Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys Staff Predictions

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Nov 23, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Connor Barwin (98) knocks ball loose from Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger (7) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Titans, 43-24. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Todd Duvall, Editor

The battle for the NFC East begins on Thanksgiving this year. The winner of the contest will take a huge step towards securing the NFC East Title for 2014. Earlier in the year I predicted the Philadelphia Eagles would sweep the Dallas Cowboys. That was when I thought the Cowboys gutted their defense and were destined to end up at the bottom of the NFC East at the end of the season.

The Cowboys have been the talk of the NFL with their 8 and 3 record. The NFL’s leading rusher, Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray has had his way with many of a defense this season. Only one team has been able to keep him from rushing 100 yards or more. He’s racked up over 1,300 yards so far this season and looks like he will flirt with 2,000 before the end of the season.

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Going into the game the Cowboys are 3 point favorites. But with the Eagles and Cowboys all stats go out the window. And lately, the Eagles have owned the ‘Boys. With the NFC East on the line last season the Birds stepped up and took the prize. With the Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly at the helm you have to think they have a plan for the Cowboys’ running game. With the running game out, Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin and crew will set out to harass Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

The concern for the Eagles is the secondary. Eagles cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher haven’t exactly been of shut-down quality. Romo has the ability to burn both those men. But with the pressure on him he has a knack for coughing up the ball and handing it over to the Eagles. He does not handle pressure well.

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez has a chance to right a lot of wrongs. With a nationally televised Thanksgiving Day game he’ll have more of an audience than normal. He has to maintain his composure and and if he can avoid the interceptions he’s known for he can bring him the victory for the Eagles. But that is a big if. The key for him will be the running game as well. As long as Philadelphia Eagles running backs LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles can move the ball on the ground, Sanchez will get some breathing room to work some magic.

Historically, when the pressure is high the Dallas Cowboys can’t seem to play the Philadelphia Eagles competitively. There are a few games in recent history, namely the 2009 season where the Eagles lost the Cowboys 24 – 0 to lose their NFC East Title bid. The Eagles still advanced to the playoffs but lost in the first round to the Cowboys with a score of 34 – 14. Since then the Eagles have owned the Cowboys. In 2013’s final game, winner-take-all the Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin ended the Cowboys’ hopes with a game ending interception.

Regardless of how the Cowboys have played put to this point I predict the Eagles will emerge the victor. Kelly is smarter than Garrett and his system will prevail against Dallas.

Eagles 27, Cowboys 13