By Zach Walker
Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday – December 14 – 7:30 pm
Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia
Who do the Cowboys need to shut down?
LB Mychal Kendricks – Kendricks is a big problem for a rushing team like Dallas. He’s undersized, instinctual, and quick as a bullet. Kendricks is a backfield tornado, and he seems to know when and where the creases open up in the running lanes and the ability to slot himself into the play, and likely make the play. If DeMarco Murray is going to run on the Eagles, someone is going to have to take Kendricks out of the play, because he’s quick enough to chase Murray down from behind.
Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
WR Terrance Williams – Take a moment and think back to when Terrance Williams last made an impactful play for the Cowboys. Roll those eyes back, and don’t beat yourself up, because it’s a really long time, only getting six targets in the last four games, and target-less in two of those four. Williams needs to be a player that can rob the top off of the Eagles defense and force the safeties back in coverage and not stiffing the line of scrimmage, looking to take DeMarco Murray down.
Which group will give the Cowboys fits?
The Eagles Pass Rush – Until the Cowboys offensive line shows up, and takes it to the Eagles and start to open up lanes for DeMarco Murray and keep Tony Romo upright, the Eagles will be spending the Cowboys’ lunch money that they took from them on Thanksgiving. The Eagles pass rushers don’t go away, they are the second best unit at getting to the quarterback in the league, with 44 sacks on the season. The Eagles drafted players have started to burst out of their shells and really start to break opposing team’s will. Fletcher Cox is a monster; Vinny Curry is everything I thought he’d be, coming out of Marshall; Brandon Graham seems to love playing the Cowboys, averaging nearly a half a sack every time he plays against them; And Conner Barwin is a player that a team just must account for on every play, or he will ruin their game.
Which group will give the Eagles fits?
The Cowboys screen game – The way to neutralize a great pass rush is with well executed screens and swing passes to the running back a getting him in space with blockers. DeMarco Murray caught 9 passes on top of 32 carries, last week against the Bears, and the Bears were stuck chasing after a while, and it gave the Cowboys offensive line the edge. The Cowboys need to start fast, Eagles-paced fast, throw screens to Murray, and flares to Dez, and keep the Eagles aggressive defensive aggressive, and trying to make a play and leaving windows open for big plays to happen in the passing game.
What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
Avenge themselves. The Eagles absolutely took it to the Cowboys, on Thanksgiving, unraveled the team, turning their strengths into none existent factors. I actually prefer the Cowboys being the hunter, instead of the hunted. I hate how they got destroyed on Thanksgiving, but that might have been the grenade going off in their heads to wake up and realize that there is something at stake for these players to go out and take from the Eagles.
Prediction: Dallas 31 – Philadelphia 30
Use everything the Eagles did to fuel your game, it’s a serious “show me” for the Cowboys, and luckily it’s on the road, where the Cowboys are still, the only undefeated team in the NFL. This can be considered, the Cowboys “win and in” game for this season, and they’ve got a fully rested unit going into this Sunday night showdown.