Eagles Offense vs. Cowboys Defense

Will the Eagles put up the same ground-based onslaught as they had on Thanksgiving afternoon? Or is Dallas prepared for it now?


Simply stonewalled by Seattle's defense, Chip Kelly's group made use of good field position twice (John Ryan's fumble, Josh Huff's lengthy kick return) to cash in with hard-fought touchdowns. Beyond that, Mark Sanchez and company struggled to move the ball effectively. Chalk it up as a learning experience.

All will be forgiven, at least short term, if the offense can raise the same sort of welts on Dallas' defense that they did two weeks back, with the NFC East getting closer to striking distance. A win on Sunday night requires the Eagles to return to offensive form, and would leave them a win over the Redskins or Giants (or perhaps a Cowboys loss to the Colts) away from claiming their second straight division. It's the road after that that's perilous.

Mark Sanchez

Other than a controlled performance against Dallas on Thanksgiving, Sanchez hasn't had a truly dominant outing for the Eagles since thrashing Carolina a month ago. Sanchez met much resistance from the Legion of Boom, and his lone interception fluttered as Riley Cooper cut on his route (Kelly refused to blame Cooper). Looks like Nick Foles' job may be safe after all.

KEY STAT: In six games as an Eagle, Sanchez has completed less than 60 percent of his throws three times, bottoming out with 50 percent Sunday.

LeSean McCoy

In Sunday's loss, McCoy became the Eagles' all-time leading rusher with 6541 yards, passing Wilbert Montgomery's three-decade-old mark by three yards. Making matters disappointing is the loss, as well as the fact that McCoy was held to 50 yards on 17 carries, his first real clunker since the win over the Panthers. An Eagles fan would hope that getting Dallas a second time is the necessary omen to get McCoy back on track.

KEY STAT: If McCoy fumbles once in the next three games, it'll be his most fumbles for one season in his career (four, tied with 2012).

Riley Cooper

Cooper's downfield blocking is his only outward redeeming quality in 2014, but Kelly's apt to defend him. On Sanchez's pick Sunday, the claim was that Sanchez didn't throw according to the route and when Cooper cut, the ball was all but left behind. Cooper's only one catch away from tying his total from last year (47), but his lack of deep-ball presence is excruciatingly absent.

KEY STAT: Cooper averaged 17.8 yards a catch in 2013; he's averaging 10.2 yards per catch this season, a career low.

Lane Johnson

The Eagles simply could not set the edge for the run on Sunday; there was no 'there's a seal here' in Lombardi-speak to be had. Johnson was the weakest part of the line, ineffective on the right side. McCoy's best runs could only go through the middle. Johnson also allowed four hurries and a hit, compounding his worst game of the season.

KEY STAT: Of the six carries that went off right tackle, the Eagles gained just seven yards on Sunday.


Largely in response to the lickin' that McCoy the run-blocking line put on them on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys tightened up and held Matt Forte to 26 yards on 13 carries a week ago. Jay Cutler's nine yards totaled a mere 35 for the night in the Windy City, an important statement from Dallas' defense at a time where it needed one.

The question is, can Dallas' front seven produce that same result against the Eagles in the rematch? The knock on the Cowboys is that the up-tempo offense of Philadelphia didn't allow for substitutions, and the Cowboys were gassed by the end of the first quarter, down 14-0. Will their gameplan account for what they went through?

Tyrone Crawford

Crawford ended up the only front-lineman to make a consistent dent in the Eagles on Thanksgiving, torching Andrew Gardner to sack Sanchez and force a fumble (which Gardner dove onto). Crawford was also the only Cowboys defender to rack at least three pressures in that game, with a sack, hit, and hurry for the trifecta. Crawford has just one sack on the season, but he's a constant disruption.

KEY STAT: Dallas managed just twelve total pressures on Thanksgiving, and three (one-quarter) came from Crawford.

Rolando McClain

Generally one of the team's stronger run-stoppers, surprise-comeback linebacker McClain ended up battered and beaten on Thanksgiving, making just one run-stop, and grading among the worst run defenders on the team in the game. That one run-stop came on just 23 running downs played by McClain, one of the biggest reasons why Dallas was smoked for so many yards.

KEY STAT: In 25 passing downs in the game, McClain was thrown at three times, all for catches totaling 26 yards.

Brandon Carr

Carr was the team's worst in pass coverage in the game, allowing four catches for 80 yards, unable to play decent in one-on-one situations. Sanchez's passer rating against Carr individually was 97.3, and although no touchdowns went against the corner, his 47 yards allowed after the catch were indicative of awful play. He'll be a reprieve from the Legion of Boom, more than likely.

KEY STAT: For the season, quarterbacks maintain a 116.8 rating on Carr, with five touchdowns, no picks, and 16.81 yards per completion.

Statistics from Pro Football Focus were used to write this story.

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