How do you defend the hottest receiving threat in the NFC East? Both the Dallas and the Philadelphia defenses could be asking themselves this very question all the way up to the Cowboys @ Eagles matchup on Sunday Night Football.
It could be tough for us, fans, to relax and watch the day games without twiddling our thumbs in anxiety over such thoughts as, "will Miles Austin's touchdown streak continue?" or "can the secondary stop DeSean Jackson?" Certainly, there are many other stories to the game to focus on, but lately it has been the continued emergence of these two weapons that has greatly increased the threat of these teams' respective offenses.
When that first ball kicks off, though, we will forget this week's headlines and get caught up in the hard-hitting, well-balanced contest that this should turn out to be. Playing physically has helped put the Cowboys where they are today. Continuing to do so could help produce on the scoreboard, and better yet, lead to a 6-2 record come Monday.
Can the physical play of Mike Jenkins stop DeSean Jackson? Eagles' safety Quintin Demps says, "no".
"Just be physical," Jenkins said Wednesday. "Go out and hit them in the mouth."
If that means playing press coverage, Jenkins might want to re-think that stance, Philadelphia safety Quintin Demps suggested in a phone interview.
"I've never seen a guy that fast and quick at the same time," Demps, a Roosevelt graduate, said of Jackson. "And he's smart. He knows how to play off of leverage and get off press coverage."
More Cowboys @ Eagles after the jump.
If Miles Austin and DeSean Jackson get voted into the Pro Bowl, it would be the first time a WR from both teams make it to Hawaii since the early 90s.
Now our guy Adam Schefter has unearthed the interesting nugget that a Cowboys and Eagles wide receiver haven't gone to the Pro Bowl in the same season since Michael Irvin and the immortal Fred Barnett both made it in 1992. Before that, you have to go all the way back to Tony Hill and Mike Quick.
Former Dallas defensive coordinator, Brian Stewart, may have not have much insight to offer Andy Reid in regards to Wade Phillips' defense.
Philadelphia coach Andy Reid tried to downplay the importance of having former Cowboys defensive coordinator Brian Stewart on his staff. Reid said whatever insight Stewart offers in advance of Sunday's game would be offset by coach Wade Phillips' ability to be unpredictable with his defense.
"Wade is a pretty creative guy," Reid said. "We have talked to ... [Stewart], but at the same time I know they've made changes."
Since taking over the Cowboys, Phillips is 2-2 against Reid. For his career as a head coach and defensive coordinator, Phillips is 4-5 against Reid.
Roy Williams had two of his best games in Philadelphia.
Going to Philadelphia could rouse Roy Williams from his funk. With Detroit, he had nine catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns at Philadelphia in 2004 and nine catches for a career-high 204 yards and one touchdown in 2007.
S Brian Dawkins is a tough presence to replace in the Philly secondary.
The Eagles have used a three-man rotation his place: rookie Macho Harris, Sean Jones and Quintin Demps. Harris started the first six games, but Jones replaced him for last week's win over the New York Giants. The Eagles have not committed to a starter against the Cowboys.
LB Chris Gocong is doubtful, but Brian Westbrook will be ready.
In other injury news, running back Brian Westbrook was held out of practice on Friday after a strong two days of practice by Reid, but he is expected to play and contribute in a significant manner on Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys.
Wide receiver Kevin Curtis is the only player listed as out.
Rookie seventh-round pick Moise Fokou will start as the strongside linebacker if Gocong is unable to go. Coach Reid said he had plenty of confidence in Fokou to get the job done.
"He's worked hard," Reid said of Fokou. "Even when Chris was healthy, he worked in there during practice."
Cowboys @ Eagles injury report, courtesy of philadelphiaeagles.com.
CuJo and K.O. to play against the Eagles?
Based on the special teams practices all week, it appears linebacker Curtis Johnson and wide receiver Kevin Ogletree will both be in uniform for Sunday’s game in Philadelphia.
Marion Barber's quad is inching closer to being at full strength.
It could take up to 10 weeks for Barber to be 100 percent, according to the Cowboys. But Wade Phillips said Barber is getting better every week and starting to show some of that old explosiveness.
"He’s got a little more juice," Phillips said. "It’s an injury that you lose strength. It’s not something where you’re going to get injured again. He lost some power in one leg. He could play, and I thought he had his best game last week. He looked good today. I think more and more we’ll see the Marion Barber that we know and love."
Barber blogged about getting ready for the Eagles on his website.
My left thumb is still a little bit jammed from our game in Kansas City. I jammed it pretty good during pass protection but it's alright now. It doesn't affect my ability to carry the ball or anything.
Miles Austin has been coming up big for us recently and it's no surprise to anyone on the team. He's been balling out there and he's gonna continue to do so. We have a lot of guys who can produce and it's a great feeling. We have three guys in the backfield who are all dangerous too. That's a big plus for us because we work really well together. Nobody worries about who gets the touches, we all just want to win. There's no jealousy.
Stephen Bowen's hard work and athleticism are really starting to show this season.
Bowen, who carries 306 pounds on a 6-foot-5 frame, started playing football when he was 7. He said his height was average until the ninth grade, when he had a growth spurt that continued until he was big enough to move from linebacker to defensive line at Hofstra.
Bowen also played running back in high school. As a senior, he amassed 565 yards of total offense and scored four touchdowns.
"A lot of guys think I have good feet, and it's because I wasn't always big," Bowen said.
Bowen's athleticism was on display when he batted down Hasselbeck's pass on third-and-10 from the Dallas 25-yard line during Seattle's opening possession. Had the ball found its way to running back Justin Forsett, he likely would have scored on a perfectly set up middle screen. Instead, the Seahawks had to settle for a field goal.
With his impressive leg strength, David Buehler will reassess what his touchback goals are for this season.
No other team has more than 13 touchbacks. Buehler, who came into the season, with the goal of leading the NFL in the category said it's time to revise his goal.
"Instead of leading the league in touchbacks," Buehler said, "I can try and push past everybody and be in a league of my own."
The series history between these two clubs:
The Cowboys hold a 53-43 advantage in their all-time regular season series with the Eagles, including a conventional split of last year's home-and-home. Dallas won a 41-37 home thriller when the teams met in Week 2 of last season, but as previously mentioned, were drilled by a 44-6 count with a playoff berth on the line at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 17. Dallas last won in Philly in 2007, coming up a 38-17 winner in a primetime game there.
In addition to their regular season advantage, the Cowboys have a 2-1 edge in the postseason series. The Eagles were 20-7 winners in the 1980 NFC Championship, while Dallas won NFC Divisional Playoff games over Philadelphia following the 1992 and 1995 seasons.
Eagles head coach Andy Reid has a career record of 14-6 against the Cowboys. Dallas' Wade Phillips is 3-2 all-time against both Philadelphia and Reid all- time, with the first of those wins coming in the form of a 26-0 rout for Phillips' Bills over the Eagles in 1999.
Raf breaks down the key matchups in his post here.
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