An Early Look at the Eagles

While not completely removed from their Super Bowl season in 2004, the Eagles are clearly a team holding on for dear life to some of their aging veterans.

Donovan McNabb, now 31, returns after a decent 2007 campaign that proved he recovered from a devastating knee injury the year before, but the big plays in the passing game were non-existent. Still, he'll have the luxury of handing off to one of the more explosive backs in the game in Bryan Westbrook this year and keep in mind Westbrook is also an enormous factor in the short passing game.

There's a thought this could be a make-or-break year for McNabb, especially with young gun and former second round draft pick Kevin Kolb waiting in the wings, but the team could probably stand to upgrade its wide receivers first as Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown aren't exactly the most electric players in the league.

Still, the veteran QB looked strong in a season opening 38-3 win over the Rams when he passed for 361 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

But like Adam Jones said Wednesday, "Dude it's the Rams."

Defensively, the Eagles can present a lot of problems with their personnel and aggressive style under coordinator Jim Johnson. And this season, he'll have even more weapons to utilize after acquiring cornerback Asante Samuel, who leads the NFL in interceptions the past two seasons with 16.

In addition, the Eagles also signed linebacker Chris Clemons, which gives Johnson another pass rusher to wreak havoc in the NFL East. If strong safety Brian Dawkins, who is clearly entering the downside of his career, can stay healthy, defensively, Philadelphia can match up pretty well with any team in the league.

LAST YEAR: Tony Romo shredded the Eagles by completing 20-of-25 passes for over 300 yards in an easy 38-17 win on the road last season in week nine. The Eagles returned the favor at Texas Stadium six weeks later, 10-6, but by that time the Cowboys had essentially nothing to play for.

KEYS TO THE GAME: The key in keeping the Eagles' offense in check begins with limiting the big plays of the most underrated running back in the NFL – Bryan Westbrook. Westbrook put up over 2,000 yards from scrimmage last year, including rushing for over 1,300 yards and catching a team-record 90 passes. Dallas must also protect Romo in the pocket. Give him time and the Cowboys will win this one easily. If he's hurried and forced to throw sooner than he wants, advantage Philadelphia.

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