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Cowboys vs. Eagles 2014: Game Predictions

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It's Eagles-Cowboys game day. Who are you taking to win?

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The most highly anticipated match-up of the Philadelphia Eagles 2014 schedule is here. Eagles at Cowboys. In Dallas. On Thanksgiving. With the whole nation watching.

The implications of this game are obviously huge. Winner takes control of first place in the NFC East with a one game lead and also earns a tiebreaker advantage. Then again, that lead might not last for long. Both teams are scheduled to meet again in Philadelphia in just 17 days.

But for now, it's all about today. The Eagles will face a tougher test than they did last year when they marched into Dallas in the 2013 regular season finale. This time around the Cowboys offensive line is blocking better than before. Subsequently, Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray has more room to run than ever.

Shutting down the Dallas running game is absolutely critical for Philadelphia. Running the football is the foundation of the Cowboys' success. When the run game is going, Dallas hides their deficient defense and forces less pressure on quarterback Tony Romo. The good news for the Eagles is that they have the personnel to shut down the run. Philadelphia's front seven is filled with strong run defenders.

A concern for the Eagles is their weakened interior linebacker position. While there's no question Mychal Kendricks has been a stud, Casey Matthews just doesn't have the same kind of talent. Matthews has been generally serviceable while filling in for DeMeco Ryans but he could now be forced into a larger role with Emmanuel Acho possibly sitting out. Perhaps this is a game where first round Marcus Smith II is finally able to make an impact, but I wouldn't count on it.

Another concern for the Eagles is their secondary being exposed against a star wide receiver like Dez Bryant. It's absolutely imperative that Philadelphia not only shut down the running game but also find a way to hit Romo. Pressuring Romo isn't just good enough; it's no secret by now that he's very elusive. Philadelphia ranks second in the league in sack percentage so there's certainly optimism for their pass rush.

The Eagles special teams unit could play a role in this game. Dallas' special teams unit is missing two of their best players. The Cowboys have been vulnerable to allowing yards on punt returns. Darren Sproles is absolutely worth keeping an eye on.

The Eagles should be able to move the ball on offense. The key will be limiting turnovers and executing in the red zone. That has been easier said than done for this Philly squad. A big day from LeSean McCoy would go well towards taking some of the pressure off of Mark Sanchez.

This contest has the makings of a close game. Both teams seem to match up pretty well. Win or lose, it's going to be heck of a game.

What do you think? Will the Eagles come out on top?

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Score prediction:
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My predictions:

Score prediction: Eagles 31, Cowboys 27
Bold prediction: Tony Romo throws a game-losing pick-six