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GAME of the WEEK

One of football's best rivalries has quite bit on the line this time around. Just a few short weeks ago, Dallas head coach Len Barnhart was waving the white flag on their season but, now, the Pokes are suddenly in position to snag a wild card berth! They have won 3 straight against inferior talents but now must step it up big time if they wish to survive. Philadelphia, meanwhile, has been up, down, and sideways much of the year. They have had huge wins over Carolina, Minnesota, and Los Angeles but have also had tough losses to Green Bay, Dallas, Carolina, and Seattle. That being said, they clearly have had their mettle tested against one of the toughest schedules in all of football.

The Eagle offense
has gone vertical much of this season with head coach Rick Main running the show. However, Main is likely going to be without the services of his main QB as Carson Wentz is listed as doubtful for this critical match-up. The vertical umbers have been well documented between what Wentz does and back-up Nick Foles does and that could play a big factor in a game with the league's #2 scoring offense. The Cowboys have not exactly been defensive dynamos this year coming in 21st in points allowed and 25th in total yards given up! Perhaps the most significant stat the Eagles would want to know is the 293.4 YPG allowed through the air by Big D which is the second most in football. Foles will have to exploit this weakness and that falls right into coach Main's wheel house. Philly should have plenty of time to throw the ball as Dallas does not blitz much (9.7%) which has led to just 18 sacks and 13 takeaways all year.

As much success as Philadelphia can expect, they do have to worry about the hi-octane Cowboys; offense. Dallas has committed just 8 turnovers on the season and the Eagles have just 11 takeaways all year. That combo likely means Dallas is going to get scoring opportunities. If their is some comfort for the Philly D it would have to be on third downs. They are allowing cubs to convert just 34.5 % of the time while Dallas converts 38.3% of the time. Obviously, the Eagles need to get Dallas into third down as much as possible. In their first encounter, Dallas ran for over 200 yards while Cowboy QB Kirk Cousins riddled their secondary converting 7 of 12 third downs.

The Cowboys rely on their offense to get it done and will have to do so again in this one. Cousins has had a magnificent season coming in with a 119.1 QBR. He has thrown 44 Td passes and, ya ready, has just 1 pick all year! He simply does not make mistakes. RB Matt Breida was used very little last week but he has to touch the ball more than his 2 carries. If Breida is not going to be the man, then Brendon Brown and Marcus Murphy will have to step up. The offensive line might be in some trouble if LT Tyron Smith is out and he is listed as questionable.

The Dallas defense has been a true enigma this season and has not gotten it done. Their defensive deficiencies have been written about ad nauseum. Their secondary should be able to match up with the Philly receivers and, if Foles runs the Eagle attack, they know he will not be as deadly downfield as Wentz would be. The Eagle offensive line is talented and Dallas could have trouble stopping them up front if Philly begins to run the ball on them. Not sure this front 7 can truly just line up and halt the Eagles.

Final Analysis: This n one has shootout billing. Foles has had just 1 game where he threw for over 250 yards (against Washington) in his 4 starts while Wentz had two 400+ yards games and a 300+ yard game. In addition, Wentz pushed past the 250 yard stat in six if his 9 starts. Not sure Foles can generate enough fire power to beat the Pokes who are on a bit of a roll. Dallas 31-27?




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