Game Preview: NFC East title on line between Eagles and Cowboys

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A playoff spot hangs in the balance in this Week 17 game between the Eagles and Cowboys that will decide the winner of the NFC East. (Photo Courtesy of

The stage is set for one of the biggest games in recent Eagles history. The Philadelphia Eagles are one win away from the playoffs.

Of course, so are the Dallas Cowboys, and the two are set to square off in a Sunday Night showdown from Arlington.

The Eagles come into the game with a 9-6 record, certainly more successful than expected early in the season. The Cowboys sit at 8-7, looking for the clean sweep against division opponents.

It was in Week 7 that the Cowboys stymied the Eagles offense for a 17-3 win at Lincoln Financial Field. While being one of the best games the defense has put together all season, this is a bounce-back game for the entire team.

The Cowboys are severely shorthanded without quarterback Tony Romo and middle linebacker Sean Lee. Essentially, the two most important figures to both sides of the ball will miss this winner-take-all, regular-season finale.

So, that leaves Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson – among others – to go against Kyle Orton, DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant.

Murray and defensive end Demarcus Ware both missed the Week 7 game against the Eagles. Murray should receive more carries due to Romo’s absence, an aspect that could work in Dallas’ favor.

The Cowboys will likely favor a more balanced attack on offense, using Murray and various receiving weapons in Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten.

The Eagles will also work a balanced offense that put up more rushing yards than the entire Chicago offense a week ago. McCoy leads the NFL in rushing with a chance to clinch the rushing title before kickoff.

Foles will also have multiple targets with Riley Cooper and Brent Celek joining the likes of Jackson and McCoy.

Realistically, this is a battle of two great offenses and too shaky defenses. Still, advantage to the Eagles on defense – they have allowed 21 points or less in nine of the last 10 games.

This is not the same team that played the Cowboys back in Week 7. Throw the previous scouting reports and history out the window. This could turn into an Eagles classic and set the stage for an even bigger game a week later.

Game Notes

  • The Cowboys lead the all-time series against the Eagles with a 62-47 record.
  • The Cowboys have a 3-2 record against the Eagles at AT&T Stadium, but have lost the previous two meetings.
  • DeSean Jackson is 106 yards from setting a new franchise record for receiving yards in a season. LeSean McCoy is 37 yards from setting the single-season franchise rushing record.
  • If Jackson gains 96 yards, the Eagles will become just the sixth team in NFL history to finish the regular season with one receiver and one running back with 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns.
  • The Eagles have at least one takeaway in 11 straight games.
  • The Eagles have 92 total plays of 20 yards or more, second most in a single season since 1995. They are five plays of 20 yards or more from passing the 2001 St. Louis Rams for the highest.
  • The Eagles are 77 yards from setting a franchise record for net yardage in a season. The 2011 Eagles currently hold the record.
  • With a 400-yard game, the Eagles will become the third team in NFL history to have 13 games of 400 yards or more, joining the 2011 New Orleans Saints and 2013 Denver Broncos. 

Injury Report


  • S Colt Anderson (knee)
  • G Julian Vandervelde (back)


  • S Earl Wolff (knee)


  • T Lane Johnson (back)
  • LB Trent Cole (hand)
  • S Kurt Coleman (hamstring)
  • CB Brandon Boykin (hip)
  • LB Mychal Kendricks (knee)


  • QB Tony Romo (back)
  • LB Sean Lee (neck)


  • LB Ernie Sims (groin) – did not participate in practice


  • DE Demarcus Ware (back) – did not participate in practice


  • WR Dez Bryant (back) – limited participation in practice
  • WR Dwayne Harris (hamstring)
  • DE Jarius Wynn (chest)
  • LB DeVonte Holloman (hip)
  • S Jakar Hamilton (hip)
  • DE George Selvie (back)
  • DT Jason Hatcher (neck)
  • CB Morris Claiborne (hamstring) 

Where to Watch

TV: NBC (Broadcasters: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya)
Radio: 94 WIP (Merrill Reese, Mike Quick, Howard Eskin)
National Radio: Westwood One (Broadcasters: Kevin Kugler, James Lofton, Hub Arkush)

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Look for his Monday Review the morning after every Eagles game. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.

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