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Phillips: Eagles-'Boys Chirping Is Fun, But Another Rival Needs Attention First

IRVING, Texas – In case you're curious, the Cowboys and Eagles play in exactly 97 days. That's Sept. 20 in your calendars. September 20th. 9/20/15.

Think both teams have that division feud circled? Certain players might, at least. The media absolutely does, because some mild chirping has fed scribes layup headlines in a typically sparse spring and early summer.

First, there was the "meat on the bone" debate sparked by Joseph Randle's mostly innocuous comments – more likely a public attempt to display confidence as DeMarco Murray's projected successor than an outright jab at Murray's rushing efficiency last year – and Murray's mostly indifferent response as the well-received, well-compensated new starter in Philadelphia.

Now comes this from Eagles seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle (and Texas native) Jason Peters: a declaration that the Cowboys' offensive line featuring three All-Pros "can't touch" Philly's starting five.

"They're the Cowboys," Peters told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "Everything they do is pumped up. It's America's Team. Everything they do is overemphasized. When Shady (LeSean McCoy) was the leading rusher, they weren't saying we were the best offensive line.

"Don't get me wrong, they're a good, solid offensive line. But guy for guy, they can't touch us."

Friendly reminder, fans: The game is Sept. 20. That's September 20th. 9/20/15.

Wouldn't expect much of a response from Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin and the guys. They seem like the strong silent type, and head coach Jason Garrett's teams aren't known much for bulletin board material.

Besides, good-natured back and forth between these teams isn't new. Last November, Eagles defensive tackle Bennie Logan called the Cowboys' O-Line "OK."

"I don't really know what's great about them," he said.

On the Cowboys' side, remember ex-defensive coordinator/quote king Rob Ryan's "all-hype team" line in August 2011? The Eagles had garnered early Super Bowl billing when they acquired five big-name players in a week's span during training camp: Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jason Babin and Vince Young.

After practice on the Alamodome field, Ryan disagreed. Strongly.

"We're going to beat their ass when we play them," he growled.

They didn't. But goooooood times.

Again, this stuff is great for June. The ratings in September will be high, and they should be, because both teams have exciting, playoff-caliber rosters.

But for now, the Cowboys must focus on themselves during this week's minicamp and in training camp when the pads come on.

Eventually, they must focus on another NFC East rival first:

The New York Giants.

Glance up one line from Sept. 20 on the 2015 regular-season schedule. Yup, Week One, Sunday night, Sept. 13, primetime at AT&T Stadium – the week before the Cowboys and Eagles throw down at the Linc.

The Giants aren't getting much attention from a 6-10 finish in 2014, their second consecutive losing record. But it's a proud franchise with a demanding head coach (Tom Coughlin), a Super Bowl quarterback (Eli Manning), a superhero at receiver (Odell Beckham Jr.), and talent on defense (Jason Pierre-Paul, Jon Beason, Devon Kennard) with Steve Spagnuolo returning to run it. They're 4-2 at AT&T Stadium, and the smart money is they'll be improved this year.

The team the Cowboys will prep for first in Oxnard, Calif., won't be the Eagles. It'll be their first opponent:

The Giants on Sept. 13.

That's September 13th. 9/13/15.

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