The last time the Eagles met the Dallas Cowboys, they were 2-4 and in desperate need of a win. And win is what they did, in a very big way. Riding the unstoppable force that is LeSean McCoy, the Birds destroyed America’s Team 34-7 in one of the most impressive performances of the season. The defense shut down Tony Romo and the Dallas offense by getting after the quarterback with four sacks and getting Nnamdi Asomugha’s best game of his inaugural season in midnight green.
Juan Castillo let his prized free agent acquisition match up with Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant all game and he blanketed him, even recording an interception. Can the Eagles D repeat this performance in a hopefully meaningful 4:15 kickoff on Saturday? If they do, they will need to shut down a few certain weapons on the Dallas offense.
Although obvious, the mercurial quarterback is the key to success when it comes to slowing down a talented Cowboys attack. In the Week 8 matchup, Jason Babin led the defensive line to four sacks and constant pressure on the Eastern Illinois product. The flustered slinger struggled his way to only 203 yards passing and a 66.7 passer rating. If Juan Castillo can build on his success from last week, the Eagles should be able to confuse and rattle the up-and-down quarterback once again.
The Birds may have caught a break with this one. The speedster out of Arkansas has been hobbled with a hamstring injury and may not even be able to play. If he does, the Eagles must shut him down. Despite having his starting job taken earlier in the season, Jones has come back strong after Demarco Murray was injured two weeks ago. The Tulsa native has rushed for over 100 yards each of the past two games and is a dangerous receiving threat as well. The Birds linebackers have their hands full with this talented running back.
Dez Bryant has been torching defenses this month to the tune of 176 yards and three touchdowns in three games. The Oklahoma State product is a legitimate deep threat and has nine touchdowns this season. In the last matchup, Nnamdi Asomugha took on Bryant and won. He only had three receptions and 28 yards. Castillo and the rest of the defense need the former Raider to replicate his dominating performance if the Eagles want to win again this week.
The winner of this year’s Miles Austin Award for a Cowboys wide receiver who came out of nowhere to dominate is Laurent Robinson. The fifth-year player from Illinois State has become one of Romo’s favorite targets and has 49 receptions for 792 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. He also took advantage of the Eagles in the Week 8 matchup by collecting 5 catches for over 100 yards and a touchdown. An injured Asante Samuel may need help from DRC and Joselio Hanson to successfully cover this wide out.
By 4:15, the Eagles’ season may be over if the Giants beat the Jets. But if a postseason berth is still on the line, look for the Birds to put together another memorable performance on the Dallas turf. The Eagles know what they will get from Jason Witten, Miles Austin and company, but a victory will come from slowing down the aforementioned Cowboys. With a win and some help, the roller coaster Eagles season will matter in Week 17, which is all you can ask for at this point.