Eagles Should Expect to See a Different Dallas Team
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — For a team that was dominated at home in front of a national television audience on Thanksgiving, the Dallas Cowboys have plenty of confidence going into their rematch against the Philadelphia Eagles.
First place in the NFC East is on the line when the Eagles (9-4) host the Cowboys (9-4) under the prime-time lights Sunday night.
The winner takes control of the division while the loser has a tough road to get into the playoffs.
(Listen to Cowboys PxP Voice Brad Sham discuss the Cowboys preparation for the Eagles)
"If we play like the team we are capable of, we shouldn't have any worries," Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick said.
Just 17 days earlier, the Eagles routed the Cowboys 33-10. But Dallas rebounded with a win at Chicago and has three extra days to prepare for the Eagles, who are coming off a loss to Seattle.
"We need to be the best version of ourselves this game," Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said. "I don't think our team played as well as we're capable last time. The guys will be ready to go. Having a few more days off, I expect our team to be at our best."
The Cowboys lost a winner-take-all game at home to the Eagles in the regular-season finale last year.
So, they have extra motivation going for them, a factor that may be a bigger deal for oddsmakers than anyone else.
"We're not satisfied with the last game," Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr said. "It's out of character for us the way we played. We've got an opportunity to go out there and prove ourselves one more time."
The Eagles also have something to prove after the Seahawks snapped their 10-game home winning streak. They're only 2-4 against winning teams, including a blowout loss to Green Bay and a last-minute loss to Arizona.
Mark Sanchez and the rest of the offense were shut down by Seattle's "Legion Of Doom" defense, holding Philadelphia to just 139 total yards and 18:04 time of possession.
Here's some things to watch for Sunday night:
MURRAY VS. MCCOY: DeMarco Murray leads the NFL with 1,606 yards rushing while LeSean McCoy is fourth with 1,068. McCoy won the first matchup. He rushed for 159 yards and a TD in the first game and has 474 yards against the Cowboys in the past four meetings. The Eagles held Murray to a season-low 73 yards on Nov. 27.
"I think they'll come in trying to stop the run," McCoy said. "I'm sure they're not happy about last game. I don't think it'll be like that, that type of blowout."
ROAD WARRIORS: The Cowboys are 6-0 on the road for the third time in franchise history. They've had their two best rushing games on the road and also beat the Seahawks in Seattle, handing Russell Wilson only his second home loss in three seasons.
"There aren't a lot of the distractions that sometimes you have at home," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of the team's road success. "And sometimes there's that warrior mentality where you go on the road and you kind of embrace all the challenges that come with it. I think our team has done a good job of that this year."
UNDERRATED D-LINE: The Eagles' defensive line set the tone for the win at Dallas by controlling the line of scrimmage against a talented offensive line. End Fletcher Cox is having an excellent season and Vinny Curry has a career-best eight sacks coming off the bench in passing downs.
"Fletcher Cox is a force in both the run and pass," defensive coordinator Billy Davis said. "We're very happy with Vinny and the production he's given us."
Cedric Thornton and Bennie Logan helped stuff Murray the first time around and kept Marshawn Lynch in check last week.
FRUSTRATED DEZ: Dez Bryant had only four catches for 73 yards vs. the Eagles two weeks ago and called them "cheap" afterward. He was visibly frustrated during the game and was seen shouting on the sideline.
"I guess we got in his head a little bit," Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher said. "It's not a bad thing at all. When we're able to do that, that's a good thing for us."
RESTED COWBOYS: While the Eagles played a tough, physical game against the Seahawks late Sunday afternoon, the Cowboys were sitting on their couches and relaxing after a win at Chicago on Thursday night. No doubt the extra time off could help Dallas.
"As coaches, we try to take advantage of this little bit of extra time," Garrett said. "For our players, the biggest thing is to get away from it, get refreshed."
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