Demarcus Ware is expected to miss Sunday's game while Nick Foles makes his second consecutive start. Photo Courtesy of NFL.com
Perhaps since 2009 has there been a meeting between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys that provided similar meaning to this Week 7 game.
The Eagles and Cowboys, a long-storied rivalry, a must-win in the eyes of Eagles fans everywhere, is here and it’s a battle of two 3-3 teams, both tied atop the NFC East.
Obviously with such a storied rivalry and the high stakes, the matchup doesn’t need any more drama. But Michael Vick’s joint press conference with Sunday’s starter Nick Foles shows that the Eagles are caught in the middle of a quarterback controversy.
Foles is coming off a Week 6 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where his individual numbers earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. However, Foles performance has been questions because of the opposition. This is Foles first true test and with a solid performance, it may leave Chip Kelly no choice but to keep him as the starting quarterback.
The Eagles are not nearly as battered a team as Dallas. Early in the week it was known that running back DeMarco Murray and defensive end Demarcus Ware are likely out with injury. Wide receiver Miles Austin also did not participate in practice for most of this week.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, has a healthy running back in LeSean McCoy. DeSean Jackson is a receiver who normally elevates his game when facing division rivals. Riley Cooper is coming off a career game on Sunday.
The Cowboys still have receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten as the top targets for Tony Romo. The Cowboys offense, even without Murray, is far from the problem.
The Eagles possess the worst team defense in the NFL by yards allowed. The second-worst team defense belongs to the Cowboys.
Still, the Dallas defense may be in the better position to contain the Eagles offense. To fill the void of Ware, the Cowboys may rely heavily on Nick Hayden. The linebacking core of Sean Lee, Bruce Carter and Justin Durant are going to be heavily relied on to stop McCoy.
For Jackson and the Eagles receivers, Morris Claiborne and J.J. Wilcox power the Dallas secondary.
It is not a great defense, but it is more than the Eagles can claim. Either way, the offenses will be the focus and the quarterbacks will be in the spotlight. If either defense can impact the game, that team will likely find a way to win.
- RB Chris Polk (shoulder) is out for today's game.
- S Patrick Chung (shoulder) is doubtful for today’s game.
- QB Michael Vick (hamstring) is questionable for today’s game.
- TE James Casey (groin) is probable for today’s game.
- P Donnie Jones (foot) is probable for today’s game.
- T Jason Peters (shoulder) is probable for today’s game.
- RB Lance Dunbar (hamstring) is out for today’s game.
- DE Edgar Jones (groin) is out for today’s game.
- LB DeVonte Holloman (neck) is out for today’s game.
- DE Demarcus Ware (quadriceps) is doubtful for today’s game. Ware did not practice this week.
- RB DeMarco Murray (knee) is doubtful for today's game. Murray did not practice this week.
- DT Jason Hatcher (neck) is questionable for today’s game. Hatcher was limited in practice this week.
- DE George Selvie (shoulder) is probable for today’s game.
- WR Dwayne Harris (hip) is probable for today’s game.
- WR Miles Austin (hamstring) is probable for today’s game. Austin did not practice this week.
Nick Foles is averaging 8.9 yards per attempt and posted a 133.3 quarterback rating while Eagles running backs ran all over the Buccaneers last Sunday to the tune of a 5.5 yards per carry average. Against a Cowboys defense that ranks 30th in the league, today could be the day that Foles and Chip Kelly truly endeer themselves to the Philadelphia fanbase.
Eagles 37, Cowboys 30
Eagles 24, Cowboys 38
Eagles 27, Cowboys 17
I think the stars lineup for an Eagles victory. The Cowboys are hurting, the Eagles have the home field advantage, and they are feeling good after last week's victory. Michael Vick and Nick Foles showed this week there in no quarterback controversy on the Eagles, just teamwork.
Eagles 34, Cowboys 31
This is the first week I'm not 100% confident in my prediction. While the Eagles will have some momentum coming off Nick Foles' impressive performance, the Cowboys have more ability than they're letting on. We all like to poke fun at Tony Romo, but he can truly take a game into his hands and dominate. Ultimately, it feels like an Eagles victory is coming, as well as a noteworthy Nick Foles showing.
Eagles 34, Cowboys 37
The two worst defenses in the league? It’s going to be an offensive shootout. I expect another solid game from Nick Foles. But in predictable fashion, the defense will not be able to make a timely stop while defending a slim lead. Contrary to popular belief – and I hope I’m wrong – there will be no late-game turnover from Tony Romo and the Cowboys will scoring in the final two minutes to grab a lead. It will be Foles and the Eagles with the late-game turnover as they try to rush up the field to score.