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The Eagles Must Win. But Can They?

BrianS wrote a great diary about this weekend's game that everyone should read. This is the kind of stuff a community driven site like Bleeding Green Nation is all about! -JB

When we last saw the Dallas Cowboys, Roy Williams was running down the field with the Eagles' last chance to save the 2005 season.

Now, it is time for revenge.

When we last saw the Dallas Cowboys, Roy Williams was running down the field with the Eagles' last chance to save the 2005 season.  Picture it in your head.  Feel the hatred and scorn for Dallas that burns in your hearts.  

Now, it is time for revenge.  I'm sure Donnie Mac has had this game circled on the calender since the schedule came out, and I'm even more sure that every single green-blooded Eagles fan has.

I can't even begin to describe just how huge this game is.  A loss would put the Eagles at 0-2 in the NFC East with 3 of 4 division games left on the road, consecutively, in December, putting them in a very, very bad position to win the division.  It would give them an 0-8 record in the division since 2004.  And it would give TO another opportunity to destroy the credibility of Donovan McNabb and the unity and confidence of the Eagles' locker room.

Statistically, a win doesn't prove anything.  But it will shut up the haters and the doubters and the TO huggers and restore the pride of the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans.  But can the team do it?

Riding home from the Monday Night game, I couldn't wait for Sunday.  I was confident, and I thought a lot of people calling WIP were overestimating Dallas. Who've they beaten?  The Redskins without Portis and the Tennessee Titans.  Very damn impressive.  Riiiight.

The trouble I see is that once again, the Eagles injury problems have played right to the Cowboys' strengths.  Lito Sheppard, in really his first game of their will be matched up with either Terry Glenn or TO, and he must have a good game.  Dallas ' big plays in the passing game were devastating in both games they won against our Eagles.  Glenn, not TO, is the key, although Owens -- even with an injured hand that may make it difficult to hold onto the ball, still needs to be accounted for of course.

The Eagles front four has to be able to pressure Bledsoe without relying on support from blitzing linebackers or safeties, who will need to be back in run support or pass coverage because of Dallas' myriad offensive weapons.  If Bledsoe is pressured, he's a guy who's shown he will throw the boneheaded pick or throw the ball away.  But if he's got all day back in the pocket, he can still pick a defense apart.  Dallas has a strong rushing attack with Julius Jones and Marion Barber (and Tyson Thompson in there, too), but I've been encouraged by how well the Eagles' D has played against the run.  If Bledsoe gets hit a few times and consistently pressured, I think the Eagles could win big.  If not, we're in for a really long day.

On offense, we could really use Westbrook, but a healthy, confident, and motivated McNabb is the biggest upgrade the Eagles have made since the last Dallas debacles.  When healthy, he hasn't lost to Dallas since 1999, no matter who his runningbacks and receivers were.  In the Monday Night meltdown last November, the Eagles had success running the ball.  I think they'll need to  keep mixing in the run to keep Roy Williams guessing.  

McNabb will need to spread the ball around, including the TE's and a lot of Westbrook, because Anthony Henry and Aaron Glenn are capable of covering Reggie and G-Lew.  If Donte' can go, it'd be a huge help.  

Given the injury situation, I'm just not sure they're the better team right now.   I'm confident that Donovan McNabb will come out, make a statement and be the best player on the field.I think the play of the Eagles' defensive line is the biggest key to the game. They've shown the ability to get pressure, if not yet great numbers of sacks, without the Freak on the field.  Improved defensive line and healthier McNabb gives us strengths in two key areas that Dallas capitalized on last year.  And that's why I think the Eagles will win...and becaue if they don't, the results are too horrible to contemplate.

(I know JB will probably break things down in more detail, but it's Dallas week, and I really can't think of anything but the game.)

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