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Domo's scouting report: Eagles-Cowboys

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 06:34 AM

Domowitch

Domo's scouting report: Eagles-Cowboys

PAUL DOMOWITCH, Daily News Staff Writer

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012, 12:58 AM



Recent history: The Eagles swept the two games last season, 34-7 at the Linc and 207 at Dallas. The Cowboys lead the all-time series, 59-47.

OFFENSE

Eagles: 373.9 yards per game (10th)

Cowboys: 382.5 yards per game (6th)

QUARTERBACK

Eagles: Michael Vick has completed more than 61 percent of his attempts just three times and has just three games with more than one TD pass. He has regressed against the blitz, completing just 10 of 27 passes the last two games. His protection has been poor, but his decision-making has been equally poor.

Cowboys: When Tony Romo is good, he's very good. When he's bad, he's awful. Nine of his NFL-high 13 interceptions have come in two games - five vs. Bears, four vs. Giants. Romo, who had 31 TD passes last season, has just two games with more than one TD pass. He has attempted just 34 passes that have traveled more than 20 yards.

Pick: Cowboys

RUNNING BACK

Eagles: LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown combined for 168 yards on 23 carries against the Saints. They had four runs of 13 yards or more, including a 40-yarder by Brown and 34-yarder by McCoy. Cowboys are much better vs. run than Saints, but gave up 84 second-half rushing yards to the Falcons' Michael Turner last week.

Cowboys: DeMarco Murray is the Cowboys' best RB. They are 7-0 the last 2 years when he's carried the ball 18 or more times. But he's missed the last three games with a sprained left foot. Felix Jones is a good change-of-pace back, but like Murray, is injury-prone.

Pick: Eagles

RECEIVING

Eagles: This was supposed to be Jeremy Maclin's breakout year, but he's had more than 40 receiving yards in just two games. TE Brent Celek had 12 catches for 222 yards in the first two games, but only 21 catches for 214 yards since. DeSean Jackson's 77-yard TD catch vs. Saints was just his seventh TD reception in his last 30 starts.

Cowboys: TE Jason Witten has 58 catches, but just one TD. He's averaging just 2.9 yards after the catch. He clearly is Tony Romo's go-to guy. Romo targeted him 22 times vs. Giants 2 weeks ago (18 catches). Witten and WR Dez Bryant each have seven drops. Bryant and Miles Austin both are big, physical receivers.

Pick: Cowboys

OFFENSIVE LINE

Eagles: With RT Todd Herremans out for the season with a foot injury, Demetress Bell will start at LT and King Dunlap, who had started the last two games at LT, will replace Herremans on the right side. Howard Mudd obviously feels Bell is a little better equipped athletically to deal with DeMarcus Ware.

Cowboys: This unit has done a much better job of pass-blocking than run-blocking. Cowboys are seventh in the league in sacks allowed per pass play. They've allowed just seven sacks in the last five games. Cowboys are averaging just 3.6 yards per carry. RBs have averaged just 2.6 yards per carry running behind RT Doug Free.

Pick: Cowboys

DEFENSE

Eagles: 343.5 yards per game (15th)

Cowboys: 312.5 yards per game (5th)

DEFENSIVE LINE

Eagles: The Eagles haven't been getting a lot of pass-rush pressure from their DTs. Rookie Fletcher Cox appears to have hit a wall. He has had no sacks, no QB hits and only one hurry in the last four games. Lack of push inside is allowing opposing quarterbacks to step up and avoid the rush on the outside.

Cowboys: Jay Ratliff has unmatched quickness for a nose tackle, which potentially could cause problems for Eagles C Dallas Reynolds. But Ratliff has been bothered by ankle problems that have limited him to just 165 snaps. DE Jason Hatcher is a pretty good pass-rusher for a 3-4 end.

Pick: Even

LINEBACKER

Eagles: This unit had its poorest overall game against the Saints. It didn't do a very good job against the ground game, which notched 140 rushing yards. SLB Mychal Kendricks, like fellow rookie Fletcher Cox, appears to have hit a wall. After struggling with TE Jimmy Graham last week, he faces Jason Witten.

Cowboys: Losing Sean Lee and his backup, Dan Connor, were huge blows, but second-year man Bruce Carter has stepped in and played remarkably well. He's been the Cowboys' best defensive player the last two games. DeMarcus Ware is the league's best pass rusher. He's got 75 sacks in his last 71 games.

Pick: Cowboys

SECONDARY

Eagles: Opposing QBs have shown no reluctance to throw at Nnamdi Asomugha, who continues to look like an ordinary cornerback. He gave up his third touchdown vs. Saints and is allowing 18.1 yards per completion, which is the second highest in the league. Getting S Nate Allen back this week should help contain Jason Witten.

Cowboys: With the additions of Brandon Carr and rookie Morris Claiborne, the Cowboys have as good a quartet of corners as there is in the league. Both Carr and Claiborne are tough man-to-man defenders. Claiborne has had his ups and downs. He's given up 25 completions in 35 passes thrown at him, including three TDs.

Pick: Cowboys

SPECIAL TEAMS

Eagles: The Eagles are 27th in the league in punt-return average (6.7) and 29th in kickoff-return average (19.9), which has forced the offense to play on a long field. Coverage units aren't any better (27th in kick coverage, 28th in punt coverage). P Matt McBriar is seventh in gross average, but 19th in net (39.0).

Cowboys: PK Dan Bailey is 14-for-14 inside 50 yards. P Brian Moorman has done a nice job as Chris Jones' replacement. He has a 42.4 net average and has put 10 of his 15 punts inside the 20. Dwayne Harris has replaced Dez Bryant as the primary PR. He had a 37-yard return last week vs. Atlanta.

Pick: Cowboys

DOMO'S PREDICTION: COWBOYS 27, EAGLES 20

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KEY MATCHUPS

1. Eagles LT Demetress Bell v. Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware: Ware is the league's best pass-rusher. He's got 71 sacks in his last 75 games. Bell has had a disappointing season. Advantage: Cowboys

2. Eagles C Dallas Reynolds vs. Cowboys NT Jay Ratliff: Ratliff is the quickest nose tackle in the league, but is nursing an injured ankle. Reynolds is not nearly as athletic as the man he is replacing, Jason Kelce. Advantage: Cowboys

3. Eagles WRs DeSean Johnson and Jeremy Maclin vs. Cowboys CBs Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr: The Eagles have struggled to make plays down the field. The Cowboys have allowed just seven touchdown passes. Advantage: Cowboys

HOT AND NOT

HOT

Eagles: WR DeSean Jackson. Registered just his fifth 100-yard receiving game in his last 31 starts vs. Saints.

Cowboys: TE Jason Witten. Targeted 59 times and has 50 receptions in the last five games.

NOT

Eagles: CB Nnamdi Asomugha. Gave up his third touchdown pass vs. Saints and is allowing 18.1 yards per catch.

Cowboys: RB Felix Jones. Has rushed for only 102 yards in the last three games and is averaging 2.8 yards per carry in those three games.


PAUL DOMOWITCH Daily News Staff Writer