I have a few worries about this team offensively for our Christmas Eve matchup, never mind defensively, which is a topic for another blogger and another holiday (I'm looking at you, Festivus).
My main concern is, "can Felix Jones cut it against the Eagles defense?" He didn't have a carry in the game earlier this season (I believe he was injured and Murray had taken over the starting RB spot anyway), but his last four performances against the Eagles in 2010 and 2009 shows some promise, fwiw:
Rushing - 55-361-2
Receiving - 7-71-0
Time has gone by and some key players have changed since then, but it's entirely plausible that Jones could break a big run or two against the Eagles, and maybe even a long reception. But will the Cowboys continue to give him 25+ touches a game? I hope so, because it seems like keeping Vick and Shady and company off the field will be the Cowboys best defense. Murray played very well despite the blowout and the Eagles defense can be run on, although they have tightened up as of late.
I am also concerned with the way that the Eagles apparently dominated the Cowboys receivers, with Austin and Bryant combining for a wretched 6-55, when they at least should have done better since the Cowboys were behind so early by so much. As a Romo fantasy owner, I was extremely disappointed that the passing attack could not generate any garbage time (i.e. entire second half) yards or scores. Are the Eagles DBs really that good? Or did they benefit from serious pass rush assistance (four sacks of Romo) in the week 8 debacle?
At least Romo has never had two bad games in a row against the Eagles (I just knocked on wood after I typed that), and never had two bad games against Philadelphia in one season. It’s true –
2007 at Phil – 25-20-324-3-1 win 38-17
2007 at Dal – 36-14-212-0-3 lose 6-10
2008 at Dal – 30-21-312-3-1 win 41-37
2008 at Phil – 39-21-183-0-1 lose 6-44
2009 at Phil – 34-21-301-1-1 win 20-16
2009 at Dal – 34-24-311-2-0 win 24-0
2009 at Dal – 35-23-244-2-0 win 34-14
2011 at Phil – 35-18-203-1-1 lose 7-34
Total Romo against Eagles:
268-162-1907-12-8 (84.6 rating)
These stats could mean nothing when it comes to Saturday’s game, and probably don’t. But if you believe that past performance guarantees future results, well…who knows what the future will bring. All I know is that chances are that this game will not be a low-scoring affair. The winner of the last nine games between these two teams has scored 265 points, or close to 30 each victory. I think the Cowboys will need at least 28 points to have a shot of beating the Eagles, and likely more. The offense is running on all cylinders, but the defense is, well…suspect. Not just suspect, but banged up and having no history of stopping Michael Vick. I mean NONE. I don’t know what Vegas is saying yet, but I will be surprised if the Cowboys are favored by more than 3 and if the Over/Under is less than 50. So far as this fan is concerned, all bets are off!