Eagles vs. Cowboys: Can Philly's Shaky Defense Slow Down Dallas' High-Octane Attack?

By Ricardo A. Hazell
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Do you hear it? That smashing of rock and whirl of power towels is just the work crew preparing to erect that new Nick Foles statue right next to Rocky on the City Hall steps in Philadelphia. Their common thread is obvious. Both became fan favorites after initially losing to a black guy (Nick Foles loss his preseason QB duel with Michael Vick, and Rocky lost to Apollo Creed in Rocky I). Foles is already being written in as the answer to all of  the Philadelphia Eagles‘ collective football-related prayers, and his style of play offers a noticeable change of pace over Vick. But he has not proven himself to be head and shoulders better than Vick by any stretch of the imagination. For now Foles will likely start under center for the second game in a row against the “hated” Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC East.  Vick is listed as questionable for the game against the Cowboys, and Foles is nursing a groin pull of his own and is listed as probable. Both quarterbacks have been fully participating in practice since Friday.

While much of the adulation being bestowed upon Nick Foles is warranted, people are failing to mention that those teams he is looking so All-Pro against are among the worst in the NFL. No one is saying anything about the fact that the Eagles’ defense let a struggling New York Giants offense put up 21 points, including two third quarter touchdowns — the same defense that let Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos put up 52 points. The offense has never been the problem. The Eagles scored 30 points or more in four of their six games this season and are 3-1 in such games; the only loss coming against the San Diego Chargers. It is almost a foregone conclusion the Eagles will score at least 20 points against Dallas. So, Philly fans, here’s what you need to ask yourselves; is the Dallas Cowboys’ offense more explosive than that of the Chargers? The answer is yes. I would be weary of seeing Foles in a gun-slinging duel versus Romo. The Eagles could try to keep the Cowboys offense off the field by feeding RB LeSean McCoy 25 or more carries, in addition to having him catch the ball on short routes. However, such a strategy  is also contrary to the hurry-up offense Philly has been running all year and requires one’s defense to get a good number of three-and-outs to be somewhat effective. Exactly who has Philly stopped this year?

Though Tony Romo is still being vilified by some for his late game interception against the Broncos in Week 5, he still threw for 507 yards. Jason Witten has proven he is as a much of a threat as ever. That, and the emerging dominance of WR Dez Bryant, make this look bleak for the Eagles’ faithful. However, injuries to key Cowboys gives Philly some breathing room on both sides of the ball. Dallas will be without DE DeMarcus Ware for four weeks. RB DeMarco Murray will miss the game as well. Both of these players have the potential to make game-changing plays. Their absence makes the Cowboys a lesser team than they otherwise would be. But that will likely not be enough of a disadvantage for the Eagles to take advantage of on either side of the ball.  Cowboys win by a touchdown.

Ricardo A. Hazell is a freelance sports writer for RantSports based in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter at NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google Plus.

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