE

The Cowboys have one of the most impressive running back rotations in the league. Combine that with Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett and even John Phillips and you have yourself a pretty amazing core. Jason Witten is going to tear through Philly’s mediocre front 7 and it’s going to be an all day combination with Tony Romo. Felix will dash, Barber will Smash, and Tash will run that wildcat to perfection, allowing plenty of offensive balance.

This Eagles unit to me is mediocre. Will Witherspoon is talented, but Trotter has lost a step and besides those two the unit as a whole is young. Inexperience will hurt these guys and they will not be able to contain the Cowboys balanced offensive attack.

Advantage: Dallas

Philadelphia Linebackers

OLB

LB

OLB

SS

MLB

MLB

OLB


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Dallas Linebackers

OLB

OLB

MLB

SS

MLB

LB

LB

If you’re a football fan, names like Brooking, Ware, and Bradie James should keep you listening. This linebacker team is the core behind the re-emergence of the Dallas D. Ware and Spencer seem to be almost unblockable while Brooking and James have been wreaking havoc on running backs and tight ends. Most experts would consider this a top 5 unit and it’s going to be hard to break through.

Westbrook is dangerous when healthy and McCoy has potential. However, neither of these two are going to make a difference in this game. Philly has a secret weapon in the run game and that is their fullback, Leonard Weaver. Weaver can run, catch, and block and it’s just plain difficult to gameplan for a fullback with that potential mixed with dangerous running backs. I’m originally from Philly and my father is a die-hard Eagles fan and he repeatedly tells me that Weaver is the difference maker and I believe him.

Advantage: Dallas

Philadelphia Runnings Backs & Tight Ends

RB

RB

RB

FB

TE


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Players To Watch
LeSean McCoy
LeSean McCoy

HB LeSean McCoy

Since last weeks gameplan of complex aerial attacks didn’t seem to work against the stingy Dallas Defense, I expect the Eagles will try a gameplan that will involve controlling the clock and game.  Brian Westbrook proved ineffective in the last meeting, and LeSean McCoy is young and talented enough to be what the Eagles need in a HB.


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QB Tony Romo

It will once again be Tony Romo who wins this game.  Tony played brilliantly again last week.  He has evolved into one of the leagues most elite game managers.  If Jason Garrett can keep him prepared for a complex Eagles defense, Tony will be patient enough to pick this defense apart once again.

Tony Romo
Tony Romo


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DeSean Jackson
DeSean Jackson

WR DeSean Jackson

After being shut down by Mike Jenkins and Company, Jackson has been talking a lot of trash via twitter.  He’ll be looking to smoke the competition and bring in a big win for Philly.  He’ll be dangerous and the Eagles might be using him on more short yardage plays, so it’ll be up to the likes of James and Brooking to keep an eye on that.


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The Dallas Cowboys Crowd

Not really players to watch, but the Cowboys Fans are known as being soft and have never created such an energy that has intimidated other teams.  The noise and excitement from the crowd will impact the Cowboys as a team, so if they are loud and supportive, expect the Cowboys to meet their energy.

 

Key Injuries


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WR Reggie Brown – Shoulder
(Full Participation)

C Nick Cole – Knee
(Full Participation)

S Quintin Demps – Ankle
(Full Participation)

WR Jeremy Maclin – Foot
(Full Participation)

QB Micheal Vick – Quadricep
(Full Participation)

T Marc Colombo – Ankle
(Out)

S Pat Watkins – Knee
(Out)

WR Miles Austin – Thumb
(Full Participation)

CB Terence Newman – Knee
(Full Participation)

S Gerald Sensabaugh – Thumb
(Full Participation)

LB DeMarcus Ware – Wrist
(Full Participation)

Winner

I’m not straying far from my decision last week.  I believe the Cowboys play an impressive game, I’m going to give them the edge but only because they are at home.  I think the Cowboys could definitely lose this game.  Even if they do, don’t count it as a lost season.  This is a young team that will be competitive for years to come.

Dallas 21 Philly 17


Keys To The Game

  • Cover 2 – Having 2 safety’s clouding the top worked perfectly and I expect the Cowboys to keep that strategy up.  Despite giving Celek the middle all day, the Boy’s were able to contain most large pass plays.  It’s important to not give up on whats working.
  • Stuff the Run – We want a recap of last weeks gameplan.  So basically we have to stop the Eagles from achieving dominance on the ground.  This will shut down McNabb’s play action and make them one dimensional.
  • Pressure – Pressure McNabb all day.  Make him unsure and untrusting of the capability of his offensive line and the game will become pretty easy.
  • Stay balanced – Jason Garrett called a great game last week.  His balance of inside runs, toss’s, play action passes, and screens has kept a young Eagles D confused.  Not much will have to change here, just keep it effective.

Some Other Reading

Cowboy’s VS. Eagles! Take 3

NFL.COM analyzes this matchup.

Former Sports Writer. Veteran. Serving veterans is my passion. Johns Hopkins Student. Enjoy Discussing Politics and sports!

2 Comments
  • Mark G

    Great piece because it is analytical and well thought out; however, I believe the Cowboys enjoy an edge on the offensive and defensive fronts. They have won both games in the series this year because of this edge and it is the reason they should win this weekend.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/dcnation Bryson Treece

    I agree Mark. Tony Romo had tons of time to find an open target last week, even when the Eagles did send more than 4 at him. Granted they didn't do that enough to have a chance to stop the Cowboys, but I don't think it's going to change any.

    Marc Colombo coming back in and getting the start will make a difference. Doug Free has done very well in his place, but Colombo brings a certain attitude, a nasty meanness, that can change the way that line plays.

    As for our Dline, considering Cole at center for Philly, that's just a mismatch in skill and experience. This is going to be a good game.

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