Thanksgiving Six Pack: Eagles at Cowboys

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Any time the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys face off, you can expect a showdown usually with high stakes. Put the two together on Thanksgiving with first place in the division on the line, and you've got the next closest thing to the Super Bowl.

This is far more than a holiday for the Eagles, who need a win to hold the top spot in the division. They will have to do it against a strong Dallas team in Texas for the traditional Thanksgiving game. High stakes, high energy and a lot of excitement have made this game what it is.

Here are today's six keys to the game.

Fight for First - Dallas week usually sparks emotion and excitement. But this game was circled on the calendar at the start of the season and only elevated as the Cowboys succeeded. Instead of this being just another holiday meeting, this is a battle for the division lead that could finally sway the division one way or the other.

Pressure on Romo - When given time, Tony Romo can be as good as any quarterback in the league. A big key to Dallas' success has been the time Romo has in the pocket to make plays. The Eagles have one of the NFL's sack leaders in Connor Barwin and Trent Cole and Mychal Kendricks have applied pressure on opposing quarterbacks all season. Getting Romo uncomfortable will create opportunities for takeaways, something that could shift momentum in the Eagles favor.

Containing Dez Bryant - A big concern for this week is the secondary on Dez Bryant. The Eagles are known for defensive lapses that allow big plays and Bryant will almost certainly burn the Eagles at some point. The question is when and how. One touchdown in a game where the Eagles have a cushion won't matter. But it better not happen early or often.

Running Wild - The Eagles rank 12th in rushing yards per game. The Cowboys rank second. The running game could be a game-changer for either team. The Eagles will have the tough test of containing DeMarco Murray. If there is any game for LeSean McCoy to take his game to another level, it's this one.

On His Mark - Mark Sanchez has had his moments since replacing Nick Foles, but he's had his share of mistakes. The Eagles need a nearly perfect performance from Sanchez in this game to keep up with the Cowboys and set the tone early. The Eagles have been prone to turnovers all season. Sanchez can't be the source of those today.

Big Game, Big Performance - The Eagles have a flare for showing up big in the biggest games. Aside from the playoffs, there may not be a bigger game this season. If this is where the Eagles deliver their best game of the season, it will certainly be a Happy Thanksgiving in Philadelphia.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.

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