Sunday Six Pack: Eagles at Cowboys

Coming back from a bye week, the Eagles face one of their most crucial games of the season in terms of hanging in the playoff race.

The Eagles have been far from successful this season, but playing in a weak division has its benefits. What it ultimately means is that while being 3-4, the Eagles still have a shot at making the playoffs. Getting in is half the battle.

But that push for the playoffs doesn’t come without challenges, and there is a big one facing the Eagles on Sunday night, when they make the annual visit to the Dallas Cowboys.

Here are six keys to tonight’s Eagles-Cowboys game.

NFC East Implications – How many chances are the Eagles going to be offered? Here it is, Week 9, and the Eagles are still just a half game out of the division lead at 3-4. With the remaining two divisional games coming in the last two weeks of the season for the Eagles, this is really the make-or-break game that will prove whether or not those two games down the stretch ultimately matter.

Matt Cassel – Anybody remember the game that almost derailed the Eagles playoff hopes in 2013? The one in Minnesota? The Vikings beat the Eagles that day, 48-30. The quarterback for the Vikings was Matt Cassel. Cassel doesn't have Matt Asiata to do all the scoring, but he's lit up the Eagles once before for 382 yards.

DeMarco Murray – The first time these two teams met this season, Murray rushed for two yards on 13 carries. You have to imagine, visiting his former home, that Murray will be motivated to have a huge game. If he can get into a rhythm, look out.

Hold Onto the Ball – Drops have killed the Eagles so far this season. For the Eagles to be successful, they need players like Jordan Matthews to catch the ball and secure the yardage that will keep the chains moving. 

Defense Picks Up Where It Left Off – In the first half of the season, the Eagles defense was arguably the best and most consistent part of the team. The important thing for them is to pick up where the left off with strong pass rush, good coverage and continuing to be a force at stopping the run.

Keep It Simple, Chip – When the Eagles fall behind, Chip Kelly has a tendency to look for the big play or try some trickery that almost never pans out. Simplifying things is the way to go to be consistent and secure victory, especially if you're looking to put slow starts past you. A simple start could mean a big game for many Eagles.

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


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