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Gameday: Can’t Get Much More Even Than Cowboys, Eagles

Posted Oct 15, 2013


Cowboys

It doesn’t get much more even than this. The 3-3 Cowboys, who are 2-0 in the division, face the 3-3 Eagles, who are 2-0 in the division. Both teams stand atop the NFC East in about as grandiose a matchup as possible in Week 7 of an NFL season, with the Cowboys attempting to win their first road game of the 2013 season after starting 0-2 away from home.

Dallas had been criticized in years past for a lack of a home field advantage. Well, the Cowboys are now 3-1 at home this year. The problem has been on the road, where they’ve played a resurgent Chiefs squad and a quick passing Chargers team. The Cowboys swept the Eagles last year in the regular season series, but this is a much different Eagles team with Chip Kelly at the helm.

Special teams could make the difference once again. If there’s anyone happy to see the Eagles, it’s probably Dwayne Harris. He has two punt return touchdowns in his career. The most recent one occurred last week against the Redskins, and his first came last year against the team the Cowboys will travel to see this weekend. Harris recorded a 78-yard punt return touchdown in the Cowboys’ win at Philadelphia last year. 

That game also featured a defense maligned for its inability to create turnovers finding a way to get the ball back. Brandon Carr had an interception return for a touchdown and Jason Hatcher had a fumble return for a touchdown. Both of those players played exceptionally well last week against the Redskins and will be needed if the Cowboys’ defense wants to prove the previous two weeks against the Chargers and Broncos were flukes.

Eagles

The Eagles share the same record in the league and the division as the Cowboys, but the way they got there is completely different. Dallas is 3-1 at home and 0-2 on the road, while the Eagles are 0-2 at home and 3-1 on the road this year. In fact, the Eagles haven’t won a home game since Week 4 of the 2012 season, spanning eight straight home losses.

Philadelphia will want to reverse that trend after three straight road games, in which the Eagles went 2-1. Those two wins came against Giants and Bucs teams that are still searching for their first victories of the season. The Eagles’ opponents in their three wins this year have a combined one win. Both the Cowboys’ and Eagles’ three losses this season have come against the Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos.

They’re two very evenly matched NFC East teams that will be meeting each other. Both have 45 penalties this season and rank in the top five in scoring average and in the bottom five in total defense. They both also have positive turnover margins at plus-four for the Cowboys and plus-two for the Eagles, and both boast a playmaking star receiver. DeSean Jackson has 34 catches for 589 yards and five touchdowns, while Dez Bryant has 34 catches for 459 yards and six touchdowns.

Both teams are also dealing with significant injuries. Michael Vick isn’t expected to return from his hamstring injury this weekend, meaning Nick Foles will be the quarterback again. The Cowboys saw Foles in both games last season, as Vick left the first matchup injured. Foles threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns without an interception last week against the Bucs. With LeSean McCoy, the NFL’s rushing leader this year, the Eagles still have plenty of offensive firepower.

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