With a win over the Broncos last week and the Vikings losing in overtime to the Bears, the Eagles are the only team in the NFC who completely control their destiny. Eagles win and they get the #2 seed in the NFC playoff race, no question. For every other team fighting for the #2 seed they need to win and for other teams to lose. Not the Eagles, win and the Fat Lady will have sung. With that said let’s get this going.
The Eagles are traveling to Dallas, Texas to take on this team that we all hate with all of our hearts. No Eagles fan has any soft spots for that hideous star and nothing would thrill us more then to close out this season in the same way we did last season. We all remember the Eagles ROLLING the Cowboys 44-6 at the Linc last season. Now, according to the Cowboys they are not looking for revenge for that. That is a lie, a flat out lie. The Cowboys are gonna come out playing hard and for the Eagles to win this they will have to match them blow for blow. The Cowboys won the previous matchup, 20-16 in Philly and they did an excellent job of taking away DeSean Jackson and the long ball. But, at the same time McNabb came out flat from the start and the play calling for that game was absolutely awful. In the weeks following the offensive play calling has become far more balanced. That, with the return of Westbrook, who showed some nice burst last week, will allow the Eagles to redeem themselves to wrap up the season. When I saw the Dallas/Saints game I saw that the Cowboys struggled with the long ball when Drew Brees took his shots and they could not stop an offense when they went to the no-huddle. Even when the Redskins went to the no huddle against them they were able to move the ball with some success, despite being unable to score points. I look for Reid to give McNabb the chance to carry this team and to utilize the no huddle a lot. A reason this works so well is that the Cowboys, in their 3-4 defensive scheme, are a very physical defense. However, if they stay on the field and cannot get substitutions on then they will struggle to keep up with the speed of the Eagles. Also, at this point the Eagles aerial weapons are truly coming to life. Teams can not just double Jackson because they will leave Maclin, Avant, and Celek open along with Westbrook and McCoy open for screens. I know I say this every week, but I really do not see the Cowboys defense keeping up with the Eagles. The speed is too great and they are healthy again, with the exception of the center position. The season ending injury to Jamaal Jackson will hurt a lot, especially against NT Jay Ratliff. However, Ratliff generally causes the most problems to the RG position, so he will be matched up against Max-Jean Gillies for the most part. He will be a handful, no question. Stopping him will be a key. I don’t look to see Weaver to put up huge numbers because I believe he will be a blocker for the most part.
For the Eagles defense they know that the Cowboys die with the success of Tony Romo. However, time and time again it has been proven that if you can pressure Romo early then you will be able to force him into big mistakes. Trent Cole will NEED to bring his A-Game against Flozel Adams. Adams did a good job of limiting Cole in the last matchup. Sean McDermott will likely bring some more pressure on the weak side. I actually wouldn’t be surprised at all if they utilize Chris Gocong as a pass rusher, something he has shown natural ability at. In the last matchup the Eagles did a good job of containing WR Miles Austin for the most part. He is someone I still refuse to buy into. His stats are absolutely impressive, but when I watch so many of his touchdowns and long grabs I can’t help but notice the absolutely porous tackling. That being said, I worry about Asante Samuel. I love him as a turnover machine, but as a tackler he is awful. I look for Sheldon Brown to take care of him for the most part. TE Jason Witten will have his catches, but keeping him under 100 yards will be key. If the Eagles let Romo and Witten take over then the Eagles will lose. If the Eagles can force pressure and eliminate Romo’s favorite target then the Eagles will win this game. It will not be a blowout but it will be a win for the Birds.
Final score, I’m gonna go with 27-24. This will be a pressure cooker my friends, but the Eagles will come out on top and secure the #2 seed.