Wild Card Preview- Eagles at Cowboys

With the division on the line last weekend, the Cowboys dominated in a 24-0 shutout of the Eagles.  Dallas swept the season series 2-0.

  Andy Reid has never lost on Wild Card Weekend and the Cowboys have not won a playoff game since 1996.

Cowboys Rush Offense vs. Philadelphia Run Defense

 The Eagles don’t run the ball much.  Dallas is 4th in the NFL against the run.  The Eagles will have to make a decision to start Westbrook or McCoy.  Westbrook doesn’t seem like he’s ready to go in my opinion.  McCoy and fullback Leonard Weaver ran the ball well in the Eagles six game-winning streak without Westbrook.

 Nose tackle Jay Ratliff is an excellent run stuffer.  He is constantly occupying blocker, and his effort is relentless.  It will be interesting to see how the Eagles will control him.  Center Jamal Jackson was lost for the season in week 16 against Denver.  Jackson is a very underrated center, and the Eagles missed him last week as Ratliff was causing havoc in the backfield all day long.

 Advantage- Cowboys

 Cowboys Rush Offense vs. Philadelphia Run Defense

 Dallas uses the trio of Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice.  Barber is the physical back, Jones brings speed and Choice is a solid receiver in the backfield.  The Boys love running on the right side of the offensive line.  Pro-bowl center Andre Gurode and mammoth right guard Leonard Davis leads them on the offensive line.  Right tackle Doug Free has been just fine filling in for an injured Marc Polumbo.

 On defense the Eagles stuff the run with defensive tackles Mike Patterson and Broderick Bunkley.  The Birds rank 9th against the run.  They and the rest of the Eagles defense has to do better than the 179 rushing yards they gave up last week against Dallas

 Advantage- Push  

 Eagles Pass Offense vs. Cowboys Pass Defense

 Wide receiver Desean Jackson is one of the most explosive players in the NFL.  He tied an NFL record with 8 touchdowns over 50 yards.  Rookie Jeremy Maclin has talent, but he’s been somewhat inconsistent.  The two guys to look at are wr Jason Avant and te Brent Celek.

 Donovan McNabb has been the “Daddy Bird” at the quarterback position with all the young talent at wide receiver.  Mcnabb average just over 250 yards per game and has 22 passing touchdowns on the season.

 Mike Jenkins has emerged as a great compliment to Terrance Newman at the cornerback position.  Jenkins is a solid cover guy and Newman has been his consistent self.  The key will be to contain Jackson underneath; don’t let him beat you deep.

 DeMarcus Ware is one of the best 3-4 outside linebackers in football.  One of the premier individual match-ups in this game is left tackle Jason Peters matched up against Ware.

 Advantage- Eagles

 Cowboys Pass Offense vs. Eagles Pass Defense

 Philadelphia, in my opinion, has the best cornerback tandem in the NFL with Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel.  The pro-bowler Samuel loves to jump routes; he’s tied for the NFL interception lead with 9.  Brown doesn’t take as many risks, but he is a very stout cover corner.      

 Miles Austin has emerged as the number 1 wide receiver in Dallas.  The pro-bowler had 81 receptions for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Roy Williams has been a disappointment after being acquired in a trade with the Detroit Lions.  When it’s all said and done, Williams is a very solid 2.

 The Eagles linebackers have struggled against opposing tight ends all day long.  Dallas tight end Jason Witten is one of the premier pass catching tight ends in football.  He should have a field day.

 Pro-Bowl right defensive end Trent Cole is one of the best pass rushers in football.  Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott must figure out a way to get to quarterback Tony Romo with his variety of blitz packages.

 Romo has been magnificent for the Cowboys this season, especially in December where he has been criticized in the past.  Romo is not taking as many chances as he used to, thus not turning the ball over.

 Advantage- Push

 WHO WINS?

 I like Philadelphia, although Dallas has won the two meetings during the regular season.  Jackson will have a huge game, and I think the Eagles defense will find a way to get to Romo.

 Prediction- EAGLES 30-24

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