*ROLANDO'S CONTRACT CONUNDRUM: What are the Cowboys plans for paying Rolando McClain next year? How much will it take? How much can the cap bear? CowboysHQ.com has a Premium look at the options with Rolando McClain here. For serious Cowboys fans only!
*FOUR KEYS TO BEATING PHILLY: The Cowboys are running double-huddles with their offensive scout teams to try to mimic the Eagles pace. And that pace is one of our four keys to Thursday's game. Get the Cowboys-Eagles keys here.
*ROSTER/INJURY UPDATE: Tony Romo is doing his regular work this week -- much of it mental. "I’m going to wear out the mental side of it to get ready, to have the Eagles (prep) down cold by the time we get (to Thursday),'' Romo said. ... Jack Crawford and Jeff Heath underwent thumb surgeries on Tuesday, neither expected to be season-ending. But Terrell McClain is getting more reps at DT and Jakar Hamilton is getting some second-team safety work ... Receiver Terrance Williams will play with a splint on his finger ... Sources tell CowboysHQ.com that Josh Brent is still spending most of his time on scout team, not on the second team, meaning he will likely not be on the 46-man on Thursday.
The Cowboys have had 10 8-3 teams in club history. All 10 teams made the playoffs.
The Cowboys are 62-63-1 in their “cursed blue” uniforms.
This is the first time since 1989 that the Dallas Cowboys will play the Eagles on Thanksgiving, also known as the infamous “Bounty Bowl.”
The Cowboys have worn their blue jerseys 16 times against the Philadelphia Eagles, the third-most against any team. The two teams ahead of Philadelphia are Washington (29) and the Cardinals (21).
Dallas is 6-10 against Philadelphia in their blue jerseys, the worst record against any of the Cowboys’ NFC East rivals.
The Cowboys are 2-0 against the Eagles in November when wearing their blue jerseys.
The Dallas Cowboys hold a 36-21 record over the Philadelphia Eagles at home. Here is the breakdown by venue:
Cotton Bowl: 6-4
Texas Stadium: 27-14
AT&T Stadium: 3-3
The last time the Cowboys defeated the Eagles at home to open up the season series was 2008 with a 41-37 win on Monday Night Football.
The last time the Cowboys lost to the Eagles in November was 11/15/04 when Philadelphia demolished Dallas 49-21 on Monday Night Football in Texas Stadium.
Tony Romo is 10-4 in the “cursed blue” jerseys and owns the franchise’s highest winning percentage in the supposedly hexed uniforms:
Tony Romo: 10-4
Roger Staubach: 9-7
Danny White: 12-10
Don Meredith: 6-5-1
Steve Pelluer: 3-3
Craig Morton: 3-4
Troy Aikman: 10-14
Steve Pelluer: 3-3
Drew Bledsoe: 1-3
Quincy Carter: 1-5
Steve Walsh: 1-0
Jason Garrett: 1-0
Glenn Carano: 1-0
Kevin Sweeney: 1-0
Vinny Testaverde: 1-0
Randall Cunningham: 1-1
Gary Hogeboom: 0-3
John Roach: 0-1
Anthony Wright: 0-1
Chad Hutchinson: 0-1
Brad Johnson: 0-1
When Romo has thrown the ball 30 or more times in a game, the Cowboys are 44-40. The 44 wins are the seventh-most by a quarterback since 2006.
Romo has an 85.7 passer rating against the Eagles, second only to Eli Manning’s 88.3 since 2006.
Philadelphia has sacked Romo 27 times, which is their second-most sacked passer since 2006. For Romo, the Eagles’ 27 sacks against him are second behind only the Giants.
The worst passer rating of Romo’s career, a 22.2 mark on 12/16/07, was recorded against the Eagles at home in a 10-6 loss.
Philadelphia owns four out of Romo’s bottom-10 passer ratings, all of which occurred from 2006-08 when the late Jim Johnson coordinated the Eagles’ defense.
Romo’s best passer rating as a starter, a 150.5 outing, occurred against the Eagles on 12/2/12 in a 38-33 victory.
The best passer rating Romo ever had in a road blue jersey happened in Philadelphia on 11/4/07 when he compiled a 141.7 rating in a 38-17 win.
