I think either team could win this game. It could be a close barnstormer, like last year's opening game in Dallas. Or it could be a lopsided affair, as it was at the end of last year, or the 2007 game when Dallas came in and dominated Philly. Of all the outcomes, I'd say a dominant Dallas win is the least likely, but it is certainly possible. If you bottle up Philly's weak running game and pressure McNabb, they can get frustrated on offense.
That being said, here are my thoughts on keys to the game for Dallas.
1. Protect the ball. If you look at the stats of the two teams, what jumps out is the turnovers Philly has generated. If we hand them the ball, they are going to beat us, plain and simple. And one turnover tends to morph into multiple turnovers, as Philly is able to gamble more with a lead, bring the blitz, jump routes, etc. If I had only one key to the game, and I'm tempted, this would be it. Equalize or win the turnover battle, and I think we win the game. Lose it and I think we lose the game.
2. Pressure and sack McNabb. Oakland beat them by sacking McNabb 6 times. When he has to run for it, his passes lose their accuracy and their offense can become ineffective.
3. Don't let Jackson get behind the secondary. We beat them in Dallas last year even though Jackson had a long TD hookup. But that's not a recipe for winning. The Eagles are not a team that dinks and dunks its way down the field any more. They like the HR ball. Stifle that and they become far less effective.
4. Cover KOs and punts. Our special teams play has been outstanding in both areas this year. But Jackson will test us. We need to neutralize them at least. It would be nice if either FJ or Crayton broke off some good returns of our own.
5. Use Felix Jones more. One pass on Sunday to FJ was Romo's easiest of the day -- judging by how wide open the receiver was and how quickly the ball came out -- and it went for 30 yards. This same play went for even more yards to open the season. With Philly likely sending lots of blitzers, the Cowboys need to use these outlet passes and screens to burn Philly and force them to consider dialing the pressure down a bit or pay for it. A well-designed trap/draw can also beat some blitzes, though Philly tends to try to get the runner on the way to the QB.
6. Don't force it to Roy. Romo to Williams needs to get fixed, and the sooner the better. But if it's not working early the same way it hasn't been working the last couple of games, then go somewhere else to keep the chains moving. 10 guys caught passes this last week, and Tashard was not even one of them. There are enough options out there without missing on Roy passes over and over again.
7. Keep hitting hard and forcing turnovers. Lately we've been getting these. The streak needs to continue and get better.
8. Let Choice run if MBIII is still too slow. MBIII had some nice holes and a couple of nice runs Sunday. But he can't get too far because it is obvious his leg is not near 100%. Given those same holes, Choice would likely have had quite a few more yards. If you aren't going to give those runs to FJ, then give a few to Choice. Granted, MBIII is still the best blocker. But in terms of running skill, with a bum leg he's the 3rd best choice (unless you are talking short yardage).
9. Use the tight end down the middle and to keep the chains moving. Boss had some of the Giants' best plays down the middle. Witten used to beat Dawkins here regularly. I'm still waiting for Dallas to throw this pass to the faster Bennett, who might actually break it all the way. Also, Philly's corners have a lot of their picks, but are less likely to cover the TEs.
10. Be more physical. We have a huge, bruising offensive line. And Philly's offensive line, while in better shape than it was a few weeks ago, still has holes. We need to win the battle in the trenches. Philly often makes up for this by bringing unique blitzes and by swarming. Still, when Dallas has won these matchups, it is usually b/c we find ways to take advantage of our superior size. This game should be no different.