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Looking Ahead

!A 91-yard touchdown by DeSean Jackson proved key in last year's Week 13 win at Dallas.

  • WHAT: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
    WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 24, 3:15 p.m. (CT)
    WHERE: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas
    SERIES: Cowboys lead series, 59-45*
  • Decembers To Remember. The phrase "December swoon" has become a well-known part of the Cowboys' lexicon, and the Eagles have had a lot to do with that in recent years. The teams have squared off in the final month of the regular season in each of the last five years, with Philadelphia winning four of those six meetings. Additionally, the league scheduled a Cowboys-Eagles game for Week 17 in each of the past three seasons. This time, the contest is set for a Saturday afternoon, Christmas Eve. * Home Sweet Home? Historically, NFC East games on the road are very tough to win, so the Cowboys will have to play better at home this season if they hope to rebound. In the first year of Cowboys Stadium, the club went 7-2 at home, including a playoff win over the Eagles, but in 2010 that record dipped to a dreadful 2-6. Week 16 against Philadelphia marks the close of the 2011 home schedule, with the Cowboys traveling to New York in the regular-season finale. * Same Season, Different Teams. By Christmas Eve it will have been nearly two months since the Cowboys and Eagles first played each other on Oct. 30, and the clubs may be playing completely different. For Philadelphia, quarterback Michael Vick has a history of injuries, so the Eagles could be tempting fate if they indeed trade backup Kevin Kolb. The late-season health of both teams is sure to be a huge factor. Match-Up Worth Watching:
    !Given all the extra attention the Cowboys will have to pay Vick, running back LeSean McCoy could be especially dangerous. In one game against them last year, McCoy had 149 rushing yards on just 16 carries, including a 56-yarder. He didn't kill them out of the backfield as a receiver, but defenses should always look out for him in passing situations. McCoy caught 78 passes for 592 yards last year, so the Cowboys' linebackers will have to do a good job locking him down when he slips out into a route.

Eagles' Draft Review:
Philadelphia is banking on 27-year-old first-round pick Danny Watkins to start at guard right away, but by the end of the season, a few of their other 10 selections could have carved out roles for themselves. Temple safety Jaiquawn Jarrett could emerge as a starter alongside Nate Allen, while Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews may have a job in subpackages. Offensively, little running back Dion Lewis of Pitt could provide a change of pace.

Last Meeting:
Though their first meeting in 2011 will come midway through the schedule, in Week 8, it will only be the Cowboys' second game against an NFC East rival in 2011. Even by then, the 2010 finale will be forgotten. Facing an Eagles team with nothing to play for, the Cowboys barely squeaked out a victory over mostly backups. Of course, Dallas had a number of reserves playing themselves, as nine players finished the year on injured reserve, including Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Marcus Spears. Quarterbacked by third-stringer Stephen McGee, the Cowboys won 14-13 on a last-minute touchdown pass to Jason Witten.

One To Remember:
!In the second of three consecutive Week 17 matchups between the clubs, the Cowboys shut out the Eagles 24-0 on Jan. 3, 2010 to claim the NFC East title, the 21st division crown in team history. After blanking Washington a week earlier, the victory over Philly represented the only time a Cowboys defense had ever pitched back-to-back shutouts. The unit terrorized Donovan McNabb, sacking him four times, including two takedowns by Anthony Spencer, and limiting him to just 223 yards on 36 throws. Offensively, Tony Romo threw for 311 yards with two touchdowns, and Marion Barber and Felix Jones each ran for 91 yards, as Jones capped the scoring with a 49-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter.

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