IRVING, Texas – It's a universal truth in the NFL that divisional opponents are the most familiar ones – they show up on the schedule twice a year, after all.
Even if that's true, this week still presents a unique situation. Sunday's Cowboy-Eagles game will be the second meeting between the two teams in the last three weeks. In a bit of a departure from the norm, both the Cowboys and Eagles have only played one game since that last matchup.
"It's interesting because there's only one game in between, so it's only one more film that you get to see, plus what they did to you the first time," said Travis Frederick. "You kind of get to study a little bit deeper into that, because there's not as much volume."
Quick turnarounds in divisional rivalries aren't entirely new. In 2012, the Cowboys played the Eagles just three weeks apart – with just two opponents in between. The same thing happened in 2011, against the Giants, when the two teams played in Week 14 and Week 17.
In this instance, though, both the Cowboys and Eagles have played just one opponent since their last meeting. Dallas downed the Bears on Dec. 4, and the Eagles lost to Seattle on Sunday afternoon. That's just one game of tape since the Eagles' 33-10 victory on Thanksgiving Day.
"That's great – keep it fresh. That's great," said Brandon Carr. "We just saw you a couple weeks ago, it's still fresh in our minds, the way we played in that game. It's a great opportunity for us to get back at them."
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett acknowledged the odd nature of the scheduling, but he returned to the familiar logic about division opponents. This will be Garrett's 10th game against Philadelphia as the Cowboys' head coach, and his third game against the Eagles since Chip Kelly was hired.
This is familiar territory.
"It's a familiar opponent, anyway. They're a division opponent who we spend a lot of time studying in the off-season, try to get familiar with their personnel and their schemes," Garrett said. "It is funny that we're playing quickly, within two weeks of the previous game, but you just go back to work and you use the information that you have and you try to put your best plan together."
As Frederick pointed out, that shouldn't be too difficult given the circumstances. It's common in football to say that teams change over the course of a season. With just 17 days between meetings, though, that's not going to be the case in Philadelphia.
"The tendencies and things that you learn from all those previous games are already there, so you're just building on top of that," Frederick said. "It might even give you an advantage, because they can't have changed that much in two weeks. There are going to be adjustments, but the team is the team at this point."