IRVING, Texas – Both of my biggest matchups from this rematch center around the passing game. The Cowboys failed to register any kind of passing threat on Thanksgiving, and I think they have to change that if they're going to have a chance at a win.
On the other side, as good as Philadelphia's running game was two weeks ago, there are plays to be made by Mark Sanchez if he has time. I expect the Eagles to try to soften up the run defense by looking to win matchups against the Dallas secondary.
Cowboys WR Cole Beasley against Eagles CB Brandon Boykin
I believe we will see a much different gameplan from these Cowboys coaches in the way they attack this Eagles defense. Their plan should be to spread them out with multiple wide receivers and make them have to match up across the board.
A battle to keep an eye on Sunday night is Cole Beasley working against nickel man Brandon Boykin. Of all the Eagles cornerbacks, Boykin is the one I feel like has the best cover ability down-after-down, but Beasley will certainly be able to test him. Defensive coordinator Billy Davis is not going to allow Tony Romo to feel comfortable in the pocket, so getting the ball out before the rush gets there is going to be a key -- and this is where I believe Beasley can certainly help.
What is good about this matchup for the Cowboys is Beasley's ability to find space in the secondary quickly. He can be very difficult to cover off the line because of how explosive he can be. Beasley puts a great deal of stress on a corner because of his ability to break them down in his first two steps -- as well as having to deal with him in the open field. Look for these coaches to take full advantage of what they have in Cole Beasley by moving him all over the formation to create situations where he can inflict the most damage to this Eagles defense.
Cowboys S Barry Church against Eagles TE Zach Ertz
The last time these two clubs met, Zach Ertz had one pass thrown in his direction and it was perfectly defensed by Barry Church in the front corner of the end zone.
Mark Sanchez, to have only thrown the ball to Ertz one time in a game, is quite remarkable considering how many snaps he plays and the routes they run with him to create matchup problems. In this rematch Sunday night in Philadelphia, I expect Chip Kelly and Mark Sanchez will attempt to get Ertz more involved in the offensive game plan and it will once again be up to Church to be right there when the play happens.
What makes Ertz so difficult to deal with is that he doesn't always line up as a true tight end. Kelly likes to flex him out or in tight bunch formations and allow him to work from there. He is a physically gifted player that, when coming off the line and working down the field, is like covering a wide receiver and for a safety to have to carry a player like that all night is never easy. Look for Church to get up on Ertz and play him extremely tight in not allowing him free access off the line.
Church is going to physically hammer on Ertz by making him have to fight to get into his routes, which would take a reliable option away from Sanchez. Should be a good matchup at that spot.