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Michael Vick: Matchup vs Cowboys Will Bring More of Same Struggles for Eagles QB

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 05:   Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles avoids a tackle by  Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 5, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Jessica MarieCorrespondent IINovember 7, 2012

Week after week, Michael Vick struggles, and week after week, we hear the same refrain from Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid:

Michael Vick is the starting quarterback.

That will be the case once again on Sunday, when the Eagles take on the Dallas Cowboys in a division matchup that could either spell the beginning of a turnaround for Philadelphia or the official beginning of the end of this season.

And though the Cowboys have had no easy go of things in 2012, either, Week 10 is likely to bring out the same old struggles in Vick.

Philadelphia is currently in the midst of a four-game losing streak. After winning its first two games of the season, it has lost five of six, and there have been very few encouraging signs offensively, particularly at quarterback. Vick ranks 28th in the league in passer rating, and he's thrown one fewer interception (nine) this season than touchdown passes (10).

In Monday night's 28-13 loss to the Saints, Vick threw for 272 yards, rushed for 53, threw one touchdown and threw one pick to finish with a passer rating of 72.4, his lowest since the Week 3 loss to the Cardinals.

And now, with the Cowboys coming to town, the pressure is on.

If the Eagles are going to start winning this season, they have to do it this week. They still have plenty of opportunities ahead of them to gain some ground in division play, with five division games remaining on the schedule. But they really do have to win them—preferably all of them—if they want to keep their postseason aspirations alive. Obviously, that starts with Sunday's matchup against Dallas. 

After Monday's disappointing showing against the Saints, even Reid had to point out the obvious: Vick needs to get rid of the ball sooner. It's not all the offensive line's fault. The coach told USA Today's Mike Garafolo:

If you see zero blitz, you've got to know that one man can't be taken care of. The ball's got to come out. The receivers have to be aware of that, the quarterback has to be aware of it, too, and make sure they protect the inside part and give the quarterback an opportunity to throw the ball.

The problem is that the Cowboys—who are tied with the Eagles at 3-5 in the NFC East—are going to present some defensive problems for Vick, who has struggled all season to establish any sort of rapport with his receivers. The Cowboys' pass defense ranks fourth in the NFL, allowing just over 200 yards per game, and its rush defense isn't too bad either, allowing just over 100 yards per game.

That's not the kind of unit Vick—who has faced constant criticism this season about his ability to lead this team successfully—wants to be facing as he's looking to turn around his season.

One way or another, this will be a deciding week for Vick and the Eagles. But judging by what the Eagles offense has been able to do this season—and by what the Cowboys defense has done—we are likely to be having this same conversation again at this time next week.

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