The highly anticipated rematch between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys is finally here. It was only seventeen days ago that the Birds went down to Dallas to put a stomping on the Cowboys, 33-10. Now the teams are both 9-4 and looking to take control of the NFC East lead with just two games remaining.
If talk if any indication, there is no one looking forward to this rematch more than the Cowboys. Immediately following their loss on Thanksgiving, a number Dallas players were quick to say how they couldn't wait to play the Eagles again.
Well, now the Cowboys will get their chance. They will have the advantage of being well-rested considering they haven't played since December 4 while the Eagles last played on December 7. There won't be any excuses for Tony Romo's lack of proper preparation this time. Cowboys fans will also be quick to point out the fact their favorite team is undefeated on the road this season.
But despite the insistence that this game will be so different from the first meeting between these two teams, there is ample reason to believe it won't. According to Football Outsiders, teams losing by at least 20 points in a home meeting are just 17-36 (.321) in the road rematch.
Then there's the fact that the Eagles match up very well against their division rival. The Cowboys are a one-dimensional team. That's not meant to be an insult, because they are very good at what they do well, which is run the ball. Their run game opens up their passing attack and hides their below average defense. But if the run game doesn't get going, it all falls apart for the Cowboys. This was seen first-hand in the last game. If the Eagles run defense continues to be as solid as it has all season, there's reason to believe the Cowboys will face similar struggles.
The best plan for Dallas seems to involve taking chances through the air. It would certainly be surprising to see the Cowboys not challenge Philadelphia's secondary as often as they did last time. The only problem here is that more passing attempts means more opportunities for Romo to get hit and hurt more than he already is. The Eagles pass rush has been devastating at home.
Philadelphia's offense will be looking to rebound from a performance in Week 14 that left much to be desired. Mark Sanchez struggled with missed opportunities and generally looked gun shy against Seattle's top-ranked defense. Fortunately for him, the Dallas defense isn't as nearly as good. All of this talk about the Seahawks offering a "blueprint" for the Cowboys to shut down the Eagles offense is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Dallas simply does not have the personnel to do what Seattle does. Mark Sanchez will have open targets and LeSean McCoy will be able to find running room.
This is a huge game. The Eagles currently have a 73.4% chance of winning the NFC East. If they beat the Cowboys, that number goes up to 96.1%. All the Eagles will need to do to clinch is win one more game OR hope the Cowboys lose at least one more. If they lose to the Cowboys, it drops to 35.8%.
When you really think about it, there hasn't been a meaningful Eagles-Cowboys game since 44-6. The atmosphere at Lincoln Financial Field is going to be hostile and electric. The whole nation will be watching Sunday Night Football.
This one might end up being a little closer than last time, but I still think the Eagles win comfortably. I will take the Eagles 33 to 24, with Dallas scoring a garbage touchdown late in the game at 33-17.
What do you think? Will the Eagles come out on top?
Bold prediction: LeSean McCoy rushes for over 200+ yards