Game Preview: Eagles host Cowboys with NFC East title on line

In Week 17 a season ago, the Eagles needed to beat the Dallas Cowboys to secure a playoff spot. A playoff spot is not necessarily on the line in this Week 15 game, but the division title could be.

The Eagles and Cowboys enter Sunday with matching 9-4 records. The Eagles needed to get a 10th win against Dallas last season to wrap up the division. Tonight, a win over the Cowboys could theoretically do the same.

Kickoff between the two division rivals is set for 8:30 p.m.

The Eagles enter the game with one of the NFL's better offenses – ranking seventh in rushing offense and eighth in passing offense. But they are also coming off their worst offensive game under Chip Kelly after producing just 139 yards of total offense.

Mark Sanchez, LeSean McCoy and company are looking to return to form as they were in Dallas on Thanksgiving.

The Eagles will also be focusing on getting the ball back into the hands of Jeremy Maclin and Jordan Matthews after the two were very limited last Sunday.

Defensively, the Eagles were excellent against the Cowboys in their first meeting and a big part of that was the pass rush. Look for Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham to have big games as they attempt to disrupt the Cowboys offense.

The Cowboys could be a different team with extended rest. Tony Romo, still on the injury report with a back injury, has put together a solid season, passing for 2,923 yards and 25 touchdowns with eight interceptions.

The Eagles biggest challenge will once again be containing DeMarco Murray. Murray has 1,606 yards rushing and nine touchdowns this season. 

Dez Bryant leads the Cowboys with 1,034 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. One receiver who was not used a lot in the first meeting between the two teams was Jason Witten. The tight end has 495 yards and four touchdowns.

Defensively, the Cowboys line up George Selvie and Nick Hayden, have Rolando McClain and Bruce Carter among the linebackers and Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox in the secondary.

Game Notes

  • Sunday's game is the 21st between the Eagles and Cowboys in prime time. The Eagles have won three of the last four.
  • The Eagles have won nine of the last 10 games against the Cowboys in December, dating back to 2002.
  • At Lincoln Financial Field, the Cowboys lead the overall series, 6-5.
  • The last meeting between the Eagles and Seahawks was on Nov. 27, 2014 where the Eagles claimed a 33-10 win. The teams have split the last 10 matchups evenly, 5-5.
  • The Eagles have 10 touchdowns on defense or special teams this season, a new franchise record. The NFL record is 13.
  • Milestone Watch
    • LeSean McCoy needs two more rushing touchdowns to tie Wilbert Montgomery for second in franchise history. 
    • Jeremy Maclin sets a new career-high for touchdowns touchdowns in a season with one receiving touchdown.
    • Darren Sproles needs 10 yards for the third-most punt return yards in a single-season in Eagles history, 24 for second all-time and 88 to set a new franchise record. Sproles also needs one punt return touchdown to set a new single-season franchise record.
    • Connor Barwin can become the third Eagle with five multi-sack games with two sacks on Sunday.
    • Cody Parkey is fifth in Eagles history for single-season scoring and trails David Akers by 11 points for fourth. Akers holds the top four spots. Additionally, with just 22 points, Parkey will set an NFL record for most points by a rookie. Parkey also needs just four field goals to set a franchise record for most field goals in a season by a rookie.
    • Mark Sanchez will set a new career-high with a fourth game of 300 passing yards or more if he repeats the feat on Sunday. It will also be the third-most ever by an Eagle in a single season.

Injury Report

Eagles
Out

  • QB Nick Foles (collarbone)

Probable

  • LB Emmanuel Acho (groin)
  • TE Trey Burton (hamstring)
  • WR Josh Huff (hip)
  • K Cody Parkey (groin)
  • RB Chris Polk (ankle)
  • DE Cedric Thornton (groin)

Cowboys
Out

  • LB Gregory Watson (hamstring)

Doubtful

  • DT Joshua Price-Brent (calf)

Probable

  • S Jeffrey Heath (thumb)
  • DE Demarcus Lawrence (chest)
  • LB Rolando McClain (knee)
  • CB Andrew Patmon (knee)
  • QB Tony Romo (back)
  • DE George Selvie (thumb)

Where to Watch

TV: NBC (Broadcasters: Al Michaels, Cris Collingworth, Michele Tafoya)
Radio: 94 WIP (Merrill Reese, Mike Quick, Howard Eskin)
National Radio: Westwood One (Kevin Kluger, James Lofton, Ross Tucker)

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.