KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 ET
TV: FOX (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver)
SERIES: 96th regular-season meeting. Dallas leads the series 53-42. Dallas has won
two of the past three meetings. Dallas won earlier this season in Dallas 41-37. The
Cowboys also won the last matchup in Philadelphia, 38-17. Dallas has faced no team
more than the Eagles and has defeated them more than anybody except the Redskins
KEYS TO THE GAME: The pressure is on Cowboys QB Tony Romo to prove he can make good
decisions and avoid the huge mistakes that have become too commonplace in big games.
One of the reasons he has relied so heavily on TE Jason Witten has been a lack of
time in the pocket, which isn't likely to change against the blitz-happy Eagles. And
one element lacking from Dallas' offense is the power run game they like to use late
in games because RB Marion Barber isn't close to 100 percent. ... The key numbers
to watch for the Eagles' offense is their third-down conversion rate and the number
of touches for RB Brian Westbrook. Even in a tight game, coach Andy Reid got too
one-dimensional last week, calling just 16 runs to 46 passes. The result was just
three points, because the Eagles' passing game isn't geared toward converting
third-and-long situations. QB Donovan McNabb should receive a boost with the
expected return of WR Kevin Curtis.
KEY INJURIES: Dallas: Barber (toe) will be a game-time decision; LG Montrae
Holland (ankle) is doubtful; Witten (ankle) will play. Eagles: DE Victor Abiamiri
(foot sprain) isn't expected to play; Westbrook (knee) will play despite limited
NEED TO KNOW: The Cowboys reach the playoffs with a victory. The Eagles reach the
playoffs with a win and a loss by Tampa Bay and Minnesota or Chicago. ... With
135 passing yards, McNabb will break his own single-season team record of 3,875
yards in 2004.
COWBOYS PERSONNEL NEWS: QB Tony Romo practiced Thursday after missing Wednesday with a viral infection.
Romo remarked sarcastically that he "feels like 100 dollars."
--TE Jason Witten practiced Thursday for the first time all week and will play
against the Eagles. He has been bothered by a sprained ankle.
--OT Marc Colombo finally signed the four-year, $22 million contract extension,
just in time for Christmas.
"I am just excited to be able to stay here with my teammates," Colombo said. "It
is a relief to have this finished and now I can focus completely on football.
This is a place I love. This is where I got my second chance."
Colombo has gotten new life in Dallas after being a bust in Chicago.
--RB Marion Barber (toe) and safety Ken Hamlin (foot) practiced Thursday despite
still being bothered by nagging injuries. Both are expected to try to play
against the Eagles.
EAGLES PERSONNEL NEWS: MLB Stewart Bradley didn't practice for the second straight game. He's nursing
rib and groin injuries and is very questionable for Sunday's game against Dallas.
--DE Victor Abiamiri won't play in Sunday's season finale against Dallas. He has
a lisfranc sprain in his foot. He'll be replaced at left end by Juqua Parker.
--FS Brian Dawkins, who is nursing a lower back injury, didn't practice Thursday,
but it was mainly to rest his back. He practiced Wednesday and is expected to
--RT Jon Runyan didn't practice Thursday. He has knee and ankle injuries. He will
play Sunday, but his mobility will be limited against Cowboys LB Greg Ellis.
--WR Kevin Curtis, who missed last week's game with a calf strain, practiced for
the second straight day and is expected to play Sunday against Dallas.
INSIDE THE DALLAS CAMP: Cowboys receiver Roy Williams has a warning for his teammates who have been
teasing him about his Detroit history.
Williams was acquired in a trade with the Lions five weeks into the season.
While his Cowboys face a must-win game to make the playoffs this Sunday at
Philadelphia, the Lions are one loss away from being the first team in NFL
history to go 0-16.
Williams' Cowboys teammates have been saying all week that he will be forever
linked to the Lions because he's in the team picture.
Williams acknowledges as much but said the Cowboys will be in the same boat as
the Lions if they don't beat the Eagles.
"That's what I told guys," Williams said. "They joke about me with the 0-16
Detroit thing and I just told them, `If we don't win this game, we're all in the
same boat. We both are going to be watching the same playoff game next week.'
They all understood that. That put it in perspective."
Williams, however, is frustrated with how he has been used in Dallas since coming
over in the trade.
He has only 17 catches for 194 yards since being acquired in a trade nine games
ago from Detroit. He has yet to have game with more than three catches.
"I know I am a player in this league," Williams said. "My thing is if you brought
me in half the season you obviously know what I am capable of doing. You wouldn't
have spent what you went to get a person. You know what I can do. I know what I
can do. I can tell you what I can't do. I'm just waiting."
INSIDE THE PHILADELPHIA CAMP: After running the ball just 16 times in last week's 10-3 loss to the Washington
Redskins, Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was asked Thursday if his
team will run the ball a little more this week against the Dallas Cowboys.
"We try to do what it will take to win that particular football game," Mornhinweg
said. "There are a lot of things that happen, and that may happen during a
football game, that many people on the outside don't quite know. Some little
things that go into that situation as well."
It's not clear what Mornhinweg was referring to, although he later said there
were "two significant injuries" that contributed to the fact that the Eagles
threw the ball 46 times against the Redskins. One probably was the knee injury to
wide receiver Hank Baskett. Baskett, the team's best blocking wideout, didn't
play against Washington, but will play this week against Dallas.
The other likely is running back Brian Westbrook, who has been bothered most of
the season by a sore knee. Westbrook had just 12 carries against Washington, but
practiced Thursday, which would seem to indicate he's feeling pretty good.
"He hasn't practiced much the past, let's say, month, month-and-a-half,"
Mornhinweg said of Westbrook. "That he practiced today, that's a good thing, and
hopefully, it'll pay off Sunday."
PREDICTION: Cowboys 28-23
'Boys/Eagles Preview & Prediction
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