Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Cowboys next opponent. This weekend, that opponent is the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Opponent: The Philadelphia Eagles, aka Andy Reid Doesn’t Know What He’s Doing, aka Michael Vick and the Wilddog formation.
Record: 11-4, 1st in NFC East.
The Line: Cowboys by 3.
Last Game: A tight 30-27 win over Denver in which the Eagles blew a 27-10 second half lead. The Eagles have now won six in-a-row and, thanks to the Vikings late-season slide, are now the NFC’s #2 seed. They can win both the division and a first round bye with a win over Dallas. The Cowboys can ALSO clinch a first round bye if they win on Sunday, provided Arizona and Minnesota both lose. It’s not as far-fetched as you might think. If Dallas wins AND Arizona wins, then the Eagles come back to Big D next week and we do it all over again. I think. I’m pretty sure. These two could also tussle again a week from now in Philly instead of Dallas. It’s all very complicated. I need Excedrin.
The Coach: Andy Reid. If you recall, last time around the Cowboys were beneficiaries of a patented Andy Reid brain fart when the Eagles coach opted to kick a field goal to make the game 20-16 with four minutes and no timeouts left. The Eagles never got the ball back after that. Andy Reid is a moron.
The Offense: Between these two teams, Philly boasts the more consistent offense. During their winning streak, they have scored 24 or more points every time. Jeremy Maclin is coming into his own, and even Michael Vick has proved useful of late. The Cowboys can’t afford to have a listless offensive performance.
The Defense: You know the deal. They blitz a lot. Trent Cole is a beast, and Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel love to jump every route to make picks. Both corners can be beaten deep if you get them to bite. That requires precise route-running, so perhaps Roy Williams should sit this one out.
Key Matchup: Mike Jenkins vs. Desean Jackson. Jackson has been balling out of his mind of late, and Denver found out that trying to take him out of the game comes at the expense of letting people like Celek and Maclin roam free across the field. That’s why Jenkins has to handle Jackson on his own if the Cowboys want to win on Sunday. If he can do that, and force McNabb into one of his chuck-the-ball-at-the-ground days, then the Cowboys could enter the playoffs as possibly the best team in the NFC.