The Dallas Cowboys are a pretty hot team right now with a three game win streak behind them and quarterback whose thrown eight touchdowns in no interceptions in that span. However, they are going to have their hands full when they step into the Linc on Sunday night. The Birds are coming off a huge win against the Giants who down these Cowboys in the first game in their new stadium. Much like the Eagles, the Cowboys have a schedule that was pretty much front loaded with easy games. Despite that fact, they cannot be overlooked. I like the way the Eagles match up with them and here are some of the keys I’m looking for if the Eagles want to stand alone atop the NFC East:
1. Pressure Tony Romo. I know I’ve been saying this all week, but I think it’s the number one key to success. We’ve seen what the Eagles can do to teams when they pressure the quarterback and create turnovers. Romo is a sissy and will throw a ball up for grabs before he takes a big hit. The Eagles have to change up their looks so he doesn’t know where it’s coming from and come at him all game.
2. Contain Jason Witten. With the way the Eagles tend to cover tight ends, this almost seems like mission impossible. However, they cannot let this guy consistently pick up first downs and get open in the middle of the field. Chris Gocong is listed as doubtful and probably will not play Sunday, so I’d like to see Will Witherspoon or a safety matched up on him.
3. Eliminate the big play. This is something the Eagles offense usually does but Dallas has been hitting it big lately too. Miles Austin is leading the league in yards per catch with receivers who have more than 20 receptions and has really come alive recently. On special teams, Patrick Crayton has returned a punt for a touchdown the past two weeks and is looking for the trifecta on Sunday. Big plays can really deflate a team and the Eagles need to make sure they don’t give one up.
4. Establish a run game. Many people will laugh at this statement, but if the Eagles can do it they will find a lot of success. With Brian Westbrook returning to the lineup and the emergence of Leonard Weaver, the Eagles now have a mini three-headed monster. If they make Dallas respect their run game, it will give Donovan more time when he has to throw the ball. I also look to see some screens set up as the Dallas defense is pretty aggressive.
5. Protect Donovan McNabb. No brainer here but with the way the line played last week you got to see what happens when he has time. I don’t think the Cowboys secondary is very stellar so with the right amount of time, McNabb can really have a big game here.
Those are the keys I’ll be looking for come Sunday night. I must say I am super pumped for this game and expect the Birds to come out and play at the exact same level they did last week.