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Audibles: NFC East Week 13 preview

11/26/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Seattle Seahawks (2-9) at Dallas Cowboys (7-4), 4:15 p.m. ET

If the Cowboys watch film of Sunday's Seahawks-Redskins game, they'll have plenty of respect for Seattle. This is a team that's kept battling despite its pitiful record. Of course, the Cowboys' Thanksgiving Day game is one of the biggest advantages in the league -- thanks to the late Tex Schramm. The Seahawks practiced Monday and Tuesday and then are catching a 2 p.m. ET flight into Dallas.

Matt Hasselbeck is still a threat, but he's thrown too many interceptions this season when he's been healthy enough to play. And he doesn't have a great supporting cast. Former Cowboys running back Julius Jones was a free-agent acquisition, but he only had two carries last Sunday against the Redskins. The Cowboys know what to expect from Jones -- if he gets significant playing time.

The Seahawks will not make the same mistake the 49ers made. They'll jam T.O. at the line of scrimmage and provide some safety help over the top. Perhaps this is the game where Roy Williams becomes more of a factor. The good news for Cowboys fans is that Tony Romo has found his rhythm. He's moving well in the pocket and making excellent downfield throws.

The Seahawks will have a few tricks up their sleeve on special teams because assistant Bruce DeHaven hasn't forgotten the way he was treated by Wade Phillips many years ago in Buffalo. Look for at least one big return for the Seahawks. In the end, though, the Cowboys defense will overwhelm the Seattle offense. Maurice Morris and Jones won't be able to run, which will once again make the Seahawks -- wait for it -- one-dimensional. As they say in the business, this is a waste of jet fuel for the Seahawks.

Arizona Cardinals (7-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-5-1), 8:15 p.m. ET

All eyes will be on quarterback Donovan McNabb and whether he can bounce back from his benching Sunday in Baltimore. The move has backfired on coach Andy Reid on several levels, and he's trying to put the genie back in the bottle.

The Cardinals are good enough on offense to win even if McNabb plays a solid game. Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel is banged up, which will put more pressure on Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown. This isn't a team that responds well to adversity, so I'm thinking the Cardinals win by a touchdown.

The Eagles' defense has played well at times, but they need to knock Kurt Warner down a bunch to have a chance of winning the turnover battle. In fact, the defense needs to score at least once and DeSean Jackson needs to have a big night in the return game. The Eagles are 26th in the league on third-down conversions, and they're 18-of-70 during their last five games. Reid would have you believe that the Eagles are close to being a good team, but most of us know the truth.

If the Eagles lose, it will be time to officially launch the Kevin Kolb era. Any other outcome would be pointless. If they win, McNabb will keep playing. Just think of it as an audition for other teams, something that he wasn't expecting to do at this point in his career. And in case you're scoring at home, McNabb turned 32 on Tuesday. Reid sure knows how to throw a surprise party.