For the Eagles, there are big games, bigger games and Dallas games. They are the biggest of them all -- oh, you've heard? -- and in those games, Lito Sheppard has been a giant (you should excuse the expression).
Sheppard has started nine games against the Cowboys in his career. In those games, he has eight interceptions. He is the only player in NFL history who has two 100-yard interception returns for touchdowns and both of them are against Dallas (102 yards off of Drew Bledsoe in 2006 and 101 yards off of Vinny Testaverde in 2004). It is a ridiculous run of games.
"I don't know the reason why," Eagles coach Andy Reid said today. "You see it around the league -- certain guys play better against certain teams. As great a player as Lito has been here, he's even been greater against the Cowboys."
Of course, Sheppard doesn't start here anymore -- oh, you've heard that, too? One of the reasons, if you can interpret what Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said over the summer, is that Sheppard needed to improve his YPA -- yards per attempt -- a fairly esoteric stat. The guy who keeps it and writes about it on espn.com, K.C. Joyner, recently noted in his column that when you took his stats for different positions and applied them only to the toughest competition in the league, that Sheppard was the third-best player in the NFL against the top opponents (only QB Tom Brady and WR Isaac Bruce where better). The problem, Joyner wrote, is that Sheppard played down to the competition, too.
Make of that what you will. Nobody knows what is going to happen on Monday night. Nobody knows how much Sheppard is going to play. Reid said yesterday that the cornerback troika -- Sheppard, Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown -- played about equal amounts in the opener against St. Louis. We'll see how that translates at Texas Stadium.
For his part, Sheppard continues to wear the media cloak of invisibility that he donned last week.