Three Key Eagles Against Dallas

Warnest Contributor Andrew Pluta takes a look at three Eagles that have to play well on Sunday in order for Philly to keep their playoff hopes alive. Donovan McNabb has had a year to forget and will try to save the Eagles season. But what two other Eagles have to contribute? Find out inside...

Sheldon Brown

Brown should be prepared to see a good deal of action on Sunday against the pass-happy Cowboys, and covering Tony Romo's receivers has not been an easy task for anyone this year. Romo has thrown for 35 touchdowns so far to seven different receivers, but wide outs Terrell Owens and Patrick Crayton have combined for 21 of those scores. In the first game against the Cowboys this season, the Eagles did a good job of shutting down Crayton, but the secondary had no answer for Owens and he finished with his highest yardage total and catch total of the season in the contest. After Plaxico Burress had his way in the Giants win over the Eagles last week, recording seven catches for 136 yards and a touchdown, Brown will have to bounce back on Sunday against a Dallas offense that is rated number two in the NFL in total offense.

Donovan McNabb

Going against one of the better run defenses in the league this week, the Eagles will need to make plays in the passing game and McNabb will have to take advantage of a secondary that has allowed 16 touchdowns this season. Even though he has been hesitant to try for big plays recently, the Cowboys pass defense is ranked twentieth in the league and safety Roy Williams is know to be a liability in coverage, so McNabb should have opportunities to throw deep. With L.J. Smith's status questionable against Dallas, McNabb will have to rely on Brian Westbrook and his receivers even more. In the last meeting with the Cowboys, McNabb threw two interceptions and averaged only 5.7 yards per completion. He also was sacked three times and will need to try to get the ball out faster to give the offense a rhythm.

Jon Runyan

Runyan has been a fixture on the Eagles offensive line for years, and he is still one of the top tackles in the NFC. In the last two weeks, Runyan contained premier ends Michael Strahan of the Giants and Patrick Kerney of the Seahawks and neither recorded a sack going up against the 12-year veteran. The Dallas defense features pass rushing outside linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis, and this duo has combined for 21.5 sacks so far and continues to give opposing quarterbacks nightmares. Last time they played the Cowboys, the Eagles let up three sacks and Ware and Ellis had 2.5 of them. The Eagles line will have to neutralize the Dallas pass rush to give McNabb time in the pocket and plenty of room to step into his throws.

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