Frank Heinz, NBCDFW.com
Every week during the postseason, we’ll scout out the Cowboys next playoff opponent. This weekend, that opponent is the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Opponent: The Philadelphia Eagles. What? Again? Didn’t we just play these people? Talk about familiarity breeding contempt.
Record: 11-5, 2nd in NFC East.
The Line: Cowboys by 4. Last week, the Cowboys were favored by 3 over the Eagles. So the 24-0 playoff win only influenced the line by a single point. BILL SIMMONS SAY VEGAS DOESN’T KNOW WHAT IT’S DOING!
Last Game: A 24-0 drubbing at the hands of the Cowboys. Dallas dominated this game from start to finish. The question about that game is this: Was it one of those inexplicable Andy Reid/Donovan McNabb egg layings, where the team just falls apart at random times for no discernible reason, only to bounce back the next week? Or was the Cowboys’ pasting of the Eagles less an anomaly than a manifestation of clear superiority? I’m tempted to say the latter.
The Coach: Andy Reid. If you thought Andy Reid was a spotty coach in the regular season, just wait until you see him coach a playoff game! He really turns it up a notch. I know Wade has never won a playoff game, but his is a more passive kind of playoff failure. Andy Reid’s playoff gaffes are like giant bonfires he lights with 500 gallons of kerosene.
The Offense: Evil Donovan McNabb, the one who believes bounce passes count as completions, showed up in Cowboys Stadium last week. Typically, McNabb is able to right himself after a performance like that. Then again, the Cowboys pass rush may be enough to get him throwing balls in the dirt once more.
The Defense: After a full regular season, it’s official: this defense has suffered from the death of Jim Johnson. Gone are the days of Andy Reid relying on an ingenious game plan from Johnson to secure a playoff win. This team relies on sacks from Trent Cole and picks from its cornerbacks to succeed. Without those two things, they’re average at best. Last week, the Cowboys’ o-line demolished Philly. There aren’t many coaching adjustments you can make for physical dominance.
Key Matchup: Flozell vs. Trent Cole. Like I said before: you keep Cole away from Romo, then Philly is in for a long day. Flo was up to the task last week. We’ll see if he can do it twice. There’s no reason he can’t. In fact, to all the Cowboys: just do whatever it is you did last time. That seemed to work.