The Philadelphia Eagles 2015 regular season football schedule resumes this week with a huge division game. It's absolutely a must-win situation The Eagles are set to play the Cowboys on Sunday, Nov. 8 in Dallas. In preparation for the game, I reached out to our friends over at Blogging The Boys. Dave Halprin kindly took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming contest. Let's take a look at the answers.
1) To what extent do you still have hope for this Cowboys team after they’ve lost five games in a row? Will you consider the Cowboys’ season "over" if they lose to the Eagles on Sunday night?
I still have hope, only because nobody else in the NFC East has run away with the division yet, and we are 2-1 inside the division. That leaves the door open for the Cowboys to still make a run. It's strange, the Cowboys are 2-5 but don't seem to be as bad as their record. The defense has found its footing and is actually playing well, with the defensive line becoming a force. The running game has started to gel. So it really comes down to the QB. We won't have Tony Romo for two more weeks, but we really need wins over those two games, starting with Sunday night. If we lose that game, it probably won't be 100% over for Dallas, but maybe 99% over.
2) The Cowboys didn’t have Dez Bryant the first time these two teams played earlier this season. Bryant only finished with two receptions for 12 yards against Seattle last week, but it didn’t seem like he was 100%. Do you expect him to be a bigger threat this week?
Yes, he should be much better this week. He was obviously not himself physically last week. I think now that he's had a game and a couple of weeks of practices under his belt, he'll be much more himself on Sunday night. Also, the Seahawks had Richard Sherman all over him and Sherman lived up to his reputation in the game. The big question is can Matt Cassel get him the ball in positions to do some damage.
3) The Dallas offensive line drew a lot of hype heading into this season. La’el Collins said the Cowboys were going to have the best offensive line in NFL history. How would you assess the Cowboys’ offensive line play this season?
The offensive line started out a little slow, they didn't seem to be in sync early on. Also, Ronald Leary was injured and he never got back to playing as well as he did last year. But over the last few weeks the Cowboys line is back. Moving La'el Collins into the starting role at left guard changed a lot. He's been a devastating run blocker and looks like he will be as good as his reputation was coming into the draft. The Cowboys line is hitting on all cylinders now and is clearly one of the better units in the league. Right now, they look as good as they did last year.
4) The Eagles weren’t able to get anything going on offense when these teams played in Week 2. The Cowboys defense currently ranks 17th overall by Football Outsiders and 20th in opponent yards per play. Are you confident the Cowboys will be able to stop the Eagles’ offense?
The Cowboys defense is much better than it was over the first part of the season. Much of that has to do with Greg Hardy getting on the field after his suspension. He's as good as advertised on the field and has really transformed the Cowboys front four. DeMarcus Lawrence is also getting better as the season rolls on. The Cowboys secondary still isn't great, but it has been adequate. The defense the Eagles saw in week two was not as good as the defense we've seen in recent weeks. Of course, having said that, they could easily look terrible on Sunday night, it's not like they are dominant. But they are much improved.
5) Can you name one matchup that really favors the Cowboys and one that really favors the Eagles?
The one for the Eagles is easy, an opportunistic defense that creates turnovers against a backup QB who turned the ball over a lot when he tried to do anything but throw checkdown passes. Matt Cassel has not proved he can move the offense through the air without turning the ball over, so look out if he is forced to pass a lot to make things happen. For the Cowboys, probably their offensive line and the run game. I have a lot of respect for the Eagles front seven, but the Cowboys line is playing at a very high level and has been able to run the ball a lot better lately. They've also been very good in pass protection, giving the backup QBs plenty of time in the pocket. Unfortunately the backup QBs have wasted it.
Bonus: Who will win this game and why?
The Cowboys will win, because if they don't I may have to start looking at the offseason. I can't handle that yet!