What a spectacle the NFC East has been so far this season. Two teams will enter Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday with a 3-3 record and the winner will take over sole control of the division. The first six weeks have been ugly for all the teams in the division, but it’s time to look past that.
Come Sunday, the Eagles have the opportunity to win their first game at home and move their division record to 3-0. They’d also take over first place in the division with two very winnable games ahead of them. However, we don’t want to look too far ahead, so let’s focus on the keys to getting a victory this week against Dallas.
1. Dominate With The Ground Game
The Eagles are going to run the football. There’s no doubt about it. It’s been their bread and butter this season and they lead the league by over 20 yards a game on the ground. We’re going to need to see the run game started early and stuck with throughout the course of the game.
LeSean McCoy continues to lead the league in rushing and he’ll get his touches. However, I want to see Bryce Brown come in and get his chances as well. Establishing that ground game will do a number of things. It’ll allow the Eagles to really wear out the Cowboys defense, it will help them keep the ball out of Tony Romo’s hands, and it will take some pressure off of Nick Foles.
There’s been some pressure on Foles already this season, but nothing like what he’s facing this week. After a week full of “quarterback controversy” which ended up being for naught, Foles is forced to really prove himself against a division rival in a battle for first place. If he has the support of a strong run game behind him, it will take some of the pressure off of him and also make things easier in the aerial game.
2. Force Tony Romo To Make Errors
Despite being 3-3, Tony Romo is playing some very good football right now. He’s been throwing the ball very well and there’s no doubting that he’ll be asked to do so again on Sunday with DeMarco Murray very likely being unable to go.
Although he’s playing well now, we still no the true Romo is down there somewhere. The Eagles need to do something they haven’t done a great job of throughout the year, and that’s get pressure on the quarterback. If Romo has time to sit back in the pocket and deliver the ball, he can be fantastic. Once he starts to see consistent pressure in his face, that’s when the Romo we all love comes out.
Romo isn’t going to make unforced errors, but he will make errors if the Eagles defense can get in his face and start shaking him up. The secondary will struggle covering the Cowboys’ receivers. They need to be able to make a few plays on the ball and it will start with the front seven. I want to see blitzes dialed up throughout the game that leave Romo with nothing to do but take a big sack or throw the ball up for grabs. The Eagles are going to need to force Romo into making a few mistakes to have a chance of winning this game.
3. Win the Intangibles
Getting a win on Sunday isn’t going to come easy. The Birds are going to need to win some of the battles that generally get overlooked or may not show up on the stat sheet. They’re going to need to have a solid day on special teams and not give up any big returns. They’re going to need to be more physical then the Cowboys. They need to dominate along the offensive line and they need to punish the ball carrier throughout the day. They need to hustle and not give up on plays.
Quite frankly, the Eagles need to just come out fired up. The fans are going to be jacked up. It’s the Cowboys. It’s for first place in the division. It’s still pretty early in the season, but it’s a very meaningful game.
Come Sunday, the Eagles just have to want it more.