Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Eagles-Cowboys: What We'll Be Watching

Dealing With Dwayne. Cowboys return man Dwayne Harris leads the league in punt (23.6) and kickoff returns (34.7). Last week v. the Redskins, he had an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 90-yard kickoff return. The Eagles got an up-close-and-personal look at what he can do last year when he had a 78-yard punt return for a TD against them.

Eagles-Cowboys: What We'll Be Watching

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Dealing With Dwayne. Cowboys return man Dwayne Harris leads the league in punt (23.6) and kickoff returns (34.7). Last week v. the Redskins, he had an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 90-yard kickoff return. The Eagles got an up-close-and-personal look at what he can do last year when he had a 78-yard punt return for a TD against them.

Pressure and Containment. The Eagles’ pass rush has not been all that effective in the first six games. They’re 28th in sacks per pass play and have gotten pressure on quarterbacks just 30 percent of the time. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has a 115.0 passer rating when he isn’t pressured. He’s also adept at escaping a rush and extending plays. The Eagles must keep him in the pocket.

Third and Long. The Eagles defense has had trouble getting off the field this season. They are 26th in third-down efficiency, allowing opponents to convert 42.5 of their third-down opportunities. What’s been particularly disappointing has been their problems on third-and-long. Opponents have converted 17 of 47 third downs of seven yards or longer (36.2 percent) in the first six games.

Field Goals Don’t Count. The Cowboys are second in the league in scoring, averaging 30.5 points per game. They’ve scored fewer than 21 points just once, in a 17-16 Week 2 loss to the Chiefs. The Eagles are 29th in points allowed. If they hope to win Sunday, they’re going to need to maximize every scoring opportunity. That could be difficult for a team that’s 27th in red-zone touchdown percentage.

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Springing Shady. LeSean McCoy leads the league in rushing. He’s got 15 career 100-yard games and the Eagles have won 12 of them. So, as he goes, they usually go. The Cowboys’ run defense held opponents to 3.8 yards per carry in the first five games, but gave up 174 yards in the second half v. Washington last week after DeMarcus Ware got hurt.

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