By Zach Walker
Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday – January 1 – 12:00 pm
Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia – Pennsylvania
Records Before the Game
Dallas Cowboys (13-2, 6-1 Away)
Philadelphia Eagles (6-9, 5-2 Home)
Who do the Cowboys need to shut down?
RB Darren Sproles – Positive news, the Cowboys don’t even need to concern themselves with Ryan Matthews, he’s out. Bad news, that means the Eagles are going to throw Darren Sproles at the Cowboys. I love Sproles fourteen games per season, I respect his ability any game he plays in. Last time these two teams played, it was for everything in the division, and Darren Sproles did Darren Sproles things to the Cowboys and the game went into overtime. Take that at whatever value you want to. I don’t know how many more seasons he’s got within him, he says he’s got another year, and I want to see it. I don’t question his toughness or resolve. I consider him fringe Hall-of-Famer. Phillip Rivers was never the same without him, and Drew Brees WOULD have gone to at least another Super Bowl had he been wanted in New Orleans. I know I don’t want him to end his career on a trainer’s table.
Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
OT Emmett Cleary – At this point in the season, the Cowboys’ injury report has a supreme amount of very important personnel on it. Ron Leary, DeMarcus Lawrence, Cedric Thornton, Tyrone Crawford, Justin Durant, Anthony Brown, Mo Claiborne, Jack Crawford, and Sean Lee are all on the week 17 injury report, in some capacity. That’s a lot of bumps, scrapes, bruises, and pulls on vital organs of this team. Then there’s the foundation piece of the franchise, Tyron Smith. If he wasn’t already playing with that knee brace on when he got hit low on Monday night, the thought of how bad that hit could have possibly been, makes my stomach tense and pulse. R&R is what these Cowboys need right now, but this game has to be played. But, of all of the “don’t mess around” situations health wise with this team as it sits, Tyron Smith needs to get left off the plane ride to Philadelphia. Emmett Cleary is the third string tackle, so throwing him against the Eagles and their pass rush is a strong task, but getting Tyron Smith back up to a solid health percentage is vital for a run in the playoffs
Which group will give the Cowboys trouble?
Philly being Philly – The NFC East is the toughest division in football. There’s never a Cleveland to rack up free wins off of or a San Francisco to fade out of games. No, these teams, and most importantly, the fans truly hate each other’s team. Which is why the lines get charged any week a NFC East battle happens because the beasts inside us all get to be let out for eight hours at a time on the weekend. One cannot simply gauge a NFC East inter-divisional game, too much hate in them there hills. So, when anyone say this game is meaningless, that’ll get you hurt. The Eagles sure as hell won’t like it when the Cowboys bullpen quarterbacks are in this game to try and win with second teamers. They certainly won’t just allow the Cowboys to just slide into the playoffs feeling all good with themselves, they’ll be out for pride on Sunday.
Which group will give the Eagles trouble?
The fact that the Cowboys are better. Like I just stated, there won’t be a free lunch on Sunday, Philly is going to make the Cowboys earn this win. Let’s say the Cowboys lose this game, one where they likely held starters out and kept others on the end of a short leash. That’ll mean in this great season we all basked in, they went three and three within the division. That just seems awkward to type, as if it just doesn’t quite add up. This Cowboys team is the better of the two teams taking the field on Sunday, so they need to actually embody it. Be the better squad and beat the Eagles. That’ll look to tailspin the Cowboys into their bye week.
What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
There is still a sweet franchise goal in sight and within reach for this game. Setting a new franchise record for wins in a regular season. There’s going to need to be a fair amount of step-up from some players that’ll be in this game, Randy Gregory and Emmett Cleary come immediately to mind. Go out and win this thing.
Dallas 30 – Philadelphia 20