2/4 of Romo’s 80.0 percent passer rating games have occurred against the Eagles.
With a win Thursday, Romo has a chance to lead the franchise in most career wins on Thanksgiving. Here is the list of how other Cowboys quarterbacks have fared:
Don Meredith: 3-0
Craig Morton: 1-1-1
Roger Staubach: 4-2
Danny White: 6-1
Steve Pelluer: 0-2
Troy Aikman: 5-5
Steve Beuerlein: 1-0
Jason Garrett: 1-0
Ryan Leaf: 0-1
Chad Hutchinson: 0-1
Quincy Carter: 0-1
Drew Henson: 0-1
Drew Bledsoe: 0-1
Jon Kitna: 0-1
Tony Romo: 6-1
Last year against Oakland was the only year Romo threw less than two touchdown passes on Thanksgiving. On average, Romo tosses three touchdowns on Turkey Day.
Mark Sanchez is 2-2 on Thursdays with a 1-1 record home and away and a 1-1 record on Thanksgiving, also home and away.
Sanchez has a 79.9 passer rating on Thursdays, going 18/30 for 206 yards, one touchdown, and one interception on average.
When Sanchez has thrown 20 or more times in a game, his teams have gone 31-32.
Sanchez is 16-17 on the road with a 2-4 record in the Central Time Zone.
Sanchez is 1/6 first-round quarterbacks from USC to not finish his career with the team that drafted him. The only USC QB to do so was Todd Marinovich, who only played two years with the Los Angeles Raiders.
Since 2011, the Cowboys are 1-2 against the Eagles when DeMarco Murray plays versus 2-1 without him.
The Eagles are the only NFC East team against whom Murray has not had a 100-yard day.
The second-highest yards-per-carry game of Murray’s career (9.25) occurred in Philadelphia on 10/30/11, though Dallas lost 34-7.
The Cowboys are 4-0 against the NFC East when Murray scores a rushing touchdown.
Against 3-4 defenses, Murray averages 4.10 yards per carry.
9/22 of Murray’s rushing touchdowns have occurred against 3-4 defenses.
The highest number of carries in Murray’s career (31 against Houston) happened against a 3-4 defense.
Murray hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown in the past four games. Since becoming the starting running back, the last time Murray had a four-game dry spell was in 2011. Dallas similarly went 2-2.
Against the Giants, Murray rushed 24 times, the most he had rushed since facing the Giants in October when he carried the ball 28 times.
DeMarco Murray has run away with the league lead in rushing yards at 1,354. Here is a breakdown of Murray’s yards and scores by running lane:
Left end – 30 carries, 204 yards
Left tackle – 57 carries, 294 yards, one touchdown
Left guard – 27 carries, 113 yards
Middle – 44 carries, 153 yards, two touchdowns
Right guard – 31 carries, 150 yards, two touchdowns
Right tackle – 58 carries, 273 yards, one touchdown
Right end – 21 carries, 167 yards, one touchdown
Speaking of DeMarco: CowboysHQ takes you inside the team's contract talks with him, with news that includes a shift in policy, some specific dollars and sense, and out feel where the conversation involving the NFL's leading rusher will land. Premium stuff ... and a great time to take our free 7-day trial and a sign-up for just pennies a day!
This is the seventh back-to-back division swing of Garrett’s career. Here is how he fared when facing NFC East teams in consecutive weeks:
2010 – PHI (L), WAS (W)
2011 – PHI (L), @NYG (L)
2012 – WAS (L), PHI (W)
2013 – WAS (W), @PHI (W)
2013 – @WAS (W), PHI (L)
2014 – NYG (W), WAS (L-OT)
This is the fifth Thanksgiving game of Garrett’s coaching tenure. Here is how his teams have performed in the pre-Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving games:
2010 – @NYG (W), NO (L)
2011 – @WAS (W-OT), MIA (W)
2012 – CLE (W-OT), WAS (L)
2013 – NYG (W), Raiders (W)
Garrett is 4-4 against the Philadelphia Eagles, his worst record against a divisional opponent. Here is how Garrett compares to other Cowboys coaches against the Eagles through their first eight games (where applicable):
Tom Landry: 2-6
Jimmy Johnson: 2-6
Barry Switzer: 6-2
Bill Parcells: 3-5
Jason Garrett: 4-4
Garrett is 1-3 against the Eagles at home, his worst record against any divisional opponent:
New York: 2-2
Garrett is 0-1 against divisional rivals on Thanksgiving with the lone game being a 38-31 loss to Washington in 2012.
