Eagles-Cowboys scouting report

Posted: November 30, 2012

Recent history: The Cowboys defeated the Eagles, 38-23, at the Linc on Nov. 11. Dallas leads the series, 60-47.

OFFENSE

Eagles: 357.1 yards per game (14th)

Cowboys: 375.6 yards per game (9th)

QUARTERBACK

Eagles: Eagles wisely dialed down the passing game last week, having Nick Foles attempt just 21 passes, most of them short and intermediate throws. Just one of his 21 attempts traveled longer than 17 yards. His footwork and mechanics are in need of offseason work.

Cowboys: Tony Romo is averaging 344 passing yards per game in the last five games, but he's thrown 15 interceptions this season and is 30th in the league in interception percentage. Three weeks ago vs. Eagles Romo was 7-for-10 on third down with a TD and 5 first downs.

Pick: Cowboys

RUNNING BACK

Eagles: With LeSean McCoy still recovering from a concussion, rookie Bryce Brown will make his second straight start. Brown, who rushed for 178 yards vs. Panthers, is a big back with exceptional speed and burst.

Cowboys: The Cowboys' running game isn't very good. They're averaging just 3.5 yards per carry, 3.0 in the last six games without DeMarco Murray. Felix Jones is a better change-of-pace option than a carry-the-load guy.

Pick: Eagles

RECEIVING

Eagles: Even after DeSean Jackson got hurt Monday, the Eagles went with a heavy dose of three-wide receiver sets, using them on nearly 60 percent of their 48 offensive plays. In the first Dallas game, Jeremy Maclin had eight catches for 93 yards and a TD.

Cowboys: WR Dez Bryant has 20 receptions for 290 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games. Against the Eagles 3 weeks ago, he had three catches for 87 yards, including a 30-yard TD catch. Jason Witten has 82 receptions, but is averaging just 8.7 yards.

Pick: Cowboys

OFFENSIVE LINE

Eagles: This unit turned in one of its best performances Monday. It blocked well for rookie RB Bryce Brown and did a respectable job of protecting QB Nick Foles. If C Dallas Reynolds (ankle) can't play, LG Evan Mathis will move to C and Danny Watkins will start at LG.

Cowboys: The Cowboys are ranked a respectable 12th in the league in sacks allowed per pass play, but have been dealing with injuries. Their starting LT, Tyron Smith, missed the last game with an ankle injury, as did center Ryan Cook. They had to move RG Mackenzy Bernadeau to C.

Pick: Cowboys

DEFENSE

Eagles: 345.5 yards per game (15th)

Cowboys: 328.8 yards per game (8th)

DEFENSIVE LINE

Eagles: The release of LE Jason Babin will mean more snaps for Brandon Graham, who played a season-high 30 snaps vs. Carolina, and rookie Vinny Curry. Curry, activated for the first time vs. Panthers, played 21 snaps and had five tackles.

Cowboys: NT Jay Ratliff has been slowed by injuries all season and has played just 269 snaps. Ratliff, one of the league's best pass-rushing NTs, doesn't have any sacks, but is third on team in QB hits (7) and hurries (9). Jason Hatcher is a solid 3-4 end.

Pick: Eagles

LINEBACKER

Eagles: SLB Mychal Kendricks did a good job vs. TE Jason Witten 3 weeks ago, helping hold him to 5.9 yards per catch and no TDs. But that was the only game in the last 4 weeks in which a TE didn't score a TD against the Eagles.

Cowboys: Season-ending injuries to ILBs Sean Lee and Bruce Carter have weakened Cowboys vs. run. In the five games since Lee went down, opponents have averaged 4.1 yards per carry. Redskins RB Alfred Morris gashed them for 113 yards on Thanksgiving.

Pick: Cowboys

SECONDARY

Eagles: Eagles have given up 13 TD passes and don't have an interception in the last five games. Opposing QBs have a 146.8 third-down passer rating in those games. SS Kurt Coleman is the lowest-rated safety vs. run in the league, per Pro Football Focus.

Cowboys: Despite the heralded offseason additions of CBs Brandon Carr and first-round pick Morris Claiborne, the Cowboys have a league-low five INTs and a 94.8 opponent passer rating. Claiborne has allowed completions on 68.2 percent of passes in his direction.

Pick: Cowboys

SPECIAL TEAMS

Eagles: Eagles are coming off one of their best special-teams performances. PR Damaris Johnson had two double-digit returns. KR Brandon Boykin had a season-best 44-yard return, but spoiled it with a fumble. Eagles gave up 78-yard PR for TD to Dwayne Harris on Nov. 11.

Cowboys: PR Dwayne Harris is averaging 15.0 yards per return and had a 78-yard return for a TD vs. Eagles. Both coverage units are ranked in the top 10. PK Dan Bailey has converted 22 of 24 field-goal attempts. P Brian Moorman is 23rd in gross average and 21st in net average.

Pick: Cowboys

DOMO'S PREDICTION: COWBOYS 31, EAGLES 13

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KEY MATCHUPS

1. Eagles LT King Dunlap vs. Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware: This would be a mismatch even if Dunlap wasn't nursing a knee sprain. Advantage: Cowboys

2. Eagles CBs Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha vs. Dez Bryant: Bryant is on fire, with 23 catches and four TDs in the last three games. Eagles corners match up sizewise with Bryant, but have not been playing well. Advantage: Cowboys

3. Eagles TE Brent Celek vs. Cowboys LB Ernie Sims: Celek hasn't had more than 47 receiving yards in a game since Week 4. Cowboys have lost both of their starting ILBs to season-ending injuries. Advantage: Eagles

HOT AND NOT

Hot

Eagles: RB Bryce Brown. Rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns in his first NFL start.

Cowboys: WR Dez Bryant. Has 20 catches for 290 yards and 2 TDs in the last two games.

Not

Eagles: DT Cullen Jenkins. Played 39 snaps vs. Panthers and didn't have a tackle or quarterback pressure.

Cowboys: RB Felix Jones. Has averaged 2.8 yards per carry in the last two games.

" @Pdomo

Blog: eagletarian.com

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