Tale Of The Tape: Philadelphia Eagles At Dallas Cowboys
- QuarterbackThe Eagles come into this championship showdown on a roll after overpowering the Bears 54-11. Confidence is high in the Eagles camp as Nick Foles has been a remarkably accurate and effective quarterback. Foles is completing 63.9 percent of his passes and his 25-2 TD-interception ratio has given head coach Chip Kelly the confidence that his quarterback is a difference maker and a winner.Once again the Cowboys find themselves in an end-of-regular-season showdown that will either allow them to go to the playoffs or go home. Tony Romo authored the winning drive in the final seconds, but a herniated disk will likely keep him out and force Kyle Orton into the lineup. Orton has thrown just five passes this season.
- OffenseThe Eagles are one of the most creative teams in the league and Kelly deserves credit for designing a system that takes advantage of the team’s athleticism and speed. LeSean McCoy is a gamebreaking running back who can take over the game as a runner or a receiver, while DeSean Jackson has explosive speed. Brent Celek, Riley Cooper and Zach Ertz are all dependable pass catchers.The Cowboys have suffered from awkward play calling all season. While DeMarco Murray has rushed for 1,073 yards and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry, he often disappears from Jason Garrett’s play calling and that has cost the Cowboys in several games this season. Dez Bryant has excellent hands and can dominate with his playmaking while tight end Jason Witten is at his best in big games.
- DefenseThe Eagles came up with a big defensive effort against the Bears, but that’s not indicative of the way they have played most of the season. The Eagles give up big chunks of yardage and rank 30th in yards allowed. Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans has a team-high 120 tackles and he also has 4.0 sacks. Defensive end Trent Cole leads the Eagles with 8.0 sacks.The Cowboys have been awful on defense this season, ranking 32nd in yards allowed. Linebacker DeMarcus Ware has been troubled by injuries throughout the season and is no longer the dominating player he has been in the past. MLB Sean Lee (neck) is the Cowboys’ best all-around player but he may not be able to play in this game.
- Special TeamsThe Eagles have struggled badly on special teams, as they have given up one punt and two kickoff returns for touchdowns this season. They rarely threaten to make big plays themselves, but Jackson has explosive speed. Alex Henery is an average kicker, making 22-of-27 FG attempts.The Cowboys are the only NFC East team that has played well on special teams this year. They are the only team in the foursome that has not given up a touchdown on a punt or a kickoff. Placekicker Dan Bailey has been quite sharp, making 25-of-27 FG attempts.
The Cowboys may be playing at home, but the Eagles have been more consistent in the second half of the season. The loss of Romo puts the Cowboys at a major disadvantage. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor