Sunday, November 11, 2012
W2W4: Cowboys at Eagles
By Calvin Watkins
PHILADELPHIA -- The Cowboys' season is in danger of ending with a loss to the Eagles today at Lincoln Financial Field. Both teams are 3-5 and struggling. The Cowboys have lost two straight and the Eagles four straight.
Here's a preview.
The series: Last season, the Eagles swept the season-series but overall the Cowboys lead the series, 59-47. The Cowboys have faced the Eagles (106 times) more than any other team. Of those games, 40 were decided by a touchdown or less. When the Cowboys visit The Linc, they have a 4-5 mark, including a distasteful 38-point loss to close the 2006 season.
Coaches jobs on the line: It appears despite all the stories surrounding Sean Payton's pending free agency that Cowboys coach Jason Garrett's job is safe. Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones called discussions to that end ridiculous. However, talk about Eagles coach Andy Reid's job security are far from that. The longest-tendured coach in the NFL has 139 career wins, 22nd all-time. The recent struggles of the Eagles, including missing the postseason last season, have raised questions about his job security.
Which quarterback will lose the ball?: Tony Romo has turned the ball over 15 times, Michael Vick has done it 14 times. Both quarterbacks struggle with controlling the football in the passing game and while in the pocket, especially Vick, who has fumbled five times this season. You can blame the wide receivers, pass protection and the quarterbacks for the problems, but whoever limits the turnovers most likely will win the game.
LeSean McCoy vs. Felix Jones: DeMarco Murray is out with a sprained foot, so Felix Jones gets the start and must get the stagnated running game going again. The Cowboys have rushed for over 100 yards as a unit just twice this season and have not become a dependable unit. LeSean McCoy has rushed for 100 yards three times this season, including a 119-yard effort in the loss to the New Orleans Saints. On the season, the Eagles have averaged 4.5 yards per game as a unit with McCoy leading the way with 623 yards. If the Cowboys expect to defeat the Eagles, stopping McCoy is a must.
Jay Ratliff will play and other injuries: Jay Ratliff was a ghost during practices this week as he nursed an ankle sprain. But the Cowboys nose tackle will start today. However, expect Josh Brent to get some snaps at nose tackle as well to give Ratliff a break. Dez Bryant (hip) and Kevin Ogletree (finger) battled injures last week but didn't appear to have any problems practicing this week.
A stat that interested us: The Cowboys three main receivers, Miles Austin, Ogletree and Bryant have combined for 10 drops this season.