The Eagles And Cowboys Have Changed Since Their First Game

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The last time these two teams met, things did not go so well. Both teams played an ugly game. There were a lot of punts (no, really, look) and not a lot of points. The Cowboys came away with the win after Nick Foles put up a terrible performance before being knocked out of the game with a concussion injury. Rookie QB Matt Barkley saw his first NFL regular season action and didn't look great either. It was an ugly but significant win for Dallas, who then took control of the NFC East lead with the win.

A total of 70 days span the time between when the Eagles and Cowboys first met to this week's Sunday Night Football game kicks off. Since that game, many things have changed. Here are just a few examples:

• The Eagles are 6-2 in their last 8games. The Cowboys are 4-4.

• In the six weeks leading up to the first game, the Eagles were scoring 27.6 points per game and allowing 29.8 ppg. The Cowboys were scoring 30.5 ppg and allowing only 25.3 ppg. Now eight weeks after the first encounter, the Eagles are averaging 31.1 ppg scored and only 20.5 ppg allowed. The Cowboys are scoring 27.1 ppg and allowing 31.6 ppg.

• The Cowboys had impact linebacker Sean Lee playing in the first game, who was key in defending the Eagles offense. He helped limit LeSean McCoy to a mere 55 yards on the ground. Lee has been ruled out of Sunday's contest with a severe neck injury. That's a huge loss for a struggling Dallas defense.

• Another big loss for the Cowboys is their star quarterback Tony Romo. Romo wasn't exactly stellar in the first match-up, but he's clearly a better option than Kyle Orton.

• Nick Foles is officially the Eagles' starting quarterback now. In October, he was just making the second start of his 2013 campaign. He was horrible in that game: 11/29 (37.9%) for 80 yards (2.8 avg), 0 TD/INT for a 46.2 QB rating. It would be hard to get much worse than that. Now, Foles has a 63.92% completion percentage with an NFL leading 9 yards/attempt with 25 TD/2 INT and a 118.7 QB rating.

• "Since Week 10, the Eagles have the top offensive DVOA in the NFL. Since Week 10, the Cowboys have the worst defensive DVOA in the NFL." - Amazing stat from Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders.

• RB DeMarco Murray and DE DeMarcus Ware missed the first game. It should be noted the Eagles have not allowed a 100 yard rusher, save for Rashad Jennings in the Raiders game during garbage time. Ware is very much a significant addition for Dallas, though.

Riley Cooper has emerged as a viable second wide receiver. First 6 games: 12 catches, 105 yards, 2 TD. Last 8 games: 24 catches, 495 yards, 6 TD

Trent Cole has come alive. He's really been getting after the quarterback in recent weeks. First 6 games: 0 sacks, 11 tackles, 5 assists. Last 8 games: 8 sacks, 26 tackles, 5 assists

Bennie Logan is now a starter at nose tackle and Isaac Sopoaga is gone. Sopoaga was just a body at most. Logan is actually eating up blocks and getting pressure at times.

The stakes are high. This isn't just a battle for the NFC East lead; it's a battle for the playoffs. There's no question that the Eagles have been the better team recently. But will they be the better team on Sunday? It's hard not to feel good about their chances.

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