Thursday, February 26, 2015

Eagles-Cowboys scouting report

Recent history: The Cowboys beat the Eagles in a Game 2 shootout, 41-37.

 

OFFENSE

Eagles: 353.7 yards per game (8th).

Eagles: 353.7 yards per game (8th).

Cowboys: 347.6 yards per game (9th)

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  • Domowitch's Eagles scouting report
  •  

    Quarterback

    Eagles: Donovan McNabb has been more careless than usual with the football this season. His 16 turnovers are the second most of his career. Nine of them have come in the last six games. He's had just four turnover-free games all season. His 6.80 yards-per-attempt average is his lowest since '03.

    Eagles: Donovan McNabb has been more careless than usual with the football this season. His 16 turnovers are the second most of his career. Nine of them have come in the last six games. He's had just four turnover-free games all season. His 6.80 yards-per-attempt average is his lowest since '03.

    Cowboys: Despite missing three games with a broken finger, Tony Romo still has the fifth most interceptions (13) in the league. While he's mobile, he gets careless with the ball when he's under duress. Wasn't under much duress in the first Eagles-Cowboys game and threw for 312 yards and three TDs.

    PICK: COWBOYS

     

    Running back

    Eagles: Brian Westbrook has been playing with injuries all season and doesn't have the same quickness or explosion he had in '07, when he led the league in yards from scrimmage. He had 12 100-plus-yard rushing and receiving games last year. This year: Four. He's had just four 20-touch games in 13 starts. Last year: 13.

    Eagles: Brian Westbrook has been playing with injuries all season and doesn't have the same quickness or explosion he had in '07, when he led the league in yards from scrimmage. He had 12 100-plus-yard rushing and receiving games last year. This year: Four. He's had just four 20-touch games in 13 starts. Last year: 13.

    Cowboys: Marion Barber has a dislocated toe that has made it difficult for him to make cuts. He has just 10 carries for two yards in the last two games. They'll rely mainly on fourth-round rookie Tashard Choice, who is averaging 5.3 yard s per carry. He's also been effective in the passing game, with 16 catches in the last three games.

    PICK: EAGLES

     

    Receiver

    Eagles: For the second straight year, the Eagles have not gotten nearly enough productivity from the tight end position. L.J. Smith and Brent Celek have combined for just 586 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson has a team-high 60 catches, but just two TDs.

    Eagles: For the second straight year, the Eagles have not gotten nearly enough productivity from the tight end position. L.J. Smith and Brent Celek have combined for just 586 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson has a team-high 60 catches, but just two TDs.

    Cowboys: Tight end Jason Witten always has been a handful for the Eagles. He had seven catches for 110 yards in Week 2 and has had 50-plus receiving yards in eight of the last nine games against the Eagles. Terrell Owens' reception total is down (63), but he still has 10 TD catches, which is the third-most in the league.

    PICK: COWBOYS

     

    Offensive line

    Eagles: Ofeensive tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan have had their problems trying to block the Cowboys' two dangerous pass-rushing linebackers, DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis. It doesn't help that Runyan is playing with a knee injury that's limiting his mobility.

    Eagles: Ofeensive tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan have had their problems trying to block the Cowboys' two dangerous pass-rushing linebackers, DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis. It doesn't help that Runyan is playing with a knee injury that's limiting his mobility.

    Cowboys: This unit has played OK, but hasn't been dominant. While Romo has been sacked just once every 25.2 pass plays, defenses have been able to get pressure on him, which often has resulted in interceptions. Left tackle Flozell Adams, who made the Pro Bowl, has allowed seven sacks. Cowboys are averaging fewer than 3.5 yards per carry running behind him.

    PICK: COWBOYS

     

    DEFENSE

    Eagles: 272.7 yards per game (3rd)

    Eagles: 272.7 yards per game (3rd)

    Cowboys: 293.7 yards per game (8th)

     

    Defensive line

    Eagles: Eagles likely will be without left end Victor Abiamiri (foot sprain), which will hurt their run defense on first and second down and their pass defense on third down, when he slides inside to tackle in their nickel package. Right end Trent Cole has six sacks in the last seven games.

    Eagles: Eagles likely will be without left end Victor Abiamiri (foot sprain), which will hurt their run defense on first and second down and their pass defense on third down, when he slides inside to tackle in their nickel package. Right end Trent Cole has six sacks in the last seven games.

    Cowboys: Jay Ratliff isn't your standard block-out-the-sun nose tackle. He's taller (6-4) than he is wide (298) and is a very good pass-rusher. His 7 sacks are third among NFL interior linemen. He gave Eagles center Jamaal Jackson problems in the first meeting, notching five tackles, a sack, a pressure and a tackle for a loss.

