"Ben, San Antonio :How are the cowboys gonna stop the suddenly-hot eagles who are coming off of an offensive beat-down scoring 45 points vs The jets defense?"
Mark Contreras: I don’t think they’re going to stop the Eagles. I think Romo and the offense are going to have to out score Vick and the Eagles and its gonna be in the 30s.. In fact, the game is going to look a lot like the Giants game two weeks ago in my opinion.. Just hopefully with a different ending. If the corners play as well as they did in Tampa, I might be wrong, but don’t call me crazy for being skeptical. If a FG kicker misses 13 times in a row and then makes the 14th, do you feel confident about the 15th kick? Me neither. Same goes for this secondary… I’m still extremely skeptical.
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Johnathan Barger: The Cowboys are going to make good use of Tony Fiametta. The Eagles have extremely good players at skill positions to defend the pass. The team is built to get into quick leads, and then maintain that lead by preventing opposing offenses from scoring quickly (i.e. the pass). Jason Babin is having a career year, but one of his flaws is that he is a pure pass rusher. I would feed the ball to Felix Jones and Sammy Morris off the tackle and run it at Jason Babin more often than not. As good as our pass protection has been this year (Ranked 9th according to the New York Life Protection Index) we cannot allow Cole and Babin to pin their ears back and come after Romo every single play. With a combination of our renewed rushing attack, our damn good fullback, and a week linebacking corp. for the Eagles, I expect the Boys to obliterate the Eagles front seven for over 200 yards, and swallow up the time of possession battle.
C. Joseph Wright: When trying to stop the Eagles, there are three things you have to do. First, you have to stop McCoy. If they can gain big yards on the ground consistently, the Cowboys are finished. Assuming they can contain McCoy, then they have to stop the WR’s from making big plays. If they can stop McCoy and prevent big plays from the wide-outs, then they have to contain Vick (it would not surprise me to see Sean Lee being used to ‘spy’ Vick). Doing either one of those things is not that hard, but doing them all at the same time is extremely difficult: if you have the safeties up close to the line to help in run support, then you are vulnerable to the deep ball; if you play your safeties deep, then you are vulnerable to the running game. If Dallas can contain McCoy with the front 7, then I think the secondary can prevent the Eagles from getting quick scores.
As I have said repeatedly, the defense does not have to play great, they can win games by playing very average, BUT the secondary can not give up quick and easy TD’s like they did against the Giants. I think Rob Ryan will utilize some exotic blitzes to try to get after Vick; I think he will try to confuse Vick (which I don’t think is that difficult) by implementing some unusual zones and coverage schemes. As Johnathan intimated: sometimes the best defense is a good offense. If the offense can control the time of possession and win the field-position battle, that will go along way in helping the defense. They need to force Vick to drive 70-85 yards for TD’s. If Vick has a weakness, it is that he is impatient (although he didn’t look like it the last time these 2 teams met) and he will make mistakes if you force him to go 80 yards consistently without any big plays.
Todd Toombs: That is a great question – one with no easy answers. It starts in my opinion with stopping McCoy and the running game, putting the game in the hands of a banged up Michael Vick, and hoping we can find a way to put pressure on him without giving him lanes to use his feet. Sounds easy, right? The Eagles were coming out of their bye week in week 8 and had plenty of time to game plan for the Cowboys. Say what you want about Andy Reid, but give him two weeks to prepare and his 13-0 record after a bye tells you he is pretty good in that scenario. The Eagles identified the aggressiveness of the Cowboys outside linebackers as an opportunity to run them up the field and open gaping holes right behind them. That will HAVE to be corrected for us to have any chance. We also exhibited some shoddy tackling but I don’t expect to see that again. That game was over early as the Eagles built a 34-0 lead and seemed to know exactly what Rob Ryan had called on every play. A big difference maker in this one will be Sean Lee – he dislocated his wrist early in the week 8 contest and the Eagles exploited his absence. He is all over the field and playing great (if he doesn’t make the Pro Bowl, there is something wrong with the process). He alone makes our defense a tougher out this time around. The Eagles beating the Jets the way they did was impressive but let’s not forget that the Jets helped them out a ton with 4 turnovers. If we avoid giving away the football, I think our defense can limit the damage and give our offense a chance to win the game.
Seth Jones: Knock Vick onto his rear several times. Also, safety play will be important here, as I’m sure Rob Ryan will be letting our corners play a little tighter against their receivers.
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