Eagles-Cowboys: What We're Watching

Jason Witten has 53 receptions for 612 yards and 5 touchdowns in his last nine games against the Birds. (Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo)

Here are five things we will be watching during the Eagles-Dallas game on Sunday night:

Taming Witten. Jason Witten has pretty much been able to do whatever he’s wanted against the Eagles, which really makes him no different than the rest of the league’s tight ends. In his last nine games against the Eagles, he’s got 53 receptions for 612 yards and 5 touchdowns. Eagles linebackers need to disrupt him coming off the line of scrimmage and limit his yards after the catch.

Will the Real Run Defense Please Stand Up. As Jason Babin has correctly pointed out, teams aren’t going to stop trying to run the ball on the Eagles just because they held the Redskins to 42 yards on 14 carries two weeks ago. Cowboys were averaging just 84 rushing yards per game before rookie DeMarco Murray went on his 253-yard adventure against the Rams last week. Cowboys no doubt will try to keep the pressure off Tony Romo by running the ball.

Handling the Blitz. The Cowboys’ defense is coached by Rex Ryan’s twin brother, Rob. Like his brother and like his old man, he is a devotee of the blitz. Likes to do it a lot. From every angle, through every gap. The Eagles have allowed just nine sacks in six games, but have frequently struggled against the blitz. Michael Vick’s passing numbers v. blitz aren’t very good. Both the line and Vick need to be on top of their game Sunday night when Ryan sends extra rushers.

Squandering Yards. The Eagles are third in the league in total offense, third in passing and first in rushing. But thanks to their league-high 17 giveaways and their poor red-zone production (just 12 TDs in 29 trips inside the 20), they are just 13th in scoring and 28th in points per 100 yards (5.47). Only the Browns, Dolphins, Rams and Jaguars are averaging fewer points per 100 yards.

Good Romo/Bad Romo? There’s been no middle ground with Tony Romo v. Eagles. He’s either been Hall-of-Fame spectacular or Hall-of-Shame awful. Cowboys have won five of the last seven games Romo has started v. Eagles. In those five wins, Romo had a 111.7 passer rating . In the two losses: 39.7.


Lots of Eagles coverage in this week's edition of SportsWeek from the Daily News. Check much of it out here.

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