    PICK: COWBOYS

     

    Linebacker

    Eagles: The coverage skills of this unit have improved significantly since their Week 2 loss to Dallas, when tight ends and running backs accounted for 188 of the Cowboys' 312 passing yards and 14 of Tony Romo's 21 completions. In last two games vs. Eagles, tight end Jason Witten has 15 catches for 223 yards.

    Eagles: The coverage skills of this unit have improved significantly since their Week 2 loss to Dallas, when tight ends and running backs accounted for 188 of the Cowboys' 312 passing yards and 14 of Tony Romo's 21 completions. In last two games vs. Eagles, tight end Jason Witten has 15 catches for 223 yards.

    Cowboys: Outside linebackers Demarcus Ware and Greg Ellis are a lethal pass-rushing tandem. They've combined for 28 sacks, including 20 by Ware, who is one of the best pure pass-rushers in the league. Inside linebacker Bradie James has benefited from the blocking attention being paid Ware and Ellis. He has a career-high seven sacks.

    PICK: COWBOYS

     

    Secondary

    Eagles: Opposing QBs have completed just 53.9 percent of their passes vs. Eagles this season, the best in the Jim Johnson era. His costly drop last week aside, cornerback Asante Samuel has broken up a league-high 26 passes and has four interceptions. Cowboys likely will throw away from Sunday and focus their attention on Sheldon Brown.

    Eagles: Opposing QBs have completed just 53.9 percent of their passes vs. Eagles this season, the best in the Jim Johnson era. His costly drop last week aside, cornerback Asante Samuel has broken up a league-high 26 passes and has four interceptions. Cowboys likely will throw away from Sunday and focus their attention on Sheldon Brown.

    Cowboys: Cowboys have just eight interceptions, third-fewest in the NFL this season. Terence Newman and Al Henry both are competent corners, but neither is a shutdown guy. Rookie Michael Jenkins has terrific physical skills, but is still adjusting to the pro game and making a lot of mistakes.

    PICK: EAGLES

     

    Special teams

    Eagles: Placekicker David Akers has made 30 of 36 field-goal attempts, but hasn't been tested much. Just five of those 36 attempts have been from longer than 44 yards (1-for-5). Punt returner DeSean Jackson hasn't been much of a field-flipping factor lately. He's averaged just 5.5 yards per return in the last six games.

    Eagles: Placekicker David Akers has made 30 of 36 field-goal attempts, but hasn't been tested much. Just five of those 36 attempts have been from longer than 44 yards (1-for-5). Punt returner DeSean Jackson hasn't been much of a field-flipping factor lately. He's averaged just 5.5 yards per return in the last six games.

    Cowboys: Placekicker Nick Folk has made 11 of 12 field-goal attempts from 40-plus yards, including eight in a row. The Cowboys' return game has been unproductive. They're 28th in punt returns (6.7) and 20th in kickoff returns (22.4). Their net punting average is 4 yards fewer with Sam Paulescu than it was with Mat McBriar.

    PICK: EAGLES

     

    Hot and not

    HOT:

    HOT:

    Eagles: PK David Akers. His only three misses in his last 25 field-goal attempts were the three that got blocked.

    Cowboys: LB DeMarcus Ware. Has a league-best 20 sacks, including eight in the last four games.

    NOT: Eagles: WR/PR DeSean Jackson. Had two costly dropped passes last week and has averaged just 5.5 yards per punt return in last six games.

    Cowboys: WR Roy Williams. Has just six receptions for 23 yards in the last three games.

     

    Key matchups

    1. Eagles C Jamaal Jackson vs. Cowboys NT Jay Ratliff. Jackson has not had a particularly good year. Ratliff has seven sacks and is going to the Pro Bowl. ADVANTAGE: COWBOYS

    1. Eagles C Jamaal Jackson vs. Cowboys NT Jay Ratliff. Jackson has not had a particularly good year. Ratliff has seven sacks and is going to the Pro Bowl. ADVANTAGE: COWBOYS

    2. Eagles OTs Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan vs. Cowboys OLBs DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis. Ware and Ellis have combined for 28 sacks. They have 6 in the last three meetings with the Eagles. Runyan is playing on an injured knee. ADVANTAGE: COWBOYS

    3. Eagles SLB Chris Gocong and FS Brian Dawkins vs. Cowboys TE Jason Witten. Witten had seven catches for 110 yards in Week 2, but Eagles have gotten much better at defending the tight end. ADVANTAGE: COWBOYS

     

    Domowitch's prediction

    Cowboys 24, Eagles 13

    Cowboys 24, Eagles 13

     

    by Paul Domowitch
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