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Five-star: Eagles will make big plays

12/22/2011

Will the Eagles hit their average of six plays of 20 yards or more Saturday against the Cowboys?

There is only one team that hasn't produced a play of 20 yards or more against the Cowboys this season: The woeful Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On the season, the Cowboys have allowed 46 plays of 20 or more yards, and expect that number to increase Saturday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium.

In the first meeting between the teams, the Eagles had four pass plays of 20 or more yards, all leading to scores, and three run plays of 20 or more yards.

The Eagles have too many weapons for the Cowboys contain, starting with quarterback Michael Vick with 38 pass plays of 20 or more yards and running back LeSean McCoy, who produced three runs of 20 or more yards vs. the Cowboys in the first game.

Safety Abram Elam said the Eagles thrive on the big play for their offense to succeed but the Cowboys have struggled to stop those types of plays the bulk of the season.

DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff are getting little help in the pass rush. Anthony Spencer will be needed to make more plays and if Rob Ryan decided to blitz more, which he's done on a consistent basis, the linebackers and corners must get to the quarterback. If Vick escapes the pocket, there's trouble.

Secondary play is inconsistent at times and the Eagles will challenge them with Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson.

It's going to be a difficult day at Cowboys Stadium for the Cowboys to hold the Eagles down on deep plays, and that could lead to a loss.