Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) runs with the ball against Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus ware (94) in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium. The Eagle beat the Cowboys 24-22. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Thanksgiving is America’s favorite holiday. We get to celebrate our family, our friends, our accomplishments, and best of all football. This thursday our Philadelphia Eagles take on the Dallas Cowboys with whom they are currently tied for first with. The Eagles vs. Cowboys rivalry might be one of the oldest and most intense rivalries in all of sports, and we get to face off with the Cowboys for the first time this season on Thanksgiving.
The Cowboys started the year extremely hot, in fact they looked much better than the Eagles early on in the season. Since that time they have cooled down a lot, especially after a terrible loss to the Washington Redskins. Dallas has three losses on the year, one the the Redskins, one to the San Francisco 49ers, and one to the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals played a Cowboys team without their leader and quarterback Tony Romo, but what can we take from the other losses to make a game plan for the Eagles? What is the key for the Eagles to defeat Dallas?
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First of all, the Eagles need to not fall into the trap of only worrying about the Cowboys on offense. Yes, the Eagles have a great offense, and yes, the Cowboys have a weak defense. That being said we do not want to fall into the trap of going to the game without proper preparation on both sides of the ball. The Matchup with the Green Bay Packers was a prime example of what can happen when you get outplayed in all facets of the game and we want to at the very least match the output of the Cowboys and make it a shootout.
So back to the question of how to stop the Cowboys on offense. Their strength has been running back DeMarco Murray who has has an incredible season. It could be as simple as stack the box on Murray with seven or eight guys, but that would leave star wide receiver Dez Bryant in single coverage, and with our cornerbacks that is not a good thing.
Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant (88) runs after a reception in the second quarter against Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher (24) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The 49ers, Cardinals, and Redskins were all able to put pressure on the quarterback early and often. It’s about finding guys on your defense that can beat the young offensive line of the Cowboys without needing to take away from the defense. If the Eagles succeed at this then that opens up the game very well for them. They could run some bluff plays to make the cowboys think they are blitzing, but they are actually in a cover one, or cover three where you have Malcolm Jenkins back deep helping cover Dez Bryant and Brandon Boykin shallow covering the middle.
Now this may all sound complicated, and difficult to pull off, and it might not even work. There is only one surefire way to beat the Cowboys, and it is simple. The Eagles need an early lead. If the Eagles can jump out to an early two touchdown minimum lead then they are set. Once the Cowboys go down by a large deficit they give up on the run, become one dimensional, and make mistakes.
Nov 23, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez (3) scrambles against the Tennessee Titans at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles won 43-24. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Mark Sanchez has the chance to become the most beloved man in America by sticking it to those Cowboys, on their most famous day. On top of that it is also Sanchez’s most famous day as it is the two year anniversary of his famous butt fumble. The Sanchize needs redemption and this is the perfect time and the perfect place.