Jeric starts by weighing in with his thoughts on the first matchup, tells us about who was impressive this season, who was a disappointment, as well as what the Cowboys offseason needs will be.
After that, Jeric takes a closer look at this weeks matchup and ends by telling us who he thinks will win.
Also, make sure to check out the responses I gave him here!
BirdsFan: What were your thoughts on the first time the Eagles and Cowboys met this season?
TheCowboyCentral: I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Cowboys played against the Eagles in Week 14. The Cowboys played much better on both sides of the ball than I expected. However, the one player Dallas failed to contain was DeSean Jackson, who was easily the difference-maker in the game.
BF: With the Cowboys season just about over, what players have stood out the most to you this year? Who has been the most disappointing?
TCC: In this lackluster season, Dallas tight end Jason Witten, running back Tashard Choice, rookie linebacker Sean Lee, rookie cornerback Bryan McCann, and rookie safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah were the only bright spots to me. Witten is always a beast and Choice was patient until he got his chance to play and then made the most of it. Lee has been a steady player all year long who I believe has earned a starting spot in 2011. McCann was brought up late in the season from the practice squad and raised a lot of eyebrows. Owusu-Ansah has been placed on IR, but provided a spark in the Cowboys’ disappointing secondary. Speaking of which, I won’t begin to describe how much the entire starting secondary was more than disappointing this season.
BF: Looking ahead to 2011, what are the biggest needs the Cowboys will have to address in the offseason?
TCC: Dallas needs to draft depth on the offensive line. When starters went down with injuries early in the season, the backups were not sufficient. The Cowboys have plenty of talent and tons of potential in the secondary with four rookies all making their mark in 2010. Those rookies need to develop quickly and become reliable starters by next season.
BF: In your opinion, who has more to play for in this game? Is it the Eagles who can’t do anything to better their playoff standings or the Cowboys who know this is their last game?
TCC: I think the Eagles definitely need to address some issues they encountered against the Vikings, primarily protecting Michael Vick. However, many younger Cowboys players should get lots of playing time, sort of like a preseason game, so it will be crucial to their evaluation for next season.
BF: Do you expect Jason Garrett to be the head coach next year? If yes, why? If not, who might the Cowboys reach out to?
TCC: In a recent interview, Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones seemed to lean heavily toward keeping Garrett next season. However, those of us in Cowboys Nation know how to translate Jerry Speak, as we call it. I expect Jones to keep Garrett unless one of a very specific few Super Bowl-winning coaches accepts the job. I think Garrett is third on Jones’ list behind Bill Cowher and John Fox, so he will be kept if Nos. 1 and 2 don’t sign.
BF: On Sunday, where will the Cowboys have an advantage on offense? On defense?
TCC: Offensively, the Cowboys really don’t have an advantage because we’re down to our third string quarterback in Stephen McGee. Therefore, we’ll have to rely even more heavily on the run and the Eagles know that, so they’ll be looking to stack the line of scrimmage to stop our running backs. Defensively, the Cowboys’ pass rush has gotten progressively better over the course of the season, so Vick could be under some pressure like he was against Minnesota.
BF: Where will the Eagles have an advantage on offense? On defense?
TCC: Philadelphia will continue to dominate in the running game with LeSean McCoy. In Week 14, McCoy exploded all over the field against Dallas and put the game away late. If he can pile up over 150 rushing yards again, this game won’t even be close. On defense, the talented Eagles secondary will be licking their chops at the matchup against McGee. That will make it easy for the Philly defense to stop the Cowboys running game.
BF: What player could be a potential x-factor for the Cowboys on Sunday?
TCC: As much as I’ve downed McGee in this article, he is definitely the x-factor heading into Sunday’s contest. If he can play as well as he did against the Cardinals in Week 16, Dallas will have a decent shot at winning the game.
BF: Give me a score prediction.
TCC: I have to be smart here, so I’ll say Eagles 24, Cowboys 17