By Zach Walker
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys
Sunday – November 8 – 7:30 pm CT
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Who do the Cowboys need to shut down?
QB Sam Bradford – Coming out of their bye week, the Eagles are going to expect their quarterback to be well past his previous play. In all seven games this seasons, only once has he had what would be a quality above average game and that was in a loss versus Washington. The wins and losses are hard to link to his play, because they’ve won when he’s been good or bad. Bradford must be feeling a thumb on the back of his neck after his season so far, and on Sunday night primetime football, this is a pretty decent chance to show how the back half of the season is going to be different.
Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
DE Greg Hardy – Well, the promise was made, now it’s time to deliver the goods. The banner flown over the Eagles’ stadium with the message of “#SACKSCOMING” during the preseason, and this is Greg Hardy’s opportunity to have cleat meet turf in his foreshadowed message. When he talked a big game about getting after Tom Brady, in his first game action back from suspension, Hardy got to Tom Brady more than I can ever remember a player being allowed to get to him. Hardy and DeMarcus Lawrence are going to try and fulfill the prophecy against an Eagles offensive line that could be without Jason Peters with back spasms. The Cowboys need to be hungry and feast on the Eagles’ backfield.
Which group will give the Cowboys fits?
The Eagles’ Running Backs – The Eagles have the most talented backfield in the league. DeMarco Murray, Ryan Matthews, and Darren Sproles are supremely dynamic. However, with less touches, Ryan Matthews is almost doubling DeMarco on yards per carry (6.1 vs 3.5) and coming out of the bye, could see a significant boost in workload. Murray is going to be pumped up every time he plays the Cowboys. Matthews is going to be explosive when Murray needs a break, though their roles might be reversed, and Darren Sproles must be found before the ball is snapped because he can really mess up a game.
Which group will give the Eagles fits?
The Cowboys’ offensive line – The tires appear to have been worn in, and the offensive line is now in mid-season form. The whole group looks like they’re operating at max capacity with La’el Collins in at left guard. Collins is clearly the silverback that the entire league passed up on, take a minute to watch him bulldoze Bobby Wagner and Earl Thomas on the same play. They’re opening holes that the veteran Darren McFadden can exploit. Who knew that Matt Cassel had those kind of wheels? He needs to do more of that and move the chains. Cassel isn’t a statue back in the pocket, but needs to get the ball out of his hands a little quicker. But, the line is keeping the team in these close games, and until Tony Romo gets back, it’s those five men up front leading the ‘Boys into battle.
What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
I’m curious if the Cowboys are going to play hard for two reasons. One, they are close to kissing the season goodbye with these losses. And secondly, the Eagles broke their season when they landed on Tony Romo. Will the team come together, hate filled and fired up to avenge their quarterback and save their season? The Cowboys need to get a couple of turnovers and slam the ball at the Eagles defense.
Prediction: Dallas 23 – Philadelphia 21