We've got a bunch of coverage in our Eagles section, but here's a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Birds as they prepare for their Sunday night matchup against the Cowboys.
SI.com's Don Banks has the Eagles 19th in his power rankings:
So Asante Samuel said he got his feelings hurt because he didn't like hearing his name mentioned in trade rumors last week. Well, this just in, Asante: The Eagles have some other needs on defense, and you're the third cornerback on a team that added both Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at cornerback this summer. So that quite naturally made you an expendable commodity, especially since you haven't exactly lit it up in Philly so far this season. And did we mention that the trading deadline already passed, and you're still an Eagle? Buck up.
ESPN.com's John Clayton says LeSean McCoy is the most underrated running back in the NFL:
To be an Eagles runner under Andy Reid, you have to have the ability to run the ball but accept that Reid uses short passes as part of what he considers a running offense. McCoy handles both jobs well. [Brian] Westbrook was underrated most of his career, so McCoy is the perfect player to follow him.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com predicts a 24-23 Cowboys victory:
This is a chance for one of these two teams to show they are back to being a contender in the East. The loser is in big trouble. The Eagles are coming off a bye, while the Cowboys are coming off an easy victory over the Rams. They key here will be whether the Cowboys can run on the Eagles, who have struggled to stop it. The Eagles are 27th in rushing yards per attempt. Look for Dallas to take advantage of that and for DeMarcus Ware to come up big against Mike Vick. It's the Cowboys in an upset.
Former safety John Lynch still thinks the key to stopping Michael Vick is to blitz him, and that's what he expects Rob Ryan to do:
I think Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is the perfect guy for the task of limiting what Vick can do. I was incredibly impressed in Week 6 with the job Ryan did – they played New England and he threw multiple looks – multiple fronts, coverages – and it’s always changing.
There are a lot of teams that do that in the NFL but they aren’t always sound. They don’t have an answer for everything. Rob combines all of that. He throws multiple looks and variations at you, but his defense is very sound and it has an answer. It’s not just rolling the dice and saying “I hope we get there because if we don’t, we’re in trouble.”
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has the Eagles 20th in his power rankings:
Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo wasn't criticized this week by the national media. That would be big news if the Eagles weren't on a bye. For all the hysteria about Philly's 2-4 start, they are only two games back of the Giants. However, New York plays a struggling Dolphins team that just got Tebow'd, while the Eagles have a much tougher challenge facing the Cowboys. If the Eagles choose to play eight in the box to stop the Dallas ground attack (which almost had 300 yards vs. the Rams), that might leave them exposed against a healthy Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten. This is precisely why Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha were signed a couple of months back.
Matt Bryant of the National Football Post is looking forward to seeing Nnamdi Asomugha matched up with Dez Bryant:
I know the Eagles will play some Cover 4 (quarters) and Cover 2, but I want to see Asomugha play press vs. Bryant. This is where we can study technique: hands, footwork, balance, etc. Plus, it also is going to show us which player is going to bring a physical brand of football to the stadium.
The Cowboys' secondary is doing a much better job this season of not allowing big plays, writes Clarence E. Hill, Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Last season, the Cowboys gave up big plays like Happy Meals -- namely 57 pass plays of 20 yards or more -- en route to allowing the second-most passing yards (3,894 net) and the most passing touchdowns (33) in team history.
Well, the Cowboys are a competitive 14th in the league in pass defense in 2011, including a robust second in pass yards per play, giving up just 6.7.
Mac Engel of the Fort Werth Star-Telegram says the Cowboys need to back up Ryan's words:
In this case you have the off-season's most overhyped team in the Eagles against the most overhyped franchise in North America, the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles' last Super Bowl title was never. The Cowboys' last Super Bowl title was 1995.
Currently neither team has a winning record, and are a combined 5-7. Yet the TV ratings for this Hype Bowl will make Dancing With the Stars green and white with envy. I project the Eagles to win a close game that will act as yet another kick to the crotchal region for all Cowboys fans.
But if the Cowboys are going to legitimize themselves as a threat to the NFL's upper class they need to prove their D-coordinator isn't some crazy coot and win this game, and or, at least win five of their next six games.
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