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Eagles-Cowboys scouting report

Recent history: The Eagles won at Dallas, 30-27, on Dec. 12, halting a three-game losing streak to the Cowboys. OFFENSE

Recent history: The Eagles won at Dallas, 30-27, on Dec. 12, halting a three-game losing streak to the Cowboys.


Eagles: 399.1 yards per game (1st)

Cowboys: 370.4 yards per game (7th)



Eagles: With Michael Vick nursing a quadriceps injury, Kevin Kolb will get his fifth start. Kolb doesn't have Vick's ability to extend plays with his legs, which means a lot of take-what-the-defense-gives-you throws to RBs and TEs if protection is as poor as Vick's was Tuesday.

Cowboys: Jon Kitna has a strained oblique, so second-year man Stephen McGee probably will start. McGee played well Saturday vs. Arizona, completing 11 of 17 passes. Like the Vikings' Joe Webb, he has mobility, which could present problems for Eagles' defense.

Pick: Eagles

Running back

Eagles: Screen game with LeSean McCoy, very effective most of the season, has been defended well the last three games. McCoy, who leads all NFL RBs with 78 receptions, probably will exit early, and Jerome Harrison, Chad Hall and Eldra Buckley will get most of the reps.

Cowboys: With an inexperienced QB, Jason Garrett will rely heavily on Felix Jones, Marion Barber and Tashard Choice. Jones is the game-breaker. He rushed for 239 yards and two TDs in two season-ending wins over the Eagles last year. But the Birds held him to 41 yards on 13 carries 3 weeks ago.

Pick: Eagles


Eagles: DeSean Jackson was targeted 12 times Tuesday, caught two passes. He played in four of their five losses and was a non-factor in all. He was targeted 35 times, had only 11 receptions for 107 yards and zero TDs. Had a career-high 210 receiving yards in Week 14 vs. Dallas.

Cowboys: With an inexperienced QB and the Eagles' problems at defending the TE, Jones and Jason Witten figure to be Stephen McGee's most popular targets. Witten leads all NFL TEs with 90 catches. He's been targeted 23 times in the last two games and had two TD catches against Eagles in Week 14.

Pick: Eagles

Offensive line

Eagles: This unit turned in its worst performance of the season vs. Vikings, giving up six sacks and looking clueless against blitzes. A lack of communication, particularly among C Mike McGlynn, RG Max Jean-Gilles and RT Winston Justice, seems to as big a problem now as in Week 1.

Cowboys: In last six games, the Cowboys have averaged 4.7 yards per carry and 153.7 rushing yards per game. Doug Free has played well in first season as starting LT. Cowboys are sixth in NFL in sacks allowed per pass play and gave up only one to Eagles in Week 14.

Pick: Cowboys


Eagles: 330.9 yards per game (12th)

Cowboys: 358.9 yards per game (23rd)


Defensive line

Eagles: Just like last year at this time, the front four's inability to get a consistent pass rush is a major concern. They have five sacks from DEs in last seven games. Season-ending injury to Brandon Graham is forcing LE Juqua Parker to play way too many snaps.

Cowboys: NT Jay Ratliff is tall and quick, and is a handful for a center and guard to deal with. He had one of two sacks in Week 14 loss to the Eagles. DE Stephen Bowen has been a career backup, but has done a decent job replacing injured Marcus Spears at LE.

Pick: Cowboys


Eagles: MLB Jamar Chaney has done a good job against the run in his first two NFL starts, though he was out of his gap a few times Tuesday. He also continues to struggle with coverage assignments. Ernie Sims was replaced by Akeem Jordan Tuesday in the nickel package.

Cowboys: WLB DeMarcus Ware is having another exceptional season. He is second in NFC with 12 1/2 sacks. SLB Anthony Spencer, strong at the end of '09, hasn't followed up in 2010. He has three sacks. ILB Keith Brooking is no longer an every-down LB. Rookie Sean Lee subs in passing situations.

Pick: Cowboys


Eagles: LCB Asante Samuel's sprained knee still is bothering him, and he likely won't play much, if at all. RCB Dimitri Patterson had a second straight poor game vs. Vikes and was benched at one point in favor of nickel back Joselio Hanson. Eagles have given up a franchise-record 30 TD passes.

Cowboys: They have given up league-worst 32 TD passes. But since Paul Pasqualoni took over defense seven games ago and started using more zone, Cowboys have 12 interceptions. Starting safeties Alan Ball and Gerald Sensabaugh are not very good in coverage. CB Michael Jenkins has struggled.

Pick: Eagles

Special teams

Eagles: DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin likely won't be used on returns, which means work for Chad Hall and newcomer Gerard Lawson. The Eagles have gotten nothing from KRs. In last eight games, they've averaged 19.1 yards per return. David Akers has made 24 of his last 26 FG attempts.

Cowboys: P Mat McBriar leads NFL in gross (48.4) and net (42.1) average. PK David Buehler has 21 touchbacks on KOs; only one didn't come in a stadium with a roof. Buehler has booted three 50-plus-yard FGs in last five games. KR/PR Bryan McCann has averaged only 19.7 yards on last 12 KRs.

Pick: Even


Eagles RDT Antonio Dixon vs. Cowboys LG Kyle Kosier. Dixon has been a major reason for the Eagles' improved play against the run this season. He's hard to budge and gets penetration. Advantage: Eagles

Eagles MLB Jamar Chaney vs. Cowboys TE Jason Witten. Witten leads all NFL TEs with 90 receptions. Chaney, a rookie, still is feeling his way with pro pass-coverage responsibilities. Advantage: Cowboys

Eagles QB Kevin Kolb vs. Cowboys S's Alan Ball and Gerald Sensabaugh. Neither Ball nor Sensabaugh is very good in coverage. If Kolb gets time to throw, he should be able to attack them. Advantage: Eagles



Eagles: TE Brent Celek. After catching only 32 passes in the first 14 games, Celek had 10 receptions for 97 yards vs. Vikings.

Cowboys: TE Jason Witten. In the last five games, he's been targeted 45 times and has 40 catches, five for TDs.


Eagles: WR DeSean Jackson. Was targeted 12 times vs. Vikings and caught only two for 32 yards.

Cowboys: RB Tashard Choice. Since his 100-yard performance vs. Indy in Week 13, Choice has averaged only 3.3 yards per carry.

Domowitch's prediction: Cowboys 24, Eagles 20