Here’s a list of the Cowboys head coaches’ records on Thanksgiving:
Tom Landry: 14-6-1
Jimmy Johnson: 3-2
Barry Switzer: 3-1
Chan Gailey: 1-1
Dave Campo: 1-2
Bill Parcells: 2-2
Wade Phillips: 3-0
Jason Garrett: 2-2
Chip Kelly has gone 1-1 against the Dallas Cowboys in his first two games. Here is how he compares to other Eagles head coaches (where applicable):
Nick Skorich: 2-0
Joe Kuharich: 2-0
Jerry Williams: 0-2
Ed Khayat: 0-2
Mike McCormack: 1-1
Dick Vermeil: 0-2
Marion Campbell: 0-2
Buddy Ryan: 1-1
Rich Kotite: 1-1
Ray Rhodes: 1-1
Andy Reid: 1-1
Chip Kelly: 1-1
Through eight games, Kelly is 5-3 in the NFC East. This is the best an Eagles head coach has done through his first eight games since Ray Rhodes, who went 7-1 in 1995.
Kelly is 3-0 on the road in the NFC East. The last head coach in the division to have that kind of start was Chan Gailey in 1998.
Last year, Kelly’s Eagles were 2-0 against the division and then sustained their first division loss against the Cowboys.
A win Thursday would give Kelly a two-game winning streak to start his career in AT&T Stadium. The last coach to do that was Tom Coughlin, who rode it out to a four-game winning streak.
Since Week 1, 2013, Kelly has started three different quarterbacks and gone 18-10, including playoffs. Seven other teams have started four different quarterbacks in the same span, but only the Eagles have a better winning percentage.
In Thursday games, Kelly is 0-1 with a 26-16 loss on the road last year in Kansas City.
With the University of Oregon, Kelly was 5-0 on Thursdays. Here is the breakdown by location:
Kelly’s offense has put up 40 or more points four times since 2013, tying them for third-most in the league. Only the Broncos (eight) and Patriots (seven) have had more 40-or-more games.
Since 2006, when Thursday NFL games ramped up, home teams are 50-39.
Only the Detroit Lions have played more Thursday games (73) than the Dallas Cowboys (48). However, the Lions only have three more wins on Thursday than the Cowboys (33).
The Dallas Cowboys are 29-16-1 on Thanksgiving. Here is a breakdown by decade:
Philadelphia actually used to be a host city for Thanksgiving games from 1939-40. In both games, the Eagles hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers, splitting the series 1-1.
The Eagles are 4-1 on Thanksgiving.
Here’s a list of Cowboys quarterback Thanksgiving records:
Most Touchdowns: 5 (Romo, ’06)
Most Passing Yards: 455 (Aikman, ’98)
Most Completions: 37 (Romo, ’12)
Most Attempts: 62 (Romo, ’12)
Best Completion %: 77.4% (White, ’83)
Most INTs: 3 (Morton, ‘69; White, ’87; Aikman, ’89; Carter, ’03)
Best Passer Rating: Tony Romo, 148.9
Worst Passer Rating: Roger Staubach, 1.7
Best Record — Danny White, Tony Romo: 6-1
Youngest Starter: Troy Aikman, 23
Oldest Starter: Jon Kitna, 38
Here’s a list of the Top 10 Cowboys Passer Ratings on Thanksgiving:
1. Tony Romo — 148.9 (2006)
2. Roger Staubach — 141.4 (1971)
3. Tony Romo — 121.2 (2009)
4. Tony Romo — 113.7 (2008)
5. Troy Aikman — 113.0 (1995)
6. Don Meredith — 110.0 (1967)
7. Jason Garrett — 109.6 (1994)
8. Danny White — 109.2 (1983)
9. Danny White — 108.2 (1985)
10. Danny White — 103.4 (1982)
From 2000-2006, the Dallas Cowboys rolled out seven different starting quarterbacks for Thanksgiving (Troy Aikman, ’00; Ryan Leaf, ’01; Chad Hutchinson, ’02; Quincy Carter, ’03; Drew Henson, ’04; Drew Bledsoe, ’05; Tony Romo, ’06)
In 1975 and 1977, the St. Louis Cardinals replaced the Dallas Cowboys as a Thanksgiving game host with unfavorable results.
The longest Thanksgiving winning streak the Cowboys had was from 1980 to 1985. Their longest losing streak is from 1986 to 1989.
In 1983 and in 1985, the Dallas Cowboys beat the St. Louis Cardinals on CBS with each score being 35-17.
The Dallas Cowboys’ biggest Thanksgiving win was a 51-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
In 1989 and 1990, the Dallas Cowboys played two NFC East teams back to back (Eagles, Redskins).
The Dallas Cowboys were shutout by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1989 and then pitched their own against the Miami Dolphins in 1999. Troy Aikman started both contests.
The Cowboys are 6-4 on FOX on Turkey Day and are on a two-game losing streak. Here is how they fare on all networks involved since 1966:
The Detroit Lions are 9-22-2 on CBS on Thanksgiving. Here is how they have performed on all networks involved:
Pat Summerall and John Madden have called the most Thanksgiving games in Dallas together with 11. Here is a list of how the other commentator pairings have fared:
Pat Summerall-John Madden (CBS/FOX): 11
Joe Buck-Troy Aikman (FOX): 6
Dick Enberg-Merlin Olsen (NBC): 6
Jim Nantz-Phil Simms (CBS): 4
Jack Buck-Pat Summerall (CBS): 4
Pat Summerall called the most Cowboys Thanksgiving games for CBS and FOX with 20. Dallas’ record was 14-5-1.
The Dallas Cowboys have the most Thanksgiving game awards with 24. Here is a breakdown by network:
CBS (Madden Turkey Leg): 7 – Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and the Dallas offensive line
FOX (Galloping Gobbler): 4 – Emmitt Smith, Julius Jones, Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware
FOX (Madden Turkey Leg): 2 – Emmitt Smith and Jason Garrett
The last time Buck and Aikman called an Eagles-Cowboys game in AT&T Stadium was also a holiday: Christmas Eve 2011.
The last time FOX sent anyone other than their A-team to Dallas to call an Eagles-Cowboys game was on 10/12/03. Dallas won 23-21.
Five out of the last seven Eagles-Cowboys games in Dallas have been on prime time TV.
Thursday’s referee is Clete Blakeman, who refereed the St. Louis game in Week 3. Since 2010, the Cowboys are 2-1 when he officiates their games:
2010 – JAX, 17-35 – L
2012 – PIT, 27-24 – W-OT
2014 – @Rams, 34-31 – W
Dallas won the penalty battle 2/1 times under Blakeman:
2010 – JAX: 6/36; DAL: 3/20
2012 – PIT: 0/0; DAL: 8/61
2014 – Rams: 8/119; DAL: 3/15
Blakeman has a .500 home team winning percentage, which is tied for second-worst in the league:
Ed Hochuli: .800
Walt Anderson: .727
Gene Steratore: .727
Tony Corrente: .667
Jerome Boger: .636
Jeff Triplette: .600
Pete Morelli: .600
Bill Leavy: .556
Bill Vinovich: .545
Carl Cheffers: .545
Clete Blakeman: .500
Craig Wrolstad: .500
John Parry: .500
Walt Coleman: .500
Terry McAulay: .500
Brad Allen: .455
In the penalty battle, home teams have a .200 percentage under Blakeman, tied for the worst in the NFL:
Terry McAulay: .900
Tony Corrente: .889
Jeff Triplette: .700
Brad Allen: .727
Jerome Boger: .727
Walt Coleman: .700
Craig Wrolstad: .667
Bill Vinovich: .636
Walt Anderson: .636
Pete Morelli: .600
Carl Cheffers: .500
Ed Hochuli: .300
Gene Steratore: .278
Bill Leavy: .200
Clete Blakeman: .200
John Parry: .200
Blakeman has refereed six Eagles games with the club earning a 5-1 record. Here are the results:
2010 – @DET, 35-32 – W
2010 – @WAS, 59-28 – W
2011 – NYJ, 45-19 – W
2012 – @NO, 13-28 – L
2013 – @TB, 31-20 – W
2014 – NYG, 27-0 – W
Philadelphia has won the penalty battle 4/6 times under Blakeman:
2010 – DET: 9/51; PHI: 9/75
2010 – WAS: 6/41; PHI: 6/35
2011 – NYJ: 11/93; PHI: 7/62
2012 – NO: 4/35; PHI: 7/58
2013 – TB: 8/72; PHI: 3/31
2014 – NYG: 10/75; PHI: 3/25
NFC East home teams are 1-1 when Blakeman referees. Here are the results:
2010 – Philadelphia at Washington – 59-28 Philadelphia
2014 – NY Giants at Philadelphia – 27-0 Philadelphia
Home teams are a 50/50 proposition on winning the penalty battle under Blakeman:
2010 – WAS: 6/41; PHI: 6/35
2014 – NYG: 10/75; PHI: 3/25
Blakeman has refereed four Thursday games, including last year’s Thanksgiving match between the Steelers and Ravens. Home teams are 2-2. Here are the results:
2010 – San Francisco at San Deigo – 34-7 San Diego
2012 – Denver at Oakland – 26-13 Denver
2013 – Pittsburgh at Baltimore – 22-20 Baltimore
2014 – New Orleans at Carolina – 28-10 New Orleans
In the penalty battle, home teams have won 1/4 times:
2010 – SF: 5/60; SD: 4/35
2012 – DEN: 3/25; OAK: 11/94
2013 – PIT: 4/51; BAL: 9/55
2014 – NO: 4/36; CAR: 6/67
With Blakeman under the hood, the Cowboys are 2/3 on challenges with the opposition going 1/2 while Replay Assistant is 2/6 with only one call benefitting Dallas.
The Eagles are 1/1 on challenges with Blakeman with the opposition going 2/6 while Replay Assistant is 1/2 with only one call benefitting Philadelphia.
Like Ed Hochuli, Blakeman is an attorney, specializing in personal injury for Carlson & Burnett in Omaha, Nebraska.
Eagles quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave is a former 1991 Dallas fourth-rounder who failed to make the team. Musgrave is also connected to the Cowboys through assistant offensive line coach Frank Pollack. Musgrave and Pollack were teammates for the 49ers in 1991 and 1994.
The Eagles are -8 in turnover differential. They are the only team in the top-10 to have a winning record.
Philadelphia leads the NFL with two kickoff returns for touchdowns, two punt returns for scores, two fumble recoveries for touchdowns, and are second in the league with two pick-sixes.
21 percent of the Eagles’ touchdowns this season have come from defense and special teams.
In four Thanksgiving games, Dez Bryant has 18 catches for 244 yards and three touchdowns.
In 11 Thanksgiving games, Jason Witten has 65 catches, 732 yards, and three touchdowns. He leads the franchise is most catches and yards on Thanksgiving.
In 2013, the Cowboys ran 24 times for 90 yards and a touchdown behind right guard. Since the drafting of right guard Zack Martin, the Cowboys have rushed 32 times for 150 yards, and two touchdowns.
Since 2000, the Cowboys have had five games where their opponents didn’t have a single penalty. Those five such games lead the league in that span.
When wearing the NFL’s traditional darker color scheme jerseys at home, as the Cowboys did from 1960-63, Dallas was 13-38-3.
On major holidays, the Cowboys are 0-3 against the Eagles and all the contests happened at home:
11/23/89 – PHI, 0-27 – L
12/24/11 – PHI, 7-23 – L
12/25/06 – PHI, 7-23 – L
The Dallas Cowboys are 3-4-1 on 11/27. Here are the results:
1960 – @CHI, 7-17 – L
1969 – SF, 24-24 – T
1977 – WAS, 14-7 – W
1980 – SEA, 51-7 – W
1986 – SEA, 14-31 – L
1997 – Oilers, 14-27 – L
2003 – MIA, 21-40 – L
2008 – SEA, 34-9 – W
The Dallas Cowboys have three birthdays to celebrate on Thanksgiving, including that of Hall of Fame lineman Larry Allen:
Duriel Harris, WR, 1984 – 11/27/1954
Thornton Chandler, TE, 1986-1989 – 11/27/1963
Larry Allen, OG, 1994-2005 – 11/27/1971