Here Are The Eagles . . .

The Cowboys will have had two weeks to prepare for the Philadelphia Eagles by the time next Monday's showdown at Lincoln Financial Field rolls around - a meeting that will now no longer feature Terrell Owens. The Eagles will be looking to avoid getting swept by the Cowboys for the first time since 1998, which was also the last time the Cowboys have won in Philadelphia.

What's Up?

  • Terrell Owens' career with the Philadelphia Eagles might have come to an end thanks to Monday's three-game suspension and notification that he will be made inactive thereafter for the remainder of the season. But life for the Eagles (4-4) moves on without their star receiver, starting Monday night against the Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles are 3-0 this season, but could be without several key players because of injuries.
  • If the Eagles lose to the Cowboys, it will be the first time they have been below the .500 mark this late in the season since 1999, when they started the season 2-7. At this same point last season, the Eagles advanced to 8-1 by handing the Cowboys a 49-21 victory at Texas Stadium on Monday Night Football. Philadelphia, which has lost three of its last four games, is in desperate need of a victory against the Cowboys to begin climbing out of the NFC East cellar.

Statistical View

  • Through eight games, quarterback Donovan McNabb has already matched last season's interception total (eight).
  • The Eagles have recorded a league-low 469 rushing yards, exactly 100 yards behind the next lowest-ranked offense (Arizona). Running back Brian Westbrook recorded a season-high 17 carries against Washington, but for only 24 yards.
  • Receivers not named Terrell Owens have caught only five touchdowns in the Eagles' last 24 games.
  • One of the contributing reasons for Philadelphia's sub-par start to this season has been its defense's inability to recreate the pressure they have generated in years past. Philadelphia recorded a second-best 47 sacks last season, yet ranks 21st this year with 17 sacks.

Chalk Talk

  • Donovan McNabb has been sacked 17 times this season, which is the same number he suffered at this point last season. While the sack total is the same, teams have seemingly been able to pressure McNabb more consistently this season, oftentimes leading to poor decision-making on his part. McNabb's mobility within and outside the pocket has also been affected by his various injuries (groin, chest).
  • The Eagles must pay special attention to protecting McNabb against the Cowboys, especially considering he will not have Owens as an option in the passing game. Receivers Greg Lewis, Reggie Brown and Billy McMullen have all shown flashes of potential, but lack Owens' reputation for creating separation and getting open downfield. McNabb, who was sacked twice against Washington, may now have to wait longer for his passing options to open up.

Connections

  • Eagles linebacker Keith Adams - Started five games with the Cowboys in 2001 because of injuries at middle linebacker. Originally a seventh-round pick of Tennessee in 2001, Adams signed with the Cowboys after being released by the Titans that season. Adams, primarily a special teams player with the Cowboys, was released early in the 2002 season, and now starts at weak-side linebacker for the Eagles.
  • Eagles kicker Jose Cortez - Connected on 12-of-16 field goal attempts in seven games with the Cowboys this season. Released eight days after hitting a 45-yard field goal to defeat the New York Giants in overtime earlier this season, but now handles kickoffs for the Eagles.
  • Cowboys assistant head coach Sean Payton - Served as the Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach in the 1997-98 seasons, before joining the Giants in the same capacity the following year.

Miscellaneous

One Eagle flew the nest on Monday, but another was given a long-term extension to stay a while longer as Philadelphia handed kicker David Akers a contract extension through 2010. The signing came just one day after the Eagles inked running back Brian Westbrook to a contract extension . . . The Eagles' loss to Washington might prove more costly than first realized, as several key players suffered injuries. Starting center Hank Fraley has been placed on injured reserve with the shoulder injury he suffered against the Redskins. Special teams ace and backup linebacker Jason Short also was placed on injured reserve after suffering a season-ending fracture of the fibula. Tight end L.J. Smith left the game with a concussion, and his status for Monday's game against the Cowboys is questionable. The Eagles are concerned enough over that and backup tight end Stephen Spach's injured foot to have brought in veteran tight end Chad Lewis, who hasn't played since suffering a torn Lisfranc foot injury while making the game-clinching touchdown catch in last season's NFC title game. Listed as doubtful with a shoulder injury is starting defensive end N.D. Kalu. Free safety Brian Dawkins underwent an MRI because of a foot injury suffered in the game, though head coach Andy Reid is listing him as probable, along with several players, including Donovan McNabb (groin) and Jevon Kearse (shoulder).

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