It’s Eagles-Cowboys week! In the spirit of the rivalry, I was able to speak with Jeric Griffin of TheCowboysCentral.com. He spoke on his thoughts of the Eagles during the offseason as compared to now, the performance of DeMarco Murray, and where both teams will have an advantage come Sunday.
To end, Jeric gives a prediction on the final outcome of the game. Big thanks to Jeric for participating, and I hope everyone enjoys the interview! Also, make sure to check out the questions I answered for him by clicking here.
BirdsFan: It must have been a bit alarming to see a division foe make the kind of splash in free agency that the Eagles did. What was your opinion of the Eagles then and has it changed to where they are now?
TheCowboysCentral: I knew the Eagles had the talent to be a great team and I was very concerned Philly’s defense would give the Cowboys fits this season. However, the Eagles haven’t really played up to the hype thus far, but I see them as a sleeping giant; no team wants to wake them. They are very capable of turning it on at any time and going on a big run.
BF: DeMarco Murray had an incredible performance last weekend. Tell us your thoughts on Murray. If all Cowboys running backs were 100% healthy, who should be the starter?
TCC: Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett says Felix Jones will start when he’s healthy, but I don’t see that if Murray’s encore is even remotely decent. I definitely expect Murray to see at least half the Cowboys’ carries each game from now on. It may be later rather than sooner, but Garrett will make him a featured back if he continues to run as well as he has so far this season.
BF: Outside of the Rams last week, all of the Cowboys games have finished close. Can this be attributed to anything specific?
TCC: Most definitely. The Cowboys have played up and down to competition this year, as was the case the second half of last season after Garrett took over. That stems from a lack of killer instinct which can be directly traced to quarterback Tony Romo. The Cowboys’ defense has played well, but Romo’s ill-timed turnovers has kept weaker teams in games.
BF: As we near the midpoint of the year, how do you see the rest of the season playing out for the NFC East?
TCC: I definitely think the win over the Rams was a turning point for Dallas because it revealed Murray’s value and it showed the Cowboys can blow out a weaker team. I see both Dallas and Philadelphia going on extensive winning streaks and finishing the year strong. These are clearly the best 2 teams in the NFC East and it will be a closed race between them for the division crown.
BF: On Sunday, where will the Cowboys have an advantage on offense? On defense?
TCC: On offense, the Cowboys have finally found a running game while the Eagles have given up a lot of production to opposing running backs this year. This will take some pressure off Romo, giving the Cowboys’ offense a chance. Defensively, the Cowboys boast the NFL’s best run defense, a very handy tool to have when facing an elite running back like the Eagles’ LeSean McCoy.
BF: Where will the Eagles have an advantage on offense? On defense?
TCC: Philadelphia has the advantage of a mobile quarterback in Michael Vick. The Cowboys have always struggled against good running quarterbacks and there’s none better than Vick. Defensively, the Eagles know Romo will commit turnovers if they get pressure on him. If the Eagles use delayed blitzes, they will eat Romo alive.
BF: What player could be a potential x-factor for the Cowboys on Sunday?
TCC: Dallas cornerback Mike Jenkins could easily play a huge part in this contest. He will be assigned to cover Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson, who typically plays well against the Cowboys. If Jenkins has a big game and maybe comes up with an interception, Dallas will win this ball game.
BF: Give me a score prediction.
TCC: With the game being in Philadelphia, I think the Eagles will come out strong fresh off their bye week. I don’t see Romo being able to overcome another close contest. Eagles 23, Cowboys